The Myth Of The Different Man From The Antiquity To The Present

The different man exhibits both what is permanent in the human spirit and the changes occurring throughout History. Tell me who your different man is and I will tell you who you are.I A DESCRIPTION OF THE DIFFERENT MAN A Key Concept: Radical Otherness Man does not move forward alone on the road of history. He is accompanied by a carnival crowd, out of which amazingly diverse masques can be distinguished. Big, hairy savage men, side by side with frail aliens from Mars, with spiritualized faces. Human beings with dog heads speak (barking) to characters without a head, their faces drawn on their chests. A diversity that does not exclude a certain degree of a family atmosphere. Behind the masques the same human essence is to be surmised: it is the different Man in his numberless incarnations. There is nothing as permanent and as obsessive as the image of the Other. We are all different, each by comparison to his fellow men. The Other, his image, his images are omnipresent, part of a network that unites and singles out all the actors of the human adventure at the same time. The different Man participates in this game, which is as old as mankind. However, his position is special, because here we must tell the difference between two fundamental images of the Other: one which is close and familiar, the other, which is distant and foreign, that is between two types of contrast: ordinary and radical. The former is customary and, briefly put, common. It places emphasis-by simplification and amplification-on a multitude of biological and cultural traits that undoubtedly belong to the human species. Woman versus man, Chinese man versus European man, wandering man versus sedentary man, peasant versus city dweller, healthy man versus sick man, proletarian versus bourgeois, engineer versus poet: the similarity-difference game, with an infinite number of variations, is well rooted in the mind of man and in the heart of the society. But, from woman to savage man, or from a Chinese to an alien from Mars, the distance is considerable and essential. The gap separating a being made of flesh and bones from a fantasy, or at least a character whose existence is uncertain, means a transition from the ordinary to the radical otherness, the latter being characteristic of the different Man. To be able to conceive of this character with a thousand faces, or sometimes even without a face, it is mandatory to travel to the boundaries of the human perimeter and even beyond them, to penetrate into an area with fuzzy borders, where the generally accepted norms of the human condition are permanently transgressed. The radical contrast is based, therefore, on the alleged existence of human species that are different from the normal human species. The two terms of the phrase "different man" or "different human being" are equally powerful: human being, but different; different, but human being. Although the two types of contrasts are at a great distance from each other, in separate regions of the Universe and of the spirit, there is no clear-cut or definitive border line separating them. A contact zone is contoured and the border line lies where people want it to lie. It is incessantly on the move, being extremely sensitive to the evolution of mentalities, ideologies, projects, dreams, expressed by each epoch and each civilization. Who would dare to ascribe today to the "black race" the traits of a radical otherness? But not long ago-in the 18th and the 19th centuries-the Black man was considered, in all honesty, a being situated half-way between man and animals. Biologically, he has not changed from one century to another; the border line has moved. As far as the Other is concerned, the imaginary is always there. In the case of ordinary otherness, the image implies an interpretation, more or less distorted, of a certain biological, historical, and cultural reality. Radical otherness goes much further: it constructs without any material support or, at best, it uses the existing matter just as a pretext. This means the different Man completely belongs to the imaginary world. He is created by man, a permanent emanation of his mind, coming from an endless confrontation with the gods of nature, from an obstinate struggle to improve the creation. Or to re-create it entirely. This is the Promethean side of man, expressing itself by way of the different man. If the real world is compared to the imaginary world, it is necessary to accept the idea that man has every right to be proud. His gallery of different beings is fabulously rich and the fantasy underlying it dwarfs the factory-like products of the "real" universe. By way of the Others, man retaliates, re-invents himself, ascribing to himself a multitude of faces and souls, new lives and new experiences. Fantasies? No question about it, but fantasies that are in no way less powerful and binding than the manifestations of the "concrete" world. Man equally depends on the heaviness of matter and on the ethereal products of his own mind. The factory that makes different men has been functioning on a permanent basis for