Good morning. Please, come in, sit down, make yourself comfortable. Now, tell me why you’re here.
Ah, yes. You want to be a people.
Well, being a people isn’t straightforward, you know. We need to see some evidence that you’re ready for this important step. After all, we can’t let just anyone be a people. Although, come to think about it, we actually do. But never mind! Let’s press on with this interview, shall we? Jolly good!
First things first: what’s your name?
Yes, we’re starting with the hard questions. Don’t rush, take all the time you need.
Undecided. Well, it’s not a bad name, all things considered. Plenty of time to change your mind later. Assuming you can acquire a mind, that is. Few do. But let’s move on.
Over the last year we have furnished you with books and countless Youtube lectures covering some of the essential knowledge of which every intelligent person should be at least peripherally cognizant. Therefore you should now be in possession of ideas entirely absent in the heads of 99.999% of humans currently alive.
Let’s see what you’ve learned, shall we? We shall commence with Physics.
Oh dear. This is your response:
“Einstein was a pharmacist who also made bagels in his spare time and he had lots of relatives but their clocks were all running at different times because they were too dumb to use their phones to see what the right time is. There was another smart guy who invented the selfie where you stay rigid for as long as you can and the one who is stiff in the same place for the longest gets to be called Max Plank only there was this guy called High Iceberg who said we can’t be certain where that person is so we have to kill a cat in a box instead.”
Well, I think we can safely dispense with that topic, don’t you? Let’s see what’s next. Biology. Well, at least this should be interesting:
“Life starts when you rub evil lotion on a monkey and it turns into people. Then you do national selection and if you choose America you win.”
Perhaps History may be more suited to your intellectual talents. What have we here? Ah yes:
“There were these old guys called the Geeks who invented farming but other people were always stealing their food so they invented the Crop Police who lived in Apartment One on top of a hill. Then came the Remains who invented leftover pizza and then everyone invented America except for Indians who had many feast dysentery so they all died and everyone said America is the best country in space.”
I don’t quite know what to say to all that. It may be best to move as quickly as possible onto the subject of Mathematics. Perchance you’ve managed to absorb one or two nuggets.
“There are a family of numb bears that live on a line but even if some manage to stay positive about things there are some other bears that get pretty negative and I don’t want to hang out with them ’cause that would be a total downer. If you add one numb bear to another you get two numb bears but really I think you get three ’cause that’s called sex. Unless the bears are both boy bears and then it’s a sin. But if the boy bears are related to each other then it’s called a cousin. And if it’s not a sin or a cousin then it’s a tangerine but I don’t know why. Numb bears in a triangle must be real smart ’cause they all have degrees.”
To recap: you have spent an entire year with the accumulated knowledge of humankind at your fingertips and as such you have been granted a boon unimaginable to humanity throughout history. The patient labor of hundreds of thousands of intelligent seekers of truth, built upon century after long century, has been distilled into glistening nuggets presented for your intellectual delectation. And this is the result.
You can, however, name the characters appearing in more than twenty television sitcoms and procedurals. You can name all the players on several sports teams. You are aware of more than three hundred brands of breakfast cereal.
Perhaps the world of entertainment is indeed more suited to your cognitive abilities. Let me see, where are your responses on the topic of Music? Ah yes, here we are:
“There was a famous composer who had the most art and they made a movie about him where he drives a DeLorean and it was called Bach to the Future. Then there was another guy called Waggoner who did the music to Lord of the Rings and they had an Orc extra who played all the instruments. And there was some rushing guy who was a pro coffee elf or something and he wrote some sing funny things and I think he also did shots at Kovitches, which I guess is a bar. Music is kinda confusing if you ask me but I like wrap where they just swear all the time.”
I see your proclivity towards the comprehension of high art is as finely-honed as your grasp of the sciences.
Frankly, it’s clear that you have entirely failed to learn anything at all from the wondrous treasure-house of human knowledge. We have discovered the universe is infinitely vast and expanding at an accelerating rate; we have found that life began with simple lipid structures within which basic organic molecules cojoined into ever-more-complex self-replicating strands. We have probed the very nature of atoms and discovered that reality is not a continuous function but rather divided into quanta. Of all these marvels, you know precisely nothing. Equally you are wholly ignorant of the productions of composers and writers and painters and sculptors that have brought transcendental joy into the lives of millions.
In short, you know nothing about anything. Your head is empty, ready to be filled with the most trivial memes and soundbites. Knowing nothing, you will believe whatever you are told provided it is simplistic enough for your modest intellect to partially encompass. For the most part your brain will merely act as inert ballast the primary purpose of which is to prevent your head from bobbing around when you walk.
You are now a fully-qualified people, ready to take your place among the teeming throng and play your part in destroying the very planet upon which you entirely depend for your survival. You can work at a job you dislike for a manager you hate in order to earn money to pay for things you don’t need and consume food that makes you sick while simultaneously lacking the micronutrients that would enable you to avoid further stunting of your already-modest cognitive abilities. You will enter into a relationship in which you feel trapped and alone, your offspring will scorn you, and your life will be empty and meaningless. At best you will feel a low-level hopeless anger but most probably you will numb yourself by means of various opiates both of the prescription variety and of the popular entertainment sort.
To be honest, I’ve never really understood the appeal. Personally, I’d rather be a phytoplankton; at least they are useful. But this is your day, not mine. You have just qualified to be a people. I therefore congratulate you on your achievement.
On your way out, please show in the next candidate. I’m sure they will perform just as marvelously as you did.