It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
Hi no one! No one ever is gonna read this. If you have stumbled across this, congratulations, you don't exist! No one is gonna read this, not even me. I don't exist!
While I sort out that existential crisis...why don't I beat a dead hor....erm...why don't I talk about something I find interesting about something that is very old that is about something...or in other words...Talk more about The Leemhuis NIMH Fanfiction Saga. I'm pretty infamous for speaking at length poorly about such a topic, what could go wrong?
In the Beginning...There was the Brisby Beginning. A simple love story about a damsel in distress getting rescued by a male figure who is portrayed as much more powerful and brave than she is. They fall in love and start to have children. Pretty standard stuff, albeit well written for fanfiction standards. To summarize the other stories (the best I can): The male character gets set off in another dimension and is presumed dead only for him to go back to his family and live happily ever after in Thorn Valley with the rats...for a little while. They find out that NIMH is coming back via one of the mice of NIMH that survived the ventilation shafts. He barely makes it to Thorn Valley and has to get a limb amputated.
They manage to talk to a human who is apart of this expedition to Thorn Valley via the magic amulet and learn a bit about his past, his motivations, his failures and triumphs. They then vacate to the dimension that housed the male mouse for awhile, bringing everything along with it.
A few events happen afterwards and I'm not gonna focus on all of them, but I will mention a few here. Namely there's a debate in the council chamber about the validity of a mice/rat relationship, with the discovery of some bigotry and malice towards the mice of NIMH. There's the realization that the male mouse has the power to grant long life granted to him by a goddess figure.
It's here that I originally dismissed (among other things) Out of the Mist (the story in which these events take place in) as nothing but mere wish-fulfillment fantasy, by taking away the autonomy of the rats and mice just to make them happy and explain away inconsistencies, I was fully dismissive of both the concept and the story itself, reading it as something of a joke.
However, I find it oddly alluring and interesting. I think there's something more here that I missed the first time I read it and I would like to dissect it.
The Leemhuis stories have always envisioned the rats living in a sort of egalitarian society and it's not hard to see that happen. The rats and mice are absent of the imperialism and colonialism that has shaped human society for centuries now. They have a chance to start anew as the ultimate evolved species. They had Jenner, who according to the Leemhuis stories, was a victim of being under the influence of a malignant force that transformed him from a decent father figure to a madman wanting to bring the rats to ruin, but Jenner is gone and the situation that caused him to be the way he is was solved. If I did have one thing to point out, it's that the other rats in the council chamber who were on Jenner's side weren't addressed in any of the stories, specifically in the chapter in which the rat and mice couple were being targeted. However, I'm not gonna go into logical inconsistencies, this is about the social-economic context that houses this world.
The goddess figure I mentioned before targeted the mice and rats and most of their predicaments were caused by interference by her and other god, Pharsal. The disappearance of the male mouse from his bride? Caused by the goddess. Them coming to the new dimension? Caused by a goddess. Jenner becoming evil? Caused by an action by the god getting the material for the magical amulet. Almost everything that happens to these characters has been dictated to them by fate. They question being used as experiments without their knowledge...at one point the male mouse questions why the goddess didn't appear to him and ask him to bear the burden of giving out and the answer given isn't much different to why someone like Jesus doesn't tell his disciples his secrets..."If you knew, would you still be the person you are? Would you still believe in me?"
There's a lack of trust between goddess and her subjects. Their free will isn't entirely taken away, they still can reject and argue with the goddess after all, but their fates seem to be predetermined for them an interesting dynamic. The human character that they talked to went through a divorce, is suffering and aimless when first contact happens. As humans, our society is dictated not by a goddess, but through our own actions, but the irony is we're not 100% in control of our actions.
When I came to these forums in 2011(?) I was a jerk. I was lonely, aimless, bored, and nihilistic. My fate was not determined by a goddess, it was determined through events in my life and how I perceived them. I wasn't 100% in control of my life and I knew it back then, but I couldn't articulate or figure that out. Now I realize that the events in my life led me in the direction I am now. I became more aware of how I became how I am and the responsibility I have to better myself. Now I'm happier, wiser, and more efficient. My demons influencing me were about how I was different from everyone else, but couldn't communicate how or why that is. I have Autism as I mentioned before on these forums and was diagnosed late. My life was full of me not being able to perceive the world correctly and it ended up costing me as a result.
We all have a responsibility despite not being in 100% control in our lives. At the end of OOTM, the goddess takes away the memories of her ever being in contact with the Freethorn colony from the mice and rats themselves. With her reasoning being:
“I have found…that the existence of such entities has little bearing on whether or not the people believe in them. It would appear to be an inborn tendency, little different than the instinct for self-preservation. But where there are these beliefs, there will invariably come with them disagreements on how these beings should be worshiped, with each side unwavering in its beliefs and only a relative few individuals willing to bridge the gap. And just as invariably, there will come rivalries, unreasoning hatreds, grudges held for generations, even outright war.”
With more knowledge comes more responsibility on how to handle that knowledge. We've seen history rife with imperialism and violence. Bigotry and malice. Of chosen ones and saviors and people being killed in the name of them. Maybe it was time for the mice and rats to live in ignorance of such things. They have already developed a society based around love. The way they achieved long life was through the intimacy of a mouse either by mouth or sexually. Should they bare the burden of having their perfect world brought to them outside their whims?
As a Buddhist, I believe part of suffering is not knowing how we're suffering and blaming things and people for our predicament, rather than suffering itself. We'll blame everything but the root cause of our suffering, which ironically causes more suffering. That combined with the fact that we can't control our environment and what other people do can be scary to live with.
There's something alluring, something great about unconditional love and trust. It can also be frightening in itself. That we lose a part of our humanity, the side that causes suffering, to it is both great and frightening. Likewise, there's something brilliant about OOTM and the Leemhuis fanfiction saga that I didn't see before. Love is the key and you can unlock any door if you only have the key. What's behind that door is something great, something we should achieve. The absence of suffering and the beginning of unconditional love.