The Race Where Children are Fathered by the Tribe

The key to the understanding of this race is, I believe, its strange method of reproduction, which was essentially communal. Every individual was capable of budding a new individual; but only at certain seasons, and only after stimulation by a kind of pollen emanating from the whole tribe and carried on the air. The grains of this ultra-microscopically fine pollen dust were not germ cells but "genes," the elementary factors of inheritance. The precincts of the tribe were at all times faintly perfumed by the communal pollen; but on occasions of violent group emotion the pollen cloud became so intensified as to be actually visible as a haze. Only on these rare occasions was conception probable. Breathed out by every individual, the pollen was breathed in by those who were ripe for fertilization. By all it was experienced as a rich and subtle perfume, to which each individual contributed his peculiar odor. By means of a curious psychical and physiological mechanism the individual in heat was moved to crave stimulation by the full perfume of the tribe, or of the great majority of its members; and indeed, if the pollen clouds were insufficiently complex, conception would not occur. Cross-fertilization between tribes happened in inter-tribal warfare and in the ceaseless coming and going between tribes in the modern world.

In this race, then, every individual might bear children. Every child, though it had an individual as its mother, was fathered by the tribe as a whole. Expectant parents were sacred, and were tended communally. When the baby "Echinoderm" finally detached itself from the parental body, it also was tended communally along with the rest of the tribe's juvenile population. In civilized societies it was handed over to professional nurses and teachers.

I must not pause to tell of the important psychological effects of this kind of reproduction. The delights and disgusts which we feel in contact with the flesh of our kind were unknown. On the other hand, individuals were profoundly moved by the ever-changing tribal perfume. It is impossible to describe the strange variant of romantic love which, each individual periodically felt for the tribe. The thwarting, the repression, the perversion of this passion was the source at once of the loftiest and most sordid achievements of the race. Communal parenthood gave to the tribe a unity and strength quite unknown in more individualistic races. The primitive tribes were groups of a few hundred or a few thousand individuals, but in modern times their size greatly increased. Always, however, the sentiment of tribal loyalty, if it was to remain healthy, had to be based on the personal acquaintance of its members. Even in the larger tribes, everyone was at least "the friend of a friend's friend" to every other member. Telephone, radio, and television enabled tribes as large as our smaller cities to maintain a sufficient degree of personal intercourse among their members.


Folksonomies: otherness alien other

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Psychology (0.607506): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Individual rights (0.604517): dbpedia | yago
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Liberalism (0.592199): dbpedia | freebase

 Star Maker
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Stapledon, Olaf (1937), Star Maker, Retrieved on 2017-03-10
Folksonomies: speculation science fiction