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Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity



Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
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mooseaz has commented on (1) product.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land

mooseaz, January 22, 2010

If you want an amazing look at what it means to be 'human', this is it. I was a little put off at first with the background chapters as they were a little choppy. PUSH PAST IT!! Cause it's about to get amazing. A human child (Michael) is born on mars and raised my martians, knowing nothing of earth. He returns to earth as an adult and has to 'learn' to be human. To look at human nature through the eyes of not only another culture but a whole other species, is something Heinlein did amazingly well. My favorite scene is when Micheal goes to the zoo. He's watching a little monkey who is about to eat a peanut. A larger monkey takes the peanut and beats up the smaller monkey. The smaller one is frustrated and pounds the ground for a while, then finds an even smaller monkey and beats him up for no good reason and obviously feels much better. The smallest monkey finds his mother. Micheal laughs so hard at this that his friend has to put him in a cab and take him home. When he finally calms down he explains that he learned, the 'key' to being human is laughter. That laughter happens when something is so tragic that you HAVE to laugh just to make it stop hurting. He goes on to explain that if you look at anything you find a "real belly laugh" funny... is probably wrong in some way (someone getting hurt in a comical way, for example). He concludes with "When apes learn to laugh, they'll be people". This has stayed with me for years now. The idea that humOR is what makes us humAN. !jen
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