Friday, 21 March 2008


Shadow and Light were having a conversation about gender earlier and I turned my full awareness to them only part-way through the conversation.

“Well” said Shadow, “most of the animals have obvious differences but the snails, camels and locusts, well they’re like us, aren’t they?” Light answered, “I think so. But when they make the copies together it’s not an instant process, have you noticed?” Shadow nodded and Light continued “For some it takes only a few days but for others, well I saw them begin the process when we were first brought here but I’ve still not seen any copies – one of the two involved in the copying process has just got a bit bigger is all I can see.”

Shadow thought back to something it had observed and asked Light, “Not all of them are involved in copying. Like the lions, the hairier lions don’t seem to want to copy with each other but seem to prefer the hairless lions. Why do you think that is?

Light answered, “I don’t know - I’ve also never seen different animals try and merge to make new animals.” Light asked me to explain all of this.

I started by telling them that the other animals, to which they’d given names, did not have free choice and acted only on impulse. In order to regulate copying it would require two different versions of the same animal to begin the process. Light asked me “And this is the same for all the animals?” I said that all the animals which had been named reproduced in this way. “In that case” said Light, “we will call them male and female. Please can you tell us why they need to make copies, to reproduce?”

I answered, “as I’ve said the animals don’t have freedom of choice, their instincts are driven by survival of the fittest and they’re instincts come from a part of me. The animals allow me to experience raw emotion and a fight against the elements of nature, pitting aspects of myself against that which can’t be fought – like lack of food, water or safety.” Light and Shadow were listening carefully and I continued, “with so many animals and with short life spans I decided it would be best to delegate creation of new life to the animals themselves.”

Shadow and Light exchanged a few looks before Shadow spoke up, “And what about us, why aren’t we male or female?” I answered them, cryptically, “You do not need to be male and female, you are not like the others.”

Have I just been really obtuse? I could have told them that the reason they do not have to be male and female is that they can create new life without two genders - if they acknowledge their power and choose.

Shadow broke the silence that had followed, “But if we chose. If we wanted to be made male and female?” I looked down at my experiment, I was glad that there was the imagination enough to realise their choice, it was also frustrating that it didn't extend a bit further than wanting to be the same as all the animals. I answered “Then your choice would be instantly realized.”

Shadow turned to light and smiled.

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