600 GriefPhysical Object / Narrative 14 Sep 2016
A creature from millions light years away that mourns and griefs a deceased fellow. A meditation on how grief may be a universal language of every possible form of life.
600 Grief is a “creature” from a world located somewhere in the vast space of the universe. If we where to translate 600 Grief’s name into our anthropocentric human terms, his name would turn out to be “Orange Grief”. The creature’s favorite color is orange, but it has a hidden meaning in its name. The reason why 600 Grief has such a weird numerical name, is because him and the other creatures that live on his planet—collectively decided that it would be better to name everyone according to terms that can be understood by other alien species. This is important for a civilization that wants to encounter other alien civilizations. How would you otherwise be able to exchange each other’s names and ideas if you have no common point of reference? And how could names be understood by aliens who have completely different languages and cultures?
Grief - a universal language of the living.
The answer to this problem is to use names based on the universal laws of the universe—physics. By having a common agreement with these laws, aliens are able to grasp the names of other alien species, even if they are super weird and different. This is why “600” represents the wavelength (in nanometers) of the color that humans refer to as ”orange”, which is what constitutes 600 Grief’s name. Orange Grief’s universal name is therefore “600 Grief”. His name can be understood by any alien specie, no matter what spectrum of light that species is sensitive to. (The human visible light spectrum is only a 1 trillionth part of the whole electromagnetic spectrum).
The machine-like creatures on 600 Grief’s world are not like the lifeless mechanistic machines that humans created on Earth. They posses forms of emotion and some other social traits that cannot easily be defined due to their immense complexity—just like us. Creatures like 600 Grief live a very weird life, but they have just as many reasons to call human life weird, as much as we can call theirs. But there is a sad story to 600 Grief’s last name which is based on a trait that she possessed by birth. This trait is the act of grief and mourning. She works as a mourner for the community of his world/planet. Although the terms “work” and “community” are entirely different on 600 Grief’s world, the act of grieving and mourning seems to be a common practice among all the alien species that they have encountered, which human have yet to encounter.
Many alien species who encountered each other among the vastness of space, ended up having disputes and misunderstandings. These where caused from the fact that not all of them established a common universal language. But what most of these species realized, even when in conflict, is that all of them where united to an act of grief and mourning. Despite the many differences among alien species, even hostile ones seem to respect the act of mourning and grief of its adversary. The rituals that all these alien species carry out are very different, but they are recognized as a common act by most of them. All of these alien species seem to include a form of meditation in a particular place, over a particular subject. It has to do with being aware of individuals who no longer spend their life alongside with ours. It is weird that something like grief turns out to be a common ritual among all aliens. Just like the wavelength of light is constant in the laws of physics, so does it seem, that the act of grief and mourning is something universal as well.
600 Grief thus mourns over a dead motherboard by overhanging chains tied to the strings of his favorite color. He uses a fan to sway these strings back and forth. The ritual is very unusual and it is not entirely known what the motherboard is, who’s is it, and what do the chains culturally represent. All is known is that it is an act of mourning—a meditation over a subject by using strange and evoking methods. It is an act that all the living experiences—living a life worth of it value simply because it is finite. But after a life was filled with pain and trauma, such a life is pitied and dedicated in the act of mourning. It should be therefore assumed that mourning is the universal language of the living.