Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Defining Humankind"

This poem is spillover from the October 4, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from ng_moonmoth. It also fills the "group cohesiveness" square in my 8-1-16 Group Dynamics card for the Group Dynamics & Character-building Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the series An Army of One.

"Defining Humankind"

As the Lacuna grew,
it raised new questions
about what kind of society
they were building and
who belonged in it --

or not.

Some people, like
Weavercreep and Operetta,
had enough negative experiences
that they wanted to get back
just a little in return.

Others, like Shuttlecock,
simply wanted to make sure that
they got to set their own standards here
and nobody could hurt them anymore.

Many just wanted to be left alone,
of whom the Minotaur was the most vocal,
not that these tended to say much.

A few, such as Hootowl and
the Lord of Pr0n, wanted to find
ways for everyone to get along,
which was easier said than done.

They argued, sometimes, over
whether and how to define humankind,
because all of them had run afoul
of other people's definitions that
more or less excluded them.

They argued, often, over
who got to make the decisions,
because some of them were good at it
and some wished only to avoid it
and all of them had an interest
in what actually happened.

It was a complicated situation.

In the Lacuna it was clear that
there were many ways to wire a brain,
and most of them worked, at least
well enough for going on with.

The question of including
neurotypical people alongside
neurovariant people came up and
was tabled and came up again.

It was Astin who, listening
to the arguments as they rambled
through the Flask of Phlegethon,
pointed out that xe had been to
Cascabel and seen the monuments
to what happened when people got
too invested in dehumanizing others
and started a war over it.

The tavern hushed.

Nobody really wanted to risk
a repetition of the Massacre of Casabel.

The arguments didn't stop entirely,
but they did tilt toward acknowledging that
all members of Homo sapiens were persons
regardless of their wetware or other traits.

What few rules began to evolve,
in a culture that preferred to customize
its solutions, favored diversity
over discrimination.

It wasn't an answer to everything,
but at least it provided an ideal, and
that too was enough for going on with.

* * *


Dehumanization is a cornerstone of war. It also underlies the discrimination and segregation against people with disabilities. There are ways to work from dehumanization toward humanization.
Tags: activism, community, cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, weblit, writing
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