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The day I realized I was not alone. - Elf M. Sternberg
The day I realized I was not alone.
When I was thirteen years old, I had that experience that everyone has, I hope, at some point in their lives. That moment of realization when understanding seeps in: I am not alone. Everyone wants to be unique, but everyone also wants a community, and having too much or too little uniqueness is a terrifying state. "Are there people like me? Am I the only one?"

I was thinking about this yesterday after a conversation with a friend. When did I realize I was not the only person "like me"? I can point to it precisely. I was, as I said, thirteen, and I was reading Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson's "Illuminatus!" trilogy, and I came across a filler page in the second volume. It was a collage of different things, some silly, some insightful, all dedicated to the art of guerrilla ontology. In the lower-left-hand corner of that page was this quote:

When I was nine years old, I acquired my first split beaver magazine. You can imagine my disappointement when, upon examination with a microscope, I discovered all I could see was dots.

And that was when I realized I wasn't the only one.

When I related this story to Omaha, she said, "You really did that?" Of course I did. Who wouldn't?

Current Mood: interested
Current Music: The Matrix soundtrack, Hotel Ambush

4 comments or Leave a comment
rapier From: rapier Date: August 17th, 2004 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I used a magnifying glass that I either nicked from school or got from a cereal box. But yeah. You're most definitely not the only one.
casualprofessor From: casualprofessor Date: August 17th, 2004 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a dim memory now (oh, that atrophying gray matter), but I think I did it too.
kendaer From: kendaer Date: August 17th, 2004 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think we have a quorum :)
fubarobfusco From: fubarobfusco Date: August 17th, 2004 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
That scribbled quote is from Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley's Principia Discordia, one of the many inspirations Illuminatus! drew on. There are copies all around the Net.

(I used a hand lens, too, not a microscope.)
4 comments or Leave a comment