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Locked, Loaded...


Many years later I realized something. Before a gun is fired, something else is fired, and that something else fires the gun. The something is a learned angle of relation to the weapon and circumstances. In other words, an acquired perspective.

If Klaatu intended to attack things, he probably wouldn’t come out of his ship with a sidearm ready to face off an entire sentient planet. So whoever shot him was out of their tiny little mind.

The problem is that back then, the human metaphor for ‘small device at the hip’ was weapon. Even now, in the 21st century it is not much different. So when Klaatu reached for the gift at his hip — a soldier actually saw him reaching for a weapon — and shot him before he could ‘use it’. Literally, the soldier ‘invented’ the weapon, and responded to reality as though his invention were real.

But the soldier’s metaphor was as flawed as his logic: why would ‘thing-machine at the hip’ have to equal sidearm? The answer is that we come to metaphy in ways alike with our common environments and circumstance — in a military barracks or a battlefield, this would be ‘rational’.

When a solider or police-person simulates combat in their mind before encountering it — which you can bet they do with some regularity all the time — they consider ‘where the hands go and what they do before an attack’. Since the soldier or cop is simulating this all the time in their minds, they form models that are not only false, but actually create the circumstance they are simulating by forcing others into a position of hostility before any other sort of connectivity-transport can arise or prosper. This, in part, is why Klaatu might actually be shot, in a similar real-life situation. In fact, human children get shot like this all the time. Adults, too.

Klaatu didn’t come to Earth to ‘play guns’. He came to offer us something we already possessed, but continue to stridently ignore — the benefits and responsibilities of our very real inclusion in a celestial community. I don’t want to misrepresent his character. Klaatu also brought a warning, which carried with it a threat, and an ultimatum. He said that what we were doing here was endangering many worlds, and that if we refused to live and act in the hope and pursuit of fellowship, rather than annihilation... then their federation would deliver the annihilation we seek, immediately.

The general idea was that he was coming to let us know that our organ in the celestial community was malfunctioning dangerously, so they had to act before we can spread our chosen disease, so to speak. He explained that if we refused to select a path of mutual recognition and uplift, they’d send machines (like Gort) which would turn the Earth to ash.

Certainly we would agree that the story we’re examining is a fable. At the same time we might pause to consider that since that story became known, our own machines have very clearly been busy turning our world, cultures, liberties and human intelligence into something a lot like ash.

But here’s the thing I noticed: Klaatu carried something like the opposite of a gun at his hip: a unityWindow. Not merely a phone to his own kind of people — but a way of reaching any assembly of any sort people — anywhere... now.

And that is an interesting toy to pursue... especially in a universe where, literally ‘no machine is required’.