millennia. It can present a catalogue well loaded with good-old, tried manufacturing recipes. There are four major methodologies, each diversified into a multitude of variants, and closely linked with the others. Their object is the body, the spirit, the behavior and, finally, the social mechanism of different humanities. Monster Laboratory Action on the body, on anatomy and on physiology takes us to a genuine "pleasure dome," where the products of a biological manipulation that has been going on for centuries are gathered. A luring game, which is permanently played in all epochs and by all cultures. A first procedure has to do with size, normal man being flanked by a progression of giants and, on the other side, by a descending line of dwarfs. A strange drawing inserted in the Mundus subterraneus, a book published in 1665 by scientist Athanasius Kirscher (1601-1680), makes it unnecessary for us to make comments about giant humans. Five human beings are represented, solely individualized by their stature. The tallest one is reconstructed from a flabbergasting discovery: in 1401, bones attributed to a man about one hundred meters tall were discovered in a cave in Sicily. The second character has a more modest height: about thirty meters, the third-twenty-three meters, and the fourth, none other than Goliath himself, looked like a pygmy among his kind, with his height of a little over three meters. The fifth silhouette is so insignificant, that it is difficult to perceive it: man. Dwarfism is even more frequent and diversified than gigantism. Pygmies of exotic lands, European dwarfs hiding in the mountains, the Lilliputians imagined by Swift, little green men from Mars, contemporary environmentalist elves: the list seems endless. The first to come, the pygmies, became very famous in literature, receiving their peerage from Homer himself. The great Greek poet established an image that was to return over and over again: these little but valiant characters fight against the she-cranes who spread terror and death among the pygmies, upon whom they come from the midst of the air (The Iliad, Book III). As far as their height is concerned, these creatures were around sixty-six centimeters tall. That was the standard height for dwarfs, although there were enough exceptional cases, either up or down. The second procedure acts on various parts of the body. A long series of human caricatures, from the most inconspicuous to the most exaggerated ones, comes from this line. The ears prove to be miraculously elastic: once the good size is reached, the beneficiary can use them to relax or to sleep, one serving as a sheet and the other as a blanket. Hypertrophy is sometimes associated with a lack or a surplus of organs. The "sciapodes" have only one leg, but what a leg! With an enormous foot, this leg allows them to break all speed records and find shelter any time. Lying on their back, with their leg in a perpendicular position, they turn this leg into an umbrella, to protect them from sun or rain. Man generally has two eyes. But if he is different, he can have only one eye, like the Cyclops, who are also giants, therefore having two symptoms of radical otherness. In opposition to these, other human creatures have additional eyes, four or even more. Two heads are sometimes presented on the same body, but, some other times, one single head is drawn like a sketch: without any eyes, without a nose, without a mouth, without lips. The most famous case is that of the "blemmies," men without heads, having their eyes on their shoulders and their month cut in their chest. In most cases, different species are bisexual, but sometimes the Other is tempted by hermaphroditism. So, an ancient myth re-emerges: the dream of an original state, when the opposites were not yet dissociated and the primordial wholeness still reigned; in his essay Méphistophélès et l'Androgyne (1962), Mircea Eliade describes how this formula of plenitude seduced the most diverse epochs and cultures. A state before history, but always present in certain communities of different men. "And, in another island, there are people who are both man and woman, they have one breast on one side and they do not have a breast on the other side, they have both the genitals of man and woman, and they use them as they want, either one or the other; they beget children when they acts as males and, when they act as females, they conceive and bear those children." This is a description by Jean de Mandeville, a person with an uncertain biography, in Voyage autour de la Terre, written in 1356. His work-which was a best-seller in his time-summed up and sometimes amplified the traditional vision, established during the Antiquity and the Middle Ages, of an Earth sheltering thousands of different human species. A key text we will come back to. So far, nothing but distortions of a familiar wrapping. But sometimes borders disappear, taboos fall and human nature is melted with life forms that are very different. There is either promotion, toward gods, or regression, toward the animal or the vegetal world, the two tendencies being sometimes associated. The goat-man, the