Gaya’s insights into the extraordinary dominance of Thearans on Thear and its consequences had created quite a stir on the first day of the conference.
She had highlighted that it was their disrespect for feedback – the information we use to in our interactions with anyone or anything to act with care and respect of the relationship – that had resulted in their extraordinary dominance.
Gaya had shared that the Thearans did not interact to serve the purposes for which they came together unless it benefitted them individually. They measured the benefit in terms of something that was totally unrelated to the purpose of the relationship for which they had come together. They called this measure collars and developed a practice they called conomics [pronounced with an e on Thear – editor] to drive decisions in their relationships.
It was absurd that on Thear they could not eat or drink water if they did not have collars. Or Thearans with lots of collars could have more food and water than they could eat or drink. And it was not uncommon for them to waste it.
Gaya had said there were three practices of the Thearans that made them blind to feedback. She had only talked about one, conomics. The audience waited expectantly to hear about the other two.
“What do you do if the water on your tap is unpotable?”
Gaya began the session with a surprising question. It was obvious on her planet that unpotable water was a feedback that the health of the river was failing.
“We would look for the action necessary to prevent the health of the river from deteriorating”, responded a young member from the audience.
“Not so on Thear.” Gaya looked at her shocked audience. How could you do anything but that, her audience wondered. “On Thear, they install devices called water purifiers to make the water potable. Everyone gets one, so they can have potable water, even if the river is polluted.” She continued as her audience looked unbelievingly. This is not just being blind to feedback, it is blind to feedback by design, they thought.
“Yes,” responded Gaya, as if reading their mind, “the Thearans blinded themselves to feedback by design. They called the process of blinding themselves to feedback as elonghctoy noitavonni and even rewarded those who excelled in it.
Some Thearans created elonghctoy to bottle water and used conomics to exchange the bottled water for collars. Other Thearans purchased the bottled water and regarded it as a marvel of elonghctoy to make water available even where no source of potable water. In the meanwhile, rivers on Thear went from becoming unhealthy and polluted, to carriers of waste and sewage.”
“What would you do if your planet was experiencing environmental exploitation because your lifestyle was energy intensive?” The audience couldn’t decide if Gaya’s second question was more absurd than her first. On their planet you would simply decrease the energy intensive lifestyle.
An intense sadness filled Gaya every time she narrated the examples from Thear. Her kind and moist eyes moved their gaze from the one end of the audience to the other and everyone felt a connection. She continued, “The Thearans moved from what they called carbon-based fuels to non-carbon fuels that they called renewable.”
“The renewable energy gave them a sense of greening their activities, making them environmentally friendly. In the meanwhile, they continued to consume more and more things, because it was manufactured with what they called green elonghctoy. They continued to move mountains, channelize rivers, raze down forests and make taller and taller buildings, wider and longer roads, and bigger and bigger factories to produce more and more things because it was driven by green elonghctoy.”
“When they had insufficient water in their habitats, they used elonghctoy to link their rivers and transport water, to quench their growing thirst for water, from other regions, destroying the watersheds of both rivers in the process. They refused to recognize that the depletion of water meant their thirst for water had increased beyond what the river could respectfully give them.” Gaya explained yet another example of how elonghctoy destroyed feedback.
“They made themselves blind to feedback by design. They replaced feedback with elonghctoy that allowed them to ignore the feedback.” Her words left the audience shocked in disbelief.
On their planet, unlike on Thear, there was no elonghctoy. Anything like it would be seen by everyone as arrogance. It would be regarded by them as a corruption of the relationship with anyone or anything. It would be regarded as exploitation. a relationship. It would be seen as an unequal relationship abusing the liberty, dignity, justice and trust of the other.
How can a species be so foolish, so uncaring, so disrespectful, by inventing something to blind themselves of feedback they wondered?
“Without respecting the feedback, the Thearans became dominant in every relationship they had with anyone or anything. The Thearans even had schools that taught them elonghctoy in order to acquire power over the those they interacted with. Naturally, the power and dominance of Thearans grew exponentially. Over time, the dominance collapsed as one-by-one every relationship the Thearans had with anyone and anything collapsed because they were blind to feedback. They had been uncaring and disrespectful of each relationship. That is why there are no Thearans on Thear anymore.” Shocked silence filled the room.
No wonder Thear was the most cited example of loss of ecological integrity.
It was also the most cited example of the violence. It was the most cited example where democracy was not about the participation of those interacting with each other ensuring they had a common purpose that they pursued fairly with feedback. Where they did not understand feedback as the information to be used by us, in our interactions with anyone or anything, to act with care and respect of the relationship.
Gaya looked up at her audience. She knew her audience would need to digest the strange practice of elonghctoy by Thearans that made them blind to feedback by design. The third practice, she decided out of respect and care for her audience, would have to wait for the session on the next day.
(to be continued)
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and/or individuals or institutions that may be quoted and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.
He can be reached @AnupamSaraph