Exploring the Human Civilization Enigma - Episode 2


The fat, the short, and the tall have raised many questions inside your head about planet Earth, the development of life on it, and the whole human civilization issue. This issue that has aroused your curiosity to research, read, and ask yourself: how has this civilization developed and changed through the years?

After they had disappeared when the door was opened—because they do not want to meet anybody but you—you get up excited searching for them after the door was closed again; you look under your bed, inside your closet, behind your desk, behind the curtains, but there is no trace of them. You go back to sleep, but you cannot because of what you have seen.

You wonder where they have gone. Was I hallucinating? Was that a dream? Suddenly, you shudder violently as you see them attached to your bedroom’s ceiling without exerting any effort, without even touching the ceiling, their color changed from green into orange, scaring you even more.

You sit looking upward, trying to talk but you cannot; they are the ones who started the conversation. The tallest begins to talk with a smile on his face: Hey friend; don’t you want to come up? You answer his question by another question, ignoring his strange request: Where did you go? And how did your color change?

The shortest answers in his funny robot-like way: We did not go anywhere; you are what we want. We picked you randomly and we cannot leave you without completing our mission. The fattest looks at his friends and notices the change in their color; he alerts them with a strange signal with his left foot and they return again into green. However, they stay attached to the ceiling so you continue asking: What happened? How did you change your color like that? And what is the mission that you have been sent here for?

The tallest answers interestingly: We love your planet; we want you to be reasonable again and inhabit this beautiful blue home as members of one herd. You interrupt him refusing this description: Hey, hey! We are humans, the finest creatures on Earth; we cannot be described as a herd.

The fattest interrupts refusing your objection: Oh beautiful human, we do not mean to insult you. My friend talks figuratively, referring to the balance in the lifestyle of some herds; they live in harmony with nature and this lifestyle has not led—as you can see—to your extinction. Your behavior, on the other hand, is what leads to the extinction of many of them.

The shortest interrupts, addressing the fattest: You are right. If mankind continues like this, they will definitely face extinction. You ask him indignantly: How can mankind cause the extinction of mankind? And please come down because my neck hurts and you still have not answered my question about the change of your color.

The tallest answers: We are special creatures, and we have this advantage, in addition to other advantages you may see as supernatural. We are all in good health and our planet has not experienced any kind of illness or weakness like yours. You humans—the inhabitants of the blue planet—have not followed the simplest rules to maintain your species’ health.

You ask sarcastically: How is that? There are reasons beyond our control that affect the “human health”. The tallest tries to calm you down: Calm down my friend; we are just chatting with you and you are right about the reasons or the causes that may affect the health. We can state some of them: environmental factors for example—even though they are natural—like geographical conditions or the elevation above sea level; geological conditions like the soil type, which defines the kind of food, water, weather, humidity and wind direction; all these factors can lead to some seasonal diseases.

You are astonished by his talk and your astonishment increases with the rotation of the shortest around himself vertically. The tallest becomes silent, giving the fattest a chance to talk; you understand that what has just happened is their language to communicate with each other.

The fattest speaks: Do not forget the geological environment, as well as the social and the cultural environment such as the population, its distribution, and the educational level, which affect their health awareness, health behavior, the spread of diseases, the ways to avoid them, and the coordination between you to combat them.

You answer, forgetting about the change in their color, addressing them as if they were humans like you: I agree completely with you; “human health” is also affected by the nutritional level, nutritional methods and types. But, speaking of nutrition, do you eat and drink like humans?

The fattest replies: Never, we do not eat or drink. You answer with astonishment, teasing them; your fear gone: If you do not eat or drink, why are you so fat? And that tall one, why is he so thin? The tallest answers: Being fat or thin on our planet is not related to nutrition; we can change our looks as we wish. Just as we change our color, we can change our form; do you want to see? His offer scares you so you answer: Not really; it might be better to continue what I was saying, which you may already know.

You tell them the information you know: Nutrition has a great influence on a person’s health, whether young or old. That is why this issue is the focus of nutrition specialists and those who are responsible for children’s health, “human health”, and international health generally on our planet. It has become clear to them that most communities do not know the correct approach to nutrition, leading to weak generations that suffer from malnutrition diseases; such as rickets, osteomalacia, tooth decay, scurvy, beriberi, eye crust, and anemia.

That is why great efforts in most developed countries have been directed to providing meat, poultry, milk, eggs, fish, fruits and vegetables, as well as decreasing their prices to be available for the poor, in order to avoid diseases and to develop the health levels for all society members.

You stop talking abruptly as the three of them look towards the window.

Illustrations by Mohamed Khamis.

The episode was published in SCIplanet printed magazine, Spring 2014 issue.

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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