Recently I’ve been questioning a lot of things. I’ve begun to wonder way beyond the assumed point of view that I and the community I’ve come from see things from. Even the basic questions I’m questioning; who says those are the right questions to begin with?
A boy named Bob is born. Bob is raised in a town called Ocho; he goes to school in Ocho, learns all the ways of the other Ochons, and goes to Ocho University. Then he gets a job in the neighboring town called Chi.
The children in Chi are raised in a different way than the Ocho children, but Bob is able to get along fairly well.
Bob moves again, this time to a town nearby called Negen. Bob finds out that this town is even more weird and he has a hard time getting along.
Because of these experiences Bob gets curious about other places – if these nearby towns are different than his hometown of Ocho, what else is out there? So Bob dives into books for several years and learns as much as he can about the surrounding world. His findings intrigue him. Bob learns that his town Ocho means “eight” in another language. The neighboring town of Chi means “seven”, and the town on the other side means “nine.” Bob learns of hundreds of thousands of towns that stretch in each direction. Every town is so different from the others that in a town like Eighteen they have no word for “food;” the idea does not exist. Bob comes to realize that everything he has grown up believing about the world is only believed by fellow Ochons, with some basic ideas overlapping with the nearby communities.
They don’t know what a flower is in Fourteen, and in Thirty-Five there is no such thing as a question. In Forty-Two their language is neither spoken or written. As relatively close as Sixty-One is to Ocho, their bodies are drastically different, resembling something more like a puddle than an upright figure. Once we get past One Hundred and Fifty there aren’t any more words in our vocabulary to describe them.
Someone might ask Bob, “So do you still believe in our deity?” He doesn’t think it’s a yes or no question. He would like to tell his ignorant inquirer that she lives in a very small view of the world if that is the question she is stuck on, anyway. But by now he’s used to dealing with people from Ocho so he might say “Yes” just to get her off his back.
There may be no such thing as a stupid question but there are an awful lot of robots who can’t see beyond Ocho’s town limits. Odds are Bob’s inquisitor will have a series of questions about Ocho’s deities and then interpret his answer in light of her Ocho education.
There’s a reason Bob sleeps late on the weekends.