Satyr, is also a demigod. The mermaid is a bird-woman or a fish-woman, but her mystery transcends the mere biological melange. The werewolf is a man-wolf but, most of all, he is the terrifying expression of a close beyond, of night, and of death. At a lower level, we find "common," biological, rather than metaphysical combinations. Almost all species are prone to weird marriages. It looks like a beast is asleep in each and every one of us. Among the traditional representations of this type, men with a dog head or tail, called "cynocephalics," are at the top of the list. For a short characterization, let us return to Mandeville's text: "All men and women on that island have dog heads and they are called 'cynocephalics.' These people have reason and much intelligence. They walk around naked, only wearing a little cloth covering their knees and their secret organ. They are tall, strong and good warriors. They wear huge shields, covering their entire body, and hold spears in their hands. If they capture a man in battle, they eat him." In fact, man and dog have participated for a long time in a common history and they are tied by an incontestable mutual attraction. So it is perfectly natural to imagine "transfers" from one species to another. But the club is anything but exclusive. Even the species further away from man are accepted into the game, like fish, for instance. Let us open the book of wonders from India, an Arab anthology of the 10th century, which brings together stories considered authentic, told by travelers and sailors. After abundant fishing, here is the description of an unforgettable dinner: "a course of various pieces of cooked meat, with heads, hands, legs that looked very much like heads, hands and legs of young boys." Fish, human beings? Anyway, this is the result of a crossing. "Here," an inhabitant of the island in question explains, "men often mate with female animals of the sea and women are given to the males. Of this mating, beings are born, who partake both of their father and their mother's nature. We have become capable of living for a long time either on land or in the sea, being both human and fish." There is also the melodramatic story of a fish-woman, who became the slave and wife of an Arab merchant. Six children were born of this union. The man kept her chained, because otherwise, she would have obeyed the call of the sea. After the husband's death, his sons respectfully untie her. She takes advantage of the situation and jumps into the sea, disappearing for ever. The vegetal world makes an additional contribution to this biological confusion. The accomplished expression of this type of a melange is the famous "wac-wac" tree, originating from a Muslim species. Its fruit-according to different variants-are either heads, always available for a conversation, or little babies, or birds, or sheep. Sometimes, even charming maidens, whose legs ripen in March, whose head ripens in May, and who fall in June. In a more recent epoch, namely from the 18th century on, the melting and the intermediary species found their raison d'être in the transformative and evolutionist view. Biological imagination was channeled by science, but it was also guaranteed and amplified by the same. Nothing is impossible in an infinite Universe and along an infinite time. The different Man inhabits our space and has appropriated the future to himself; he is, perhaps, our descendant, that is all. His metamorphoses had to be tuned to the evolution of sciences and ideologies and to the new dreams of the technological age. Therefore, for some time now, huge heads have been preferred to large ears or to other sorts of caricatures, because it is obvious that a more evolved man on another planet today, or on the Earth tomorrow, had to have a considerably large brain. The flying man became a symbolic character, especially in the 19th century, at a time when there was a temptation to conquer the heavens, and outer space later on; to a certain extent, this flying man looks like a bat, whose wings became a model for man. The dog-heads have disappeared; today it seems more interesting to work on the mere dog-or on other animals-to raise them to man's level and even higher, as in City, a novel by Clifford J. Simak (1952). The evolutionist view and, more recently, the attraction exercised by mutants, animals, or humans, offer infinite biological possibilities, going much further than the limited varieties of the traditional biological imagination. We must also add the production of artificial men. The Frankenstein creature (1818) imagined by Mary Shelley (1797-1851) is familiar, despite his beastly monstrosity, but what about the man built about a hundred years later, by Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950)? He is nothing but an enormous brain, installed in "some kind of a little tower made of reinforced concrete, with a diameter of some twelve meters. A multitude of tubes made of metal, glass and something like ebonite transport blood and chemical substances throughout his system" (Last and First Men, 1930). Very diverse projects, but all gathered around one fundamental axis, linking