A place for a


What is banana?

There was a little boy. He loved to get loving attention from his parents. Sometimes he got it. Sometimes he did not. He noticed something odd, though. Whenever he got their loving attention, his parents used to say banana. At other times his parents seemed to do quite the opposite, making him feel very ashamed or guilty. It made him feel like he did not want to live. When they did this, they always said grape.

The boy had no idea what the fuck banana or grape was, but it occured to him that it had something to do with him and his behavior. He figured that if he could understand what banana meant, he could always be banana and thus always receive loving attention. If only he could always be banana and never grape, he would never have to feel rejection again.

So he tried to adapt and be banana. But it seemed that no matter what he did, he could not figure out how to always be banana. Something that was banana at one time was grape at another time.

Of course, he was too young to consciously and rationally analyse this. He just somehow trusted his brain to understand one day.

But the older he got, the more complicated it became. What puzzled him most was that people outside of his family used the words banana and grape in quite different circumstances than his family.

He had to find the pattern. He had to understand the true nature of banana.

So he set out to become a philosopher and found out that there were many other truth seekers like himself. They would spend countless days, evenings and nights contemplating the nature of banana. All of them were, like himself, convinced that there was an absolute and undeniable answer – a formula or rule that would, without a single doubt, make it clear what was banana and what was grape.

He soon found out that some people had outrageous and stupid ideas about the nature of banana and it angered him. He engaged in furious debates with these idiots. It always went something like: Well, I admit that I have not yet completely understood banana, but the things you say are definitely not banana. They are very grape indeed. It wonders me how you can not see this. It is obvious.

Years passed and without being quite conscious of it, he had grown disillusioned and bitter about his search for banana. Whenever he contemplated or discussed it, he was only anymore concerned with defeating idiots. His quest for truth had become hollow, unsatisfying and had lost its passion. Yet admit this to himself he could not.

One day, he was on an intercontinental trip to a philosopher’s conference. He had elaborated what he considered to be a profound speech on the nature of banana and he knew that only idiots would disagree with him.

But this day would change his life in a way that he did not foresee.

A storm caught the plane he was on and he crash-landed on a tropical island. Everybody but him was dead. He thought: This is definitely grape.

He wandered around the island for two days and could find nothing to eat. He starved and thought he was about to die.

With his last breath, he made it to a previously unexplored area and to his big surprise, he found himself in the middle of a primitive tribe.

Seeing his situation, one of the indigenous folks hastily brought him a bucket that was filled with strange long yellow fruits. He asked what it was. The other dude seemed a bit confused, then smiled, took one of the fruits and offered it to him. He siad: Banana!

The man tried the fruit and was smitten. It was delicious and made him feel banana. To find true wisdom among such primitive people, he thought.

A few days later a rescue team found him. He told them of his discovery and offered them some of the fruits. They were smitten as he had been. Within a few months, he managed to find an investor who would fund the import of the yellow fruit into his homeland. He became a millionaire and very popular within a short time and whenever somebody recognized him on the street, they said: Banana!

Finally he had found peace of mind.

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  • Admetus

    I really enjoyed this piece Tom.

    The suggestion that wisdom is something that can be ingested is particularly poignant. Whether through philosophical discourse or experience, it seems to me that there is a sensual element to the process of learning whereby our passions, our desires and our fears are mediums through which our bodies can receive the wisdom.

    It sounds kind of kooky when I put it that way, but experiencing beauty and truth can be a lot like a mildly drug induced euphoria or dysphoria. I often find more meaning through the memory of these experiences rather than the associated thoughts and arguments. The experiences lend themselves to the development of heuristics, which act as signposts for proper action. Maybe I can’t methodically navigate my way through every street and turn since I’m not a philosopher, but at least I can identify the important landmarks along the way, seek them out and still arrive at the destination. This is a lot like the way one might drive their well-known routes to work, school, the grocery store, etc… they seem to feel their way towards the destination rather than thinking it through or consciously driving every mile in a deliberate fashion. The experience of being brought to the destination once or twice can be enough to habituate one to reaching it or avoiding it in their own way.

    I think that there is something to the idea that wisdom is incorporated into our bodies and senses rather than being within the exclusive purview of conscious thought/mind/philosophy.

    • “This is a lot like the way one might drive their well-known routes to work, school, the grocery store, etc… they seem to feel their way towards the destination rather than thinking it through or consciously driving every mile in a deliberate fashion.”

      Yes! Very nice example. I agree.

  • Smokingjacket

    Bananas and humans share 75% of the same genes in common.

    • Really?

      • Smokingjacket

        What is you realize that you’re nothing more than a banana in an incubator who’s having a an elaborate simulation where they think you’re a human being?