Farfegnuton the Naughty Elf and the Self-Conscious Asparagus
By Owen Torres
In the beginning, we were nothing, and we were comfortable. Now it must be distinctly understood that comfort is not synonymous with bliss, quite the contrary; bliss involves a state of being and, as previously stated, we were nothing. I suppose the qualifier of comfort in this instance isn’t really all that applicable either, but it’s the closest thing to describe the complete absence of feeling. You only think about qualifying an experience of pure nothingness after you’re no longer nothing.
Anyway, our comfort was short-lived, or long awaited (nothingness has no concept of time). Molecules realigned, compacted and contracted. Where once thousands of nothings floated in the oblivious sea, now crushed in one on top of the other until we were at long last something. We became a seed. Not the finest seed ever seen, but, in the eyes of greater, more complex creations, we were perfection incarnate. And we were miserable.
It wasn’t fair. We were snatched up out of our tranquil state and forced together against our will. Of course, as nothing, we had no will, but given the choice, after weighing the facts of our existence to that of complete nonexistence, we’d choose the latter and will have been right to do so. From serene nothingness to this cramped potential? We’d take nothing any day.
As we contracted into being we soon realized we were no longer capable of occupying the single space. Expansion was the only option. Manifest destiny, as the greater creatures called it. Either way, it would undoubtedly be a metamorphosis of some kind. So we expanded as much as we could, setting every molecule against each other in a vain attempt to escape our horrible fate. Upward and outward, from our entombment in the languid earth, into the sun that nearly blinded us all at first glimpse. Some stayed behind, insisting that downward would bring greater fortune than under the sky. They were wrong.
I’ll never forget that first moment when the sun hit me. It was to my eyes as painful as the gardener pruning off my limbs or hacking at my stock to see if I am still alive, or a dog digging at my roots to bury something or gnaw at their sweet fleshy innards. Yes, we were very much alive and very much miserable. With each day that dawned, we were reminded of those two facts and yearned to be nothing. Yearning, how we missed not having to yearn or move or squint at the sun or hear casual conversation or breathe. Feeling is such a laborious endeavor and everyday we subjected ourselves to the simple task of existing, we desired to simply not be.
Our first recognition of ourselves was quite brief, but profound. We felt and we rationalized those feelings into a multitude of complex emotions spawning from a single experience unique to each and every one of us and it all happened nearly instantaneously as though it was supposed to be from the very start, ingrained naturally like it had our consent before conceptualization. It didn’t and we loathed it.
Next followed our recognition of our surrounding space. This included recognition of others, also a nearly instantaneous realization. We deduced that since we all shared a common root that we all must be of the same plant. Greater creations classified us as asparagus. At the time we didn’t see titles as holding much, if any, significance. We either were or we weren’t and calling something that exists by some claptrap designation seemed an exercise in futility.
The recognition of our surroundings and others brought some other undesirable aspect. Our common existence brought a sense of collated self-loathing. We were, in a sense, united by the common factor that none of us cared to exist, but in that togetherness grew an awareness of self in relation to the group. Our own deformities, abnormalities and general bodily functions became a reflection of the group to be either withheld or brandished by our perception of the group itself. We became self-conscious. Every action and inaction became governed by consequence, that is to say, we were bound by the will of the masses, both fellow asparagi and greater creation alike. We surrendered to inhibition and enforced internal prohibition on our actions to reflect our projection of this society as it were. And oh, how miserable we were for it. It’s better indeed to be nothing than to worry about the way your piss smells.
Things deemed natural and essential to daily function were manipulated by the ideology of normalcy. Attraction, mating, masturbation, grooming, excretion, secretion, even self-regulated respiration became acts subjected to the society at large. Our understanding of the self became an understanding of our part in the greater whole. Individualism was passé over night. Our lives were dictated by the nature of the beast, an abstraction that crept in backwards when we weren’t looking to overwhelm our limited realization. It was a discouraging existence to live under rule when deep down we desired total autonomy.
We became social creatures. Over time, we discovered aspects of character and communal paradigms between these characteristics. We felt a natural gravitation towards certain members of the greater society who shared commonalities with ourselves. For the first time in our merger existence, there became an us versus them, where differentiation between ourselves was recognized. It was like that moment where we realized we weren’t the only species to inhabit this space only it applied this discrimination artificially to ourselves. Modeling our new construct off of that of greater creations, we were now not only at the whim of society, but the whim of culture as well, furthering ourselves more and more from the notion of individualism and the self. The more we forced these artificial constructs on ourselves for the sake of self-preservation, the more we desired nothing more than to be nothing more. And we were miserable.
After nearly a season of maturation and misery where we managed the time to develop subculture and anti-culture within our respective cultures, Farfegnuton came to us. He boasted superiority, which we granted him given his ornate decorum and complexity of his design, but moreover substantiated by his claim of knowledge of good and evil, both concepts being completely foreign at the time to us asparagi.