the distant past to the distant future, our ancestors, just coming out of the animal status, to men-gods, who will inhabit galaxies. The Yeti and the alien are now two opposed characters, but they are inseparable from the evolutionist ideology, which is expressed by way of the different man. Also, it is possible to play with the composition of the body. Most different men are beings made of flesh. But there are creatures who, even if they are not intelligent humans, are built on a vegetable basis, like our friends the "wac-wac," mentioned above, followed by more recent beings, who play with the opportunities offered by evolutionism. Further, always further, the mineral world may offer surprises; J.H. Rosney, Sr. (1856-1940) proposed a double solution: the Xipehuz, who precede man, and the Ferromagnets, who will replace him. Following this story line, we are just a flesh "parenthesis" in a world dominated by the mineral. Finally, the most advanced stage is illustrated by immaterial beings, like the very distressful Horla imagined by Maupassant. A last significant trait of biological contrast has to do with vital functions. The physiology of the different man varies from one species to another. He can feed himself differently; sometimes he does not feed himself at all. Often enough, he is healthier than us, not knowing disease. His life expectancy varies widely. The individuals of a certain species only live for a few years. This is the case of the pygmies, who were thought to live for a very short time, due to an analogy to their height. "They get married at the age of six months, have children when they are two or three years old, and only live for six or seven years." (Mandeville). By opposition, other species -- past, present, and future -- live for an impressively long time: hundreds or thousands of years. Taoism, a Chinese religion founded by Laotzu, is characterized by a strong obsession with a long life. It counts on a-one-thousand-year life expectancy. Among the envisaged methods, breath control was the favorite. In India, Yoga had a similar purpose. According to Marco Polo, those who practiced Yoga lived up to a hundred and fifty or two hundred and fifty years, or even three hundred and fifty years, according to an Arab source. Modern science has taken up this archetype and has even amplified its potential, with the help of biological evolutionism. According to Stapledon, the last human species, who will live about two billion years from now, will have a life expectancy of a hundred and fifty thousand years. Longevity-often associated to the spiritualization of the being, to sainthood-may be a stage, something like an apprenticeship on the road to immortality: this is exactly the case of Taoism and Yoga. But the islands or other privileged spaces where immortals live are often beyond. To reach immortality, man must first go through death. From Sub-Humans to Super-Humans Different body, different spirit. The psychic, intellectual and moral traits of the Other vary over a very wide range. The entire space is divided in a detailed manner; there is no continuity solution from beasts to gods. From sub-humans to super-humans, each degree of awareness, intelligence, spiritual force, comprehension of the world is materialized in an infinite range of creatures. A deeply rooted opinion establishes a link between physical qualities or defects and those of the spirit. Ugliness or handicap are often considered signs of an inferior or tortuous spirit. This link is, of course, convenient to the normal humanity, which is obviously ours. But a different approach also exists, and sometimes human caricatures are more successful when it comes to intelligence and morality that the prototype of beauty. This proves man is always torn between a feeling of superiority and an inferiority complex. For this, it is very educational to study the judgment passed on the animal species, including on their presence in certain biological syntheses. Usually, people think the traits that bring the different man closer to the beast are signs of a sub-human condition. This is the case of the Yeti and other savage men, identifiable by their hairy bodies. The argument used for a long time in favor of the blacks' inferiority was based on their alleged monkey-like aspect. Anyway, this is the arrogance of a culture built on the nature-nurture antithesis. Archaic societies had a very different opinion about the animal, to whom they ascribed qualities humans do hot have, or no longer have: intuition, clairvoyance, knowledge of the hidden mechanisms of the world. In many ways, the animal was closer to the gods than to man; people tried to understand it, to decipher and follow its signals. The animal-man or the humanized animal, far from being crude, was placed in an area of the spirit that exceeded the limited condition of the human intelligence. It would be ridiculous to consider the mermaids as nothing more than fish-women. They offered to Ulysses what no human being could propose to him: harmony and knowledge. The only required condition: death, because this degree of perfection was not destined to living men. The