Sun 1.28.18

The term NPC is bandied about on the information superhighway of late. NPC is a term used in video games designating a character controlled by a computer by predetermined or responsive behavior. As the monogram is designated of late, it refers to individuals who are perceived as controlled by unspecified forces; they think, talk and act in a mechanical, consistent, and often inappropriate manner. The number of NPC's is said to be at 90% of the population. An example of NPC behavior is the official who repeats illogical justification when asked to explain a certain phenomenon. What the person is saying makes no sense. It does not matter; the person will go to their grave adhering to the program, the set of rules, the way it is. 

We have all been aware of discrepansies in our assessments that would label us as ( . . . ) if we spoke of such things. And we don't. Society to a great extent controls and manages our way of perceiving, analyzing and acting. Humans are not so far removed from the animals in their ability to comprehend the realm they inhabit. We, like they, see and interpret it according to the needs of our own species. What we describe and postulate about the cosmos is only what can be measured by crude instruments. Is it a wave, a particle, can't tell, doesn't matter.

Where is the line that separates the independent, thinker, actor from the NPC. Class seems to have an effect. The lower down the economic scale the higher the proportion of NPC's you will find, and perhaps that is only bias on my part. The middle class person who works their whole life saving money for their retirement is not acting in a logical or efficacious manner. And rich people are so rigid that they make the Amish look dissolute.

This week I got a ride to Portland, a city approximately 90 miles from my home with a 50ish widowed woman who does this kind of work to subsidize her pension, which she got working for the state's transit authority. She was stationed at a booth on the highway collecting tolls, was hurt, and unable to do the work anymore, was retired with a pension of $750 a month. I know all these things because she needs to talk; she also needs the radio on throughout. It is part of the charge that I pay for the ride. I know how she makes it all work, how she deals with an intractable government, the wear and tear on her vehicle, her trailer, her family of 4 boys, their wives and the grandkids. I see pictures on the iPhone of the stuff they all gave her for Christmas, most of it from Walmart. And she talks about her husband, he had cancer, how he suffered, the hospital scene, getting in bed with him on his last night, how he told her over and over how much he loved her. She's not interested in meeting another man who could possibly replace him?

On the way back from Portland, driving by a hospital she was once confined in, she talks about an operation she had. The whole bottom of her face around her jawline was cut and curled upward to repair, replace and reconstruct with plastic the jawbones of her face. She had been beaten to within an inch of her life, lost all her teeth and the bone structure in her mouth was destroyed. Her husband did this to her! Now she realized that there was a bit of cognitive dissonance to her presentation. She corrected it by explaining and excusing his behavior with the old standby, he was drunk. I sat there wondering how a person could possibly want to continue a relationship under those circumstances, how was that even possible.

NPC? Is NPC genetic or societal? Are you born numb or are you shaped by circumstances that cause you to withdraw from society, to shut if off and abide by the most superficial reality, the cliched adaptive version. From the Christmas gifts she received from her sons, it doesn't appear they have sought a more expanded awareness. Although better behaved than dad, the sons are not seeking to break through the NPC wall.