Debate Magazine

Unman: the Exceptional Hero of Exception

By Pomozone @pomozone
I had a student jump off a roof one time. After investigating what sort of benefit he thought he might gain by throwing himself off a height of several, uncomfortable feet, it seems that he wasn't thinking about benefits or consequences at all. I found that to be more disconcerting than had he told me he thought Jesus would catch him. 

While you have to be careful not to ridicule people who have reaped the consequences of their own stupidity (after all, there is now no dissuading them from suffering), I did learn that his impetuous action sprang from that subconscious Gollum-crevice of his mind that he was an exception. He was so exceptional that benefits or consequences need not figure into his action at all, now or forever. After all his idiocy is genius, his body odor heavenly, and his turds little piles of gold.UNMAN: THE EXCEPTIONAL HERO OF EXCEPTIONMuch of the "exceptional" behavior to which I am professionally privy is essentially nothing more than classic, high-risk behavior. As it is with each human, that absurdity which we hold onto so dearly makes total sense to ourselves but only sounds absurd when we try to explain it to another. "Drugs? No, those are plants. Cannibis indica to be exact. Why do I have them in my room? I'm a green thumb. Oh, those ones wrapped up in paper? Those are dead. I was going to throw them away.""Stealing? No, you don't understand. I was just going to use the money and put it back before you found out. Why? Because I thought you might get mad."Routinely staying up all night to "study" for an exam that routinely takes you all day to take is high-risk behavior. If you don't routinely get rest, you will not routinely get recharged, because you are routinely depleting your abilities. Even military personnel in special training get a reprieve at the end of Hell week. Even the government takes a holiday every once in a while (in addition to daily smoke/potty and lunch breaks). UNMAN: THE EXCEPTIONAL HERO OF EXCEPTIONOh, but not the Unman. The only reprieve Unman gets is when he is laid up in bed deathly ill because he can't move, or when he is incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital to which he has been referred for odd behavior, or when he disappears altogether for a time, unable to cope with the normal stresses of life. The Unman fancies that he has batteries that never end. He is always starting something, but never formally ending it. So he has to be made to stop, to quit, to end. He imagines himself to be indispensable until someone points out his redundance. Maybe you know an Unman or Unwoman. Each fully expects everyone but himself to exhibit human weakness like, um, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. Each fully expects other people to exhibit cultural deficiencies like, say, an interest in contemporaneous culture. Each actually believes himself to have been built for another era, an older era, a superior era. Each is always trying to "go back" further than anyone else in order to establish a kind of authenticity so far removed from the current culture that he actually fools himself into believing that mind-twisting like that substantially works. I have known many people of this sort who ridicule those who take the precaution to consider seriously the merits of contemporary trends and movements. I myself have been a part of that group. We had our little discussion groups back in the day where we pontificated works from men of a different century (with whom we could not empathize) who discussed topics belonging to a foreign culture (of which we were largely unfamiliar) and who cited any current affair as inferior to the old-timers'. Functionally we were cultural critics and pessimists who were empowered by critic-speak. We were Bieber-haters.But the Unman has an Achilles heel all the same. That sort of decay manifests itself in a thousand different ways. I knew a man who was religiously zealous about a certain political group to the point of triggering a caustic nausea in everyone who was unfortunate enough to hear him out. He knew what was wrong with the government. He was privy to tasty conspiracies. He knew who was and who was not a Communist. Then he went through an excruciating crisis, and  voilá, he had suddenly embraced a new vocabulary, a brand new set of religious and political beliefs, and was dismantling his own previous position as if he had done it all of his life. Worst of all was that he displayed no awareness of his hubris. Such a person has opened up on life's desktop several alternate realities and just as many personalized Avatars. She jumps in and out of her worlds with the ease of a trapeze artist, seemingly unable to commit to the one reality under her very nose which is the boring one. So boring that it scares her into a chronic dreamscape.UNMAN: THE EXCEPTIONAL HERO OF EXCEPTIONSo the kid hollering on the ground with the broken ankle doesn't really know why he is hollering. Sure he is protesting, but I am not certain against what. Is he angry with himself for being foolish? No. He seems to be irritated with the form of the building, with the form of the ground, with the form of himself, and with the combination of all three. Sure, it's supposed to happen to the dumbass on Youtube who he gets a kick out of seeing fall on his face over and over again. But it's not supposed to happen to him. He is Unman.UNMAN: THE EXCEPTIONAL HERO OF EXCEPTION

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