Development

This isn’t the story that I’m writing this holiday. Well, I mean, it is, but it’s not the one I planned to. (Though I am still writing that one.) I just had this idea and decided to write it up real quick. Oddly enough, the two stories are somewhat similar in premise and style. Anyway, here you go.

 

“For some time, as you know, though through no fault of my own, I have felt that I was born into… the wrong race. Or perhaps race is to subtle of a term; “species” may be more explicit. I have not felt superior to the rest of the human race, or at least that is not the major reason for my feelings, but I do feel alienated from them. Not because of actions by either party, but by a certain objectivity I feel upon viewing them, much like that felt when looking upon, say, a group of ants eating a thrown-away lollipop on the ground. No connection to them, but an interest or amusement in the watching.”
“I believe I know what you mean. I have myself felt similarly at times.”
“Realizing these thoughts has helped me come to grips with what I consider my calling. Human experimentation is something that seems to be almost unanimously frowned upon in society, most likely due to some universal kinship that all people have with one another and a prevailing empathy for one another that causes them to shudder at thoughts of physical and psychological experimentation upon them. Not cruel or inhumane testing, necessarily, but any sort of testing at all. I find this to be a weakness in the development of the science of psychology; if we are to have no tests, will we be able to ever prove anything? Or will we only have a sea of equally hypothetical ideas on the subject? I think it is my duty, given my inclination towards an objective view of humanity, to fill this void. One of the most fruitful fields for this, I thought, was that of developmental psychology. I planned out a longitudinal study of a child reared in isolation, while still being thoroughly cared for. A small room was created for the newborn – wholly deprived of human contact one week after birth – that would take care of its needs, remove from it any potential human influence, and allow me to fully observe its development.”
“Interesting. I had… similar ideas once, a long while ago.”
“It does not surprise me. I provided the infant with regular meals and toys for both physical and mental growth. Once it reached a certain age, I provided automized speech, primarily for the sake of teaching language. This proved to be one of my greatest tasks; it is surprisingly difficult to teach a young child to speak and read and write without human contact and a guiding hand.”
“I can imagine.”
“With no small amount of work, though, I made it work. Once it – a boy – had learned to read, education was easier, though expanding its knowledge of language was hard, needing to provide reading material without any bias or innate moral views that could influence the child. I wished to see what his “automatic” viewpoints were, having nothing but himself to judge them by. An extensive dictionary was provided, of course, as were books on many other subjects of study, though nothing that gave knowledge of history or human process, for the reasons said before. Once he had grown past toddler age and was toilet trained – another similarly difficult thing to teach, but I will not go into details – he was provided with a larger room. A large library of classical music was also made available to it, as well as several types of building toys. The child seemed to be happy, as much as could be expected with no experience with inter-human emotions. But in any case, he appeared to be contented, and was growing and learning at normal or higher than normal rates. I continued making changes as he grew, and considered the experiment completed – or, at least, as far as I dared take it for now – when the child was twelve. At that point, I asked it questions pertaining to moral and ethical problems, and asked questions pertaining to his opinions on various things. After that, I gradually exposed him to human contact and views, readjusting him to society, until the adolescent was able to move out. I suppose I should not say that the experiment was “over” at that point; merely my active part in it was. I observed the child and occasionally met with him to see in what ways he changed and in which he stayed the same, and how he conformed to society. While being completely adept at interactions and other human experiences, he seemed to always have a degree of separation from the rest of mankind, understanding them but not desiring to know them deeply, to make emotional connections with them. Or perhaps he didn’t so much see the reason for them. It seems that, coincidentally, he became somewhat like myself. I understand him, and I think he would probably understand me as well.”
“It’s not coincidence.”
“Hmm?”
“I performed the same test on you, long ago. For the first two years of your life, you were kept in an environment very similar to the one you’ve described to me just now. I would’ve liked to keep the experiment running as long as you did, but… I just couldn’t. I wasn’t built for it. But it seemed that in doing so, I built you for it.”

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