There’s a planet and it is very far from here. It is an exoplanet. It is an exoplanet with people, people who look kind of like us, maybe bald and maybe with strange eyes, but certainly they are not giant bugs or anything. They live a nice life, they have cities, but they coexist with their environment nicely, and they have given up their bronze age dogma as a species, so that doesn’t interfere with decision making. They are socialists, and they have a reasonable population, and they milk an animal that is their rough equivalent of a cow or a goat, and they make a very nice cheese with it. They serve that with a small bowl of their rice equivalent with one of their egg equivalents on top, and serve it with a steeped beverage that is their tea equivalent. They have that mid-morning, which we would consider a bit late because their days are longer. And it’s lovely, it’s a lovely meal.
And maybe someone serving that meal is a bit melancholy because her sister and she are not talking, they have had a bit of a spat, it’s over their mother, the mother is ill, she is very old, and generally these creatures are of good health, but we all age. The mother won’t rest, she has her own cow equivalents and goat equivalents and chicken equivalents and garden, which is just a garden, and she wants to tend to them herself. The sisters both agree that isn’t a good idea, but they have different approaches, this sister wants to have a hand come out and help, let the mother keep her pride, but the other sister says, just get rid of all the equivalents, she doesn’t need them any more, we’ll feed her and she’s going to have an accident. Actually, one of us should take her in. Actually, you should take her in.
And even though they live in peace, and they have plenty of unpoisoned food to eat, and their atmosphere isn’t rising in temperature to a point of uninhabitability, and even though their population is small and relatively enlightened, even though they have enjoyed three centuries of life without war and have devoted themselves to the musical and visual and performative and literary arts, even though all this is true, sometimes it’s hard to count the blessings, sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the power of the problem right in front of you: you, your sister, your dying mother, your suffering equivalent.