Chapter 35 - Right On
“So what kind of dog are you anyway?”
I drew with his hand, “Not dog.”
He grabbed my paw and gave it a closer inspection. “Then what are you?”
For a long moment, I couldn’t really answer that... are we defined by what we think? Then I’m a human because I still think like one, well kinda. My thoughts are different than they were... I’m informed with new more acute senses - like smell for example, and feel much more driven by emotion and instinct than I used to be... it’s funny the tricks your mind plays on you.
If I didn’t know better I’d say my nose had been this sensitive my whole life. I don’t remember a time when it wasn’t. Maybe that is just my brain adjusting to my new reality. But then is being human just what you think or is it you adjusting to your reality, adapting to the senses that your genetics offer you? What if you were trapped in your body and could only think, no way to interact or communicate with anyone. Is that being human? Or just a state of being alive.
Or are we what we do? Like a murderer is a person who kills other people. I mean if everybody who just thought about killing another person, was a killer just by thinking, we’d have a world full of criminals. So there has to be a doing in the state of being.
I guess, then I’m not really a human any more because I can’t do most of the things that humans can do. I can’t walk on two legs, I don’t have opposable thumbs anymore, I can’t even talk. Which means if humans are storytellers as I learned in my philosophy class than maybe I’m no longer human... because I can’t tell the stories anymore, can I? If humans are tool makers, then I can’t be human because my hands are gone and my opposable thumbs.
What is it that defines us as humans? Is it that we communicate? But I’m communicating, and chimps could talk, I remember reading an article about it. The chimps were coming up with things, that their trainers had never given them. Small but identifiable cognitive jumps.
I look Alan in the eyes.
Then I spelled out, “Don’t know.”
“Are you an alien?”
He was so earnest, it was hard to stay mad at him. I shook my head.
I spelled out, “I’m new.”
“Are you a clone? Were you grown in a test tube?”
I shook my head.
“Oh man this is a trip. I gotta get back and tell the guys. They’ll never believe this...” Alan put the truck back in gear. “Hey, I want to change my thesis, I’m in school right now - and I’d like to do the paper on you, if you don’t mind.”
Alan in college? I shook my head at the thought and then nodded what I hoped was encouragingly when he glanced over.