progressive separation of civilization from the environment, the religious perspective (the animal does not have a soul) and the rationalist view (the animal does not have reason, either) have contributed to discredit this alternative formula. Only in recent times do we notice a certain change of attitude. The discovery of the dolphins' intelligence is part of this change; does the dolphin belong to the category of the Others? Modern man has changed his means, but not his objectives. He has abandoned the line of the beasts, preferring reason to intuition, a scientific approach to direct knowledge. But he is still trying to get out of the narrow prison that limits his spiritual and intellectual capacities. He understands many things and will understand more, but he knows he will never understand anything of the essence. The different Man is summoned to help, to break the walls and build a bridge between the human and the universal reason. Man wishes not only to understand, but also to take action. Unfortunately, he is a prisoner; imprisoned by his intellectual mediocrity, by matter, by time, by history. He has to liberate his spirit, to get control over his own body, over material realities, over space and time. Telepathy, clairvoyance, capacity to egress the flesh envelope, time travels, space travels, traveling to the world beyond -- these are some of the projects most frequently experimented with the Others as intermediaries. United, these qualities and actions would make man an omniscient and omnipotent being. Weird Mores: Nudism, Cannibalism and Women Who Exploit Their Husbands The third criterion: habits and behavior. The human condition is confined by taboos. If taboos are transgressed, man comes close to beasts or to gods. In this respect, food and sex are, in all cultures, subjected to very strict regulations. As a general rule, incest is banned. Promiscuity and sexual disorder are condemned, according to norms that differ, but which are always in place. Eating raw meat is considered not altogether human. But to refuse meat and only eat vegetables is not very human, either. The worst thing, of course, is to eat one's fellows. Anthropophagy has for a long time been one of the most striking signs of otherness, feeding a very persistent and apparently very luring myth. Despite the fact that pure cannibalism, as a habitual form of nourishment, has never existed, certain communities have been called cannibal by definition, by essence. Very often, anthropophagy and incest go hand in hand, illustrating total disorder, the ultimate moral otherness. For example, there are the Irish, people who are "even more savage than the British. They are anthropophagous and vegetarian at the same time and it is a virtue for children to devour their father after his death. Men mate with any woman they see, even their mother and their sister." We must make it clear that those are not contemporary Irish people, but their Ancient ancestors and Strabo, the great Greek geographer of the first century B.C., is responsible for this piece of information. Nudity raises a more complex issue. It is obvious that, for any civilized man, therefore a man wearing clothes, nudism, illustrating nature in opposition to culture, is considered a sign of contrast. But to what extent? The classic Antiquity seems to have placed moderate emphasis on this trait. Unlike it, in the Bible, the difference is fundamental. Before the sin, Adam and Eve are represented naked, but, afterwards, they wear clothes. Therefore, a community practicing nudity places itself out of History. The religious education and a very strict moral rigor ended up-in the late Middle Ages-by ascribing to nudity the traits of a profound otherness. The naked body became an obsession associated with sexual promiscuity and cannibalism: "In that land," Mandeville tells his story, "it is very hot and the custom is that men and women walk around naked and they make fun when they see anybody wearing clothes. No woman is married, but all women of the land are commonly possessed and they reject no man." Common possession of women, common possession of land. "Equally, the land is common property in its entirety; a man possesses it for one year, another man for another year, and each takes the tract he wants. So, everyone is as rich as his neighbor." "But they have an ugly custom, they prefer to eat human flesh rather than any other meat. Merchants go there to sell children to the locals, who buy them. If they are fat, they eat them on the spot, if they are thin, they fatten them and say this is the sweetest meat on earth." This little paragraph is almost perfect. Nudism, communism, cannibalism, obviously the world turned upside down. This nudity-sexual freedom-cannibalism relationship endured until the beginning of the modern epoch, although the first element of the triad was somehow valorized during the Renaissance. The influence of the ancient art, the return to the classic vision of bodily perfection, the honorable return of the myth of the Golden Age, everything contributed to a partial rehabilitation of nudity. It could be interpreted at the same time as a sign