Spirituality

White Swings in White County Part 3, reflections on my tenure at Harding University, 1979-1983, In which the alien learns the illusion of otherness


And so the alien landed on the far south planet, and he looked around, and all was seemingly aesthetically void and without reference point. The Alien adopted the skewed perspective that because he did not understand nor see what he was used to conceptualizing as familiar, beautiful, useful or desirable, that it was all inferior.  And in this analysis, the alien was manifesting the  thought processes of a young fool, of which the alien most certainly was, as were all the  natives, and the other few aliens in this strange land. And this happened because the strange land was populated by the young. The young and inexperienced, the young and self righteous, the young and cruel, the young and filled with ego, pride and fear…..the young.

 And when the alien had lived in the strange land long enough, he began to have bits of a Pauline experience, in that slowly, the scales of bigotry and self-absorption fell from his eyes, and it became apparent that the natives of this strange land were not unlike him at all, and that he had succumbed to the tyranny of surface analysis. He had fallen prey to the lie that the quality of the soul can somehow be sussed out by examining the shell, that animate spirits and  meat-puppet shells are the same thing.

 The alien was glad to find that he was wrong, and that kinship of the soul can extend past the dilemma of surfaces. The alien came to love a male native like a brother. A quirky, artistic soul that looked like Benny Mardones, and whose keen eye for bullshit, caustic wit and gothic sense of humor entertained, enlightened and refreshed him. They spent hours solving the mysteries of  the planets, judging the music of the spheres, divining the thoughts of angels, and challenging the wily shenanigans of the saint of the pit. The Native was wise in the ways of his kind, and he taught the alien the etiquette of the far south planet, and the alien learned to navigate the gothic strangeness, trigonometry of caste and status, as well as the gentility and code of chivalry and “place”. The native introduced the alien to other strange natives that enlightened and challenged him. And it was good.

 The alien also met another native with a disposition like a kindly bear, and a truth-telling style that made him seem like a Nordic prophet. This native did not spare the alien in his forthright analysis of how things were, and challenged the alien’s biases, and pointed out to the alien that his reactionary misdeeds made him no better than the worst of the natives, and that in fact, the distinction between native and alien was at best illusory, and at worst an affront to the intention of the creative force that bound up the souls of alien and native. The prophet spoke his truth, and the alien envied him his strength of character and steadiness of soul. The impact of both of these natives never left the alien. And he carries part of their essence  always, in his heart.

 The Alien was destined to, and did, find two other aliens that he was mated to in soul, like brothers in arms. The alien and his brothers wanted to save the far western worlds, and saw themselves as elite, capable, visionary, enlightened and bold. But when they were alone in the collective dark with the curtains drawn on their alien skins, they became vulnerable, open, sensitive, threadbare in soul, and  shared the deep love of would- be warriors for each other. They have shared victory and chaos, lies and defeat, rollicking humor, irritation, glamour and deprivation of soul…in short, their secrets and lies, love and fidelity, over the course of what seems like light years, but which is really only 30. And these alien brothers will know each other until the end.

 A stranger in a strange land. A stranger in a less strange land. A stranger among strangers. A friend and brother. This was the progression of the alien’s attachments in his journeys on the far south planet.

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2 thoughts on “White Swings in White County Part 3, reflections on my tenure at Harding University, 1979-1983, In which the alien learns the illusion of otherness

  1. LVB says:

    Hey Percy,

    Man, this is great writing…and reflective of truly great thinking, as well.

    Not that I haven’t really enjoyed everything of yours that I’ve read in the recent month or so since I “discovered” you, but I have to say that this one just really struck a nerve, genuinely reached me and sent me some unexpected knowledge.

    Very cool…thank you for writing and sharing this superb piece of yourself.

  2. Percy,
    I so enjoyed reading this story of a far south planet! Children are born attached and connected at so many levels and seeing “otherness” appears to be a differentiation process necessary to survival….but what do we lose in the process? I am happy to have lived long enough to have evolved or devolved, learned or unlearned my illusions of “other” in incremental steps. To still be connected with you and get to read this first thing this a.m. is a gift! Thanks for the reminder, Perc!

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