I watched a bit of the Paralympics this afternoon – one of those races where blind runners run ‘fastened’ to a sighted guide. It reminded me of something – and here I must be careful because – oh well, you will see why because.
Many years ago I read an article about cruelty to animals, or more specifically about the practice of using mice, rats and so on in laboratory experiments to benefit humans. I don’t know whether this story is true or not – there was a photo, but that doesn’t mean the story was true. The photo was of two rats, one blind and one not. The sighted rat was leading the blind rat by means of a straw.
(I know, these are probably mice. I couldn’t find the rats)
You see why I had to be careful. I am not comparing disabled human athletes to rats, I am merely trying to say that there does seem to be something, some instinct or gene, that leads living creatures, in situations where one is disadvantaged, to try to help each other.
And then of course at the Olympics there was the American runner who, after she and another had both fallen, stopped to help her injured competitor rather than running on. They finished the race last although both, on appeal, were allowed to go through to the next stage.
I was just thinking, for some reason, what invading Nietzschean Super-beings from Outer Space would make of this utterly pointless behaviour. So much more sensible for the sighted rat to have ignored the blind rat, as surely any run-of-the-mill rat would do. How weak, how ridiculous, to throw away the fruits of four years hard training in order to hobble over the finish line last with a competitor from another country, a girl you had never met before.
How foolish to run at all when you can’t see where you’re going. Why not walk, for goodness sake? Or take up something more suitable, if you must do anything? And how pathetic to match your pace to another, slower athlete, pulling up just short of the finish line so that they can cross it first. And then to stand and stare politely into space as your partner is interviewed, taking no credit for the skill and hard work it must take to become a guide runner; merely remarking that you were grateful to have been chosen.
I suppose it would depend Superman’s own values and culture, wouldn’t it? A large percentage of us might find ourselves vaporised in short order for imperfections physical, intellectual and psychological. I wonder what fragment of the human/animal population of planet Earth would remain after the ‘cleansing’, and whether that tiny, flawless minority would be particularly likeable – to anyone apart from Superman.