of inferiority, namely of an animal status, or, to the contrary, as a manifestation of man's natural condition, in contrast with the corrupting influence of civilization. The people of the Renaissance had broad ideas. But the bourgeois morality that took over in the next centuries did not help any. If the garment made the man, its absence necessarily made the different man. At a time when the sight of an ankle was an event, integral nudity was considered evil from the social point of view. The naked man was kept for a long time at the margin of mankind, in an area where all vices were allowed and put into practice. A civilized man had to dress adequately. It was only in the 20th century that the naked body was again valorized and finally became habitual. Although sexual confusion is perceived as a serious sign of otherness, this does not mean that the segregation of the sexes is closer to normality. One-sex societies are naturally part of the category of fabulous peoples. There are, for instance, lands and, most of all, islands exclusively inhabited by men or women, preferably situated close to each other, to facilitate the periodical encounters that are absolutely necessary for the survival of the species. There is also the most famous case of the Amazons, warrior women placed by the ancients in Asia Minor before the Trojan War. They mated with inhabitants of the neighboring lands, kept their young daughters and got rid of the boys, to preserve the exclusively feminine character of the community. According to another version of the myth, men were accepted, but on what conditions! Diodorus Siculus (the first century B.C.) tells us in his Historical Library that the men "were kept in humiliation and slavery." Here are some details about the Amazons in Africa, proving the roles were completely reversed: "It is habitual that women go to the military for a certain period of time, preserving their virginity. When the military service is over, they get close to men to have children; they are law professionals and they are appointed to all public offices. Men spend their entire life at home, like maids with us, and they engage in domestic work alone; they are kept away from the military, from law and from all public office that could give them the idea of overthrowing the women's yoke. After birth, the Amazons hand over the new-born infant to the men, who feed it with milk and other convenient food for its age." This reversal of the normal condition reaches a degree of otherness that is hard to imagine! Which explains why the Amazons are so far away not only in space, but also in time, in a distant early Antiquity, anyway before the Trojan War, before the heroic history. In fact, the African Amazons were destroyed by Hercules at the same time with the Gorgons, feminine monsters who were their adversaries. Their behavior suggested matriarchy, which was discovered and placed in the pre-historic time by certain "feminist" scientists and ideologues, including Engels, in the latter half of the 19th century. This way, the Amazons were rehabilitated and avenged! The erotic relationship between the real human being and the different human being also produces many fantasies. From women possessed by savage men to men abducted by fairies, there is an entire range of different sexual relations, which incessantly stimulate the imagination. We have already seen that contrast is fed by antitheses situated at the two extremes as compared to normality. So, it goes from cannibalism to vegetarianism, and, as cooking is the best expression of the human soul, from beast to saint. There is a beautiful contrasting effect with Herodotus, who describes, not far from the savage, blood-thirsty, i.e. cannibal tribes, the Scythians, a population whose angelic character is unprecedented. These are the "Argippeans" (or the "Arimpheans"): "They live on the fruit of a tree called Pontic. When this fruit is ripe, they squeeze it in a piece of cloth and obtain a black, thick liquid. They take this liquor and drink it mixed with milk. They live all year under a tree. Nobody insults them: people actually consider them sacred. They do not possess any offensive weapon. Their neighbors ask them to arbitrate their differences; and those who take refuge in their land find there an untouchable shelter, where nobody dares attack them." Mandeville knew an island with "good, loyal people, who live straight. They are not vainglorious, envious, lazy, luxury-loving, angry, gluttonous, or full of hatred and they do not do onto others what they would not like to be done onto them. In that island there are no thieves, no murderers, no loose women, no beggars, and nobody gets killed. They are as chaste and live an equally saint life as monks and they fast every day." So many virtues run the risk of turning man into something inhuman. Cannibals and vegetarians, brutes and saints, these different men have nothing in common, except their strange nature, which differentiates them from ordinary man and his very mediocre condition. Golden Age and Utopia This different man takes part in a different social life. He takes us to the core of fictitious