FIRST PART. Something must happen

FIRST BLOCK. Tendencies

2. Report from Polter: The Human Mating Systems

First and last: I cannot be within this phenomenon, I stand outside it. This is a quandary of the galactic agents at all levels, but it is one of the basic conditions of enquiry and not truly disqualifying. Such is our knowing, in many cases it produces little but thought-provoking paradox. In the present case I have chosen to address the difficulty by joining a simple physical consideration to a series of impressions; the two sides remain in incompatible and irreconcilable opposition. For this shortcoming I ask for my receiver's indulgence in advance.
One fact was well established before my arrival: the surface of the planet is strewn with organisation capable of collecting and storing energy contained in the incoming radiation from the central star of the planet system. Based on this source of energy, local enclaves of high order are established in simple substrates, like water and eroded bedrock. Each such enclave is defined by one single unique collector and converter of energy, here called species. Smaller units interact, in turn creating multispecies systems with complicated dynamics. Without exception the individual carriers of such organisation can reproduce and grow, through simple partition, or following consultation (mating) between two polar components, called gender or sex. Reproduction is a necessity since physical wear and interference continuously prune the existing structures, checking their expansion. There is a direct connection between the energy supply and the rate of reproduction; where energy is in short supply, reproduction may fail altogether.
Above the not entirely accidental forms, energy flows form a structure of command, in a way we know from elsewhere, at a larger scale. If necessary a system is constrained within the physical whole by way of heavy-handed tectonics. My measurements have recorded the overture of such a settlement, this will be dealt with in depth in a separate report. It could be added that there is much to indicate that the present organisation of the species studied is of recent date and spontaneous rather than strictly premeditated.

The species in focus, a biped organism without known counterparts in the galaxy, dominates and permeates all existing hierarchies of the planet from a top position. This position gives it preferential rights at the energy taps. Here the consultation between sexes enters the equation, since all mating is surrounded by energy-intensive ostentatious display, more so in the dominant species than in any other case. I venture the hypothesis: The expansive tendencies of the biped in practically all areas are stoked from an internal hearth, originally burning for the purpose of reproduction only. Part of the energy produced is then radiated back to the ambient, without being invested into the originally intended purpose and stored there. This shouldn't come as a big surprise: that the "top dog" (joking name for the dominant) handles existing supplies a bit self-indulgently.
My first attempt at gaining a perspective on this system brings me to the "Zoological Gardens", henceforth: ZG. Lodged at the ZG are other species, collected from their original environments and displayed in an entirely static and controlled existence. Within the scope of the ZG there is no growth, no change, the energy fuelling the whole establishment is drawn from the biped's own flows. It is worth noticing that ZGs were originally associated with hierarchies, expressing the fact that despots used a lion's share of existing resources to adorn their rule. In that way the ZG is an allegory of the actual situation, an emblem of the biped's general supremacy and control of energy flows.
The central biped is not on display in the ZG, which might come as a surprise. This shouldn't be construed that bipeds are conspicuous by their absence in there, the empty seat is occupied by look-alikes. The occurrence of look-alikes demands an explanation: the internal coding that defines abilities and forms of a species are intricately linked with the larger environment, and the code doesn't always yield a stable final product, nor is the coding itself constant. If external parameters change very quickly or abruptly, the latent but controlled instability may get accentuated, and an array of modifications of the original form may emerge within a very short period of time. These variations in turn tend to be unstable, most of them quickly disappearing by virtue of their fragile constitution, but once in a while one of them may prevail, in rare cases even two or three. Our biped originates from such a cataclysm, and curiously enough a couple of parallel bifurcations, sharing much of the biped's coding, still occur in some marginal systems. These parallel bipeds are on display in the ZG. When it comes to it, they tend to use four limbs when transporting themselves, but that is of no relevance here. From most aspects they are quite obviously first cousins of the biped, and behaviour common to this whole group, which I choose to call "biped-like", can be studied on them.
A final footnote before i transform myself into an "eye": It is a well-known fact that much training of the galactic agents prior to missions to this planet aims at preparing them to discern and use the signals by which the biped communicates. In contrast to the agents themselves, the biped opens a very narrow window to its environment; it can discern low frequency vibrations in materials (the transitive action is termed "hear", the organ "ear"), and medium frequency emissions from excited materials (the transitive action is termed "see", the organ "eye") - but little else. The biped in turn communicates with other bipeds on the same frequencies. Nothing can be more alien and strange to the agents than these primitive and often seemingly erratic and contradictory expressions. Even after six months on this planet most of us are not sure when to ignore a signal (as being non-sensical or meaningless) and when to assign some importance or sense to it. There is much to prove that a substantial share of all biped "communication" is nonsensical, a sort of idling.
The look-alikes are three and called: gorilla, orang-utan and chimpanzee. The organs proper for seeing, the eyes, are two and oval, set in almond-shaped slits and more or less centred in bowl-shaped valleys on the front-side of the head and above its midline. The organs for hearing, the ears, also are two and situated on both sides of the head, approximately level with the eyes. Thus the communication organs are located to the head, which also contains the superior centre of command. This doesn't imply that other parts of the hull, the "body", are of no importance to communication. Apart from the exchange of very specific messages, exact in coding, the biped is also capable of a sort of holistic reading, which picks up larger forms, contours, and extracts information from them. The latter method of course lies entirely below the horizon of the agents, but we can conclude its existence from certain reactions that will remain incomprehensible, if such a capacity is not postulated.

First text published 28.2.09, last changed 13.4.09.

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