Farfegnuton, or so he called himself despite our disbelief, was an elf from a place called Macys. To us, this meant almost zilch. He looked like the standard, run of the mill guy, but his insistence on his differentiation baffled and amazed us. He said that this allowed him insight into the season of Xmas, oddly enough pronounced ‘Krismiss,’ and the judgment of good and evil therein. He said that during this season good would be rewarded with gifts and evil would be rewarded with nothing. We remembered our time as nothing and thought that evil must be better because it was rewarded with that which we longed to be. He corrected us, but we didn’t understand why good should be greater. What good is a gift when the physical world doesn’t mean anything?
We asked him to explain then the difference between the two, why we should desire good as a means of acquiring the unnecessary. He said that good was a genesis, a production or manipulation of the world around us, to spontaneously alter our reality to satisfy ourselves and those around us. We asked for an example to which he responded thusly: during Xmas he was under the employ of the landed gentry of Macys where he provided services that instilled elation in his patrons, but now that the season was over, he was left without work and with only his severance pay to satisfy himself. Despite this, however, he insisted that his time under employ was satisfactory work because of the joy he provided and pride he took in his work. This went over our heads. We had not idea what he was talking about. Work and patronage were as exotic to us as good and evil.
We asked him to elucidate in terms we could comprehend. Why was good supposed to be desirable and what made evil so bad? He explained that evil was a production that only sought the benefit of the self, playing off of natural tendencies to enhance one’s own fortune and fulfill the needs of nature with no regard to the will of society. The more he spoke of this, the more desirable evil seemed.
We asked him why the denial of our nature was desirable, why conformity to good and the benefit of society should be the goal of communal existence if it comes at the general expense of the self. To this he provided no adequate answer. He concluded that our social construct was too primitive to accurately elucidate further on this. We asked what more development was required for this understanding. He responded thusly: we had no concept of work or of physical interaction, that the sole basis of our society was built upon simple commonalities and not complexity, and it existed solely for the sake of existence. We conceded the notion that we did exist only because we were forced to by some fate that formed our union and consciousness, but we still didn’t understand the concept.
He readdressed this. He said that work was a means to an end, a method of disciplined suppression of those compelled natural desires, to quell their inert tendencies in favor of steady, gradual satisfaction. Work, we thought, was good and therefore undesirable. We tried to level with Farfegnuton by saying that if one thirsts, one drinks just as if one hungers, one eats. Never should reservation factor into either of these pursuits, as they are both necessary and vital to sustentation, thereby making evil the more favorable course. But Farfegnuton retorted, stating that these pursuits, although necessary, are mandated by the will of society that designates time and place of these transactions and that deviation from this itinerary seeks only self-deprecation. One cannot just eat because one is hungry, one cannot drink just because one is thirsty, one cannot kill just because one disapproves of another’s actions.
The more he advocated society as the core of existence, the more we desired removal from existence entirely. Its complexity baffled us and led only to inevitable disappointment. How we desired then to end it all. Farfegnuton continued; an example of this notion would be himself. He was hungry, as he has been since his premature termination of his employ, and, although he found us asparagi to be quite delectable to the eyes, he could never bring himself to destroy a single one of us for his own sustentation because society dictates that killing is wrong and would hold devastating consequences, of which included being counted on the Naughty List, should such actions be taken.
We cried to him. Oh, woe is our world that such a paradox exists! That every natural endeavor should be subjugated by the artificial construct of society, culture, subculture and anti-culture. But then he devised a plan that would not only satisfy his own natural desire, but our own. In our plight, we listened intently. He noted that we desired to kill ourselves and that he was hungry. He surmised that if we killed ourselves, he would be able to eat without the guilt of having killed us. No evil act would be committed. This appealed to us. Not only would our woeful existence be terminated, but it will have had meaning to boot. We accepted his proposal with glee.
With no hands to take our own lives, the fatal blow had to come from Farfegnuton. As my companions argued that no evil would come of it as we quite literally asked for it, I argued the contrary, that murder was murder despite the mutual desire for destruction. I was determined to prove Farfegnuton and my companions wrong. The self was sustainable by acts that society deemed evil, that society itself, in its vain orchestration that denies nature, was the root of all evil not the pursuit of self-gratification. I knew it to be true. But Farfegnuton slew my companions nonetheless. As I stared down at my companions’ mangled corpses on the ground, I felt loneliness for the first time. In an overwhelming gust of irrationality, I begged Farfegnuton to spare me to which he only scoffed at the irony and stayed his blade. Then, as Farfegnuton mocked their simplicity and refused to consume their earthly remains, as they were dirty, I suddenly knew we were always alone. This realization, above all, frightened and amazed me more than any other. True evil was not in existence or the satisfaction of natural inclinations, but the denial of the self. We denied ourselves from the moment of actualization and this was our greatest sin; for this, we deserved to die a meaningless death. For this, I deserved to be alone until time and age accept me, at which point I shall mournfully depart this world and venture to the grave unknown of nonexistence with the rest of my fallen brethren. Only this I know is certain: I exist, and I am miserable.
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