societies. They are built around two opposing models. On the one hand, a very permissive formula, even anarchist, where there is no limitation to enjoying life. This is the golden age, invoked by Hesiod and reiterated in many variants. According to the Greek poet, people "lived like gods, their heart was trouble-free, away from suffering and pain; miserable old age did not burden them but, having arms and legs for ever young, they made merry in feasts, far from all misfortune." This archetype was taken over by millennialist ideologies and movements-either religious or secular-which incessantly announce an era of social equality, harmony and happiness, the only difference being that this one is not situated at the beginning, as a golden age, but at the end of History. The noble savage, a character so honored by the philosophers of the Enlightenment, told, in turn, the story of a similar history, transposing to an exotic landscape the innocence and bliss of the primitive times. The second formula is Utopia. This one simply abolishes freedom. The proclaimed purpose-again, happiness-is subordinated to a principle of efficiency. The community, not the individual, is the one that matters. They have to carefully regulate the social mechanism, establishing the place and role given to each individual. To de-structure society or, on the contrary, to strengthen it to reach a hypothetical perfection? A serious debate, where the different man was often called to arbitrate. All mentioned traits are combined into multiple configurations, the biological, intellectual and social data being at various distances from known realities. One of the first examples of a globally different structure is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus in his Historical Library and it has to do with the famous island discovered by Iambulus in the southern Ocean. A different island, first and foremost owing to its paradise-like living conditions: "The inhabitants do not suffer either from heat, or from cold. There is a perpetual autumn there. All year, days are equal to nights. They live in prairies, where they find everything necessary, because the fertility of the land and the temperature produce more fruit than they ever need." In this context, those people are remarkably handsome, their body is graceful and they are almost two meters tall. Their tongue is split, which makes it possible for them to produce every imaginable sound, to speak the language of the birds and to talk to two persons at the same time. They live for a very long time, up to one hundred and fifty years, without diseases, after which they depart from life of their own accord. But "a strict law sentences to death all those crippled or incapacitated." There is no marriage, there is common possession of the women and the children are raised by the community. There is neither jealousy, nor ambition. They live a simple and healthy life. Everything is rigorously regulated, public office as well as private life, including eating. The social system, which is simple and clear, is some sort of communism. Carefree golden age is combined here with the rigors of Utopia. This synthesis brings together a few important motifs that are often reiterated: integration into nature; biological perfection; marvelous talents of the different man; annulment of social contradictions and sexual taboos. Moving Border Where are those different humanities? Just about everywhere, very far or very close to us. Their first vocation, which is always the strongest, is to settle on the outskirts of the world, living along the border line that separates the known from the unknown space. A spatial disposition that is in perfect tuning with the essence of the different man: both human and non-human at the same time, he equally partakes of us and of Other. This marginal position justifies his incessant migration. The boundaries of the world move all the time and the different Man moves along with them. To Homer, the boundaries of the Mediterranean Sea meant the boundaries of the world. Then came the Scythian space, the British Isles, Northern Africa, India. Still farther, a fabulous Middle East nourished the dreams of the late Middle Ages. The southern half of the earth, the famous southern continent, and the islands of the Pacific Ocean were widely open to different humanities at the time of the great discoveries. Farther, always farther. Each position conquered by explorers was lost by the different Man, but he never panicked. His withdrawal was disciplined, step by step. After the southern continent, all that was left was to migrate to outer space. The Moon began to offer shelter. Then Mars, Venus and the other planets. Positions that were to fall in their turn. Last solution: the stars, the galaxies. At least, those will never fall. There is a particular variant of this spatial migration. Rather than jump from one planet to another, some different men went to the lower worlds, infiltrating the bowels of the Earth. A much smaller space than the galactic universe, but one which, well used, proves sufficient to shelter a rich enough variety of biological and social forms.