#ContactForm1 { display: none ! important; }

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Being From Paradise Means You're ... Legless? - a guest post

Let’s suppose, for a moment, that creatures from paradise somehow got stuck in our mortal realm.

The first thing they would most likely notice is the dirt. We’ve got so much of it here that just about every single language named the planet after it. Imagine their disgust at all the diseases, bugs, and weird bacteria crawling around in there.

Or don’t imagine their disgust. They are perfect, after all.

At any rate, dirt is gross. Getting dirt on a creature from paradise would be so utterly terrible, so perverted, so wrong, that the entire universe would grieve for the rest of its existence. This means that these creatures must keep themselves from touching dirt at all costs. It’s the worst case of OCD ever imagined.

The simplest solution for this would be that these creatures would have to be able to fly. This makes sense, since, if there’s no dirt in paradise, then paradise is probably some kind of gas cloud that everyone just floats in.

So, we have creatures that can fly forever without ever touching the ground until they die from homesickness and plummet onto the heads of unobservant children.

What are these creatures, exactly? They won’t be insects, because insects are horribly nasty and no-one in their right mind would ever consider them heavenly, even if they might seem like that after metamorphosis. Bats are completely out of the question, because they come out at night, and things that come out at night are automatically evil.

Which leaves us with birds. Which leaves us with problems.

Birds land often, poop often, and eat things that come out of the ground. The rational thing to decide would be that these creatures from paradise are something entirely different from anything on this planet, like miniature stars or something, but then we would violate the unspoken law of fantastical creatures: No matter how exotic it is, it will always end up looking, at least in part, like something we’re familiar with.

Seriously. Try and find the exception. I have a doorstopper of a book that’s filled with mythological creatures and people and not one of them is so dissimilar from anything anyone’s ever seen that they couldn’t describe it.

In other words, since birds are our best bet, we’re going to just say that these creatures from paradise are birds, just without any unseemly birdish qualities. This method is known as: “It’s like [thing], except [modification]”, or the “I’m not so stupid to make this exactly the same as something you see every day”. It’s guaranteed to add pizazz to any manner of tall tales.

Let’s start with the poop. Out of all the substances that fall from the sky, that one has to be the most annoying and unhygienic, which means that it’s completely out of the question for creatures from paradise. Worse than touching dirt, it’s the internal manufacture of a material with dirt-like connotations. Defilement much? So, no poop, and this can be accomplished in one of two ways:

1) These creatures survive only on air.

2) They eat things of such wonderful purity and have such perfect digestive systems that they actually don’t need to eliminate.

Out of these two, only the first is reasonable, given our body of knowledge. Since everything from this planet that’s edible requires contact with dirt at some point and in some way, there isn’t a single thing here that wouldn’t destroy the qualities we want so terribly to preserve in these creatures from paradise.

Add to that our reasonably accurate theory that paradise is actually a gas cloud, the fact that death of any kind wouldn’t ever happen there due to its paradiseness, and the only conclusion we can come to is that these creatures subsist entirely off of air. We could also tack on perfectly efficient digestive systems, if we really wanted to, but it’s more likely that whatever comes out is perfectly wonderful and probably smells faintly of lavender.

As a bonus, we’ve also taken care of the eating things that come out of the ground part. This just goes to show that if you use Thea Logic (patent pending), you will, at some point or another, end up killing two birds…


Well that was awkward.

If you’re sharp-eyed, you’ll have spotted a problem by now (excellently done, I commend you). I mentioned earlier that these creatures would drop from the sky once they have died, but that conflicts with what I just said in my last argument about death being nonexistent in paradise.

As everything appears, it most likely seems that I created this contradiction by accident but, thanks to Thea Precognition (existence pending), I have really set up the introduction and solution to the problem in the same moment I made my contradiction.

Earth air is not of the same quality as the paradise gas cloud. If it was the same, then paradise would be cozying up to dirt, and we have already established that this kind of thing is most definitely not kosher.

Obviously, this air isn’t dirt and, if you stay high enough, it doesn’t even have dust in it, but the fact that it isn’t paradise means that it is insufficient for the needs of these creatures from paradise. They may live for a very long time, but they will never be able to escape death while stuck here.

Basically, air causes death. Overprotective parents, I would suggest you write this down.

Okay, where was I? Ah, yes: birds land often, causing them to come into contact with dirt. This is most definitely a problem for our prisoners visitors. Thankfully, this problem is the easiest to solve.

You may have noticed that everything with wings also has legs. What you may not have noticed is the reason for having legs (and, by extension, feet). Now, if a part of the body exists on a creature, it must be used for something which means that, if a body part doesn’t exist on a creature, then that creature must not need to do what that body part is used for.

I’m blowing your mind, I know, but follow with me a bit further: if a creature that can fly has legs, then that means that those legs must be used to land, but if legs don’t exist on a creature that can fly, then that creature must not need to do what legs are used for.

If creatures from paradise can fly and don’t have legs, then they must not need to land.

In other words, creatures of paradise can only be birds who live on air, don’t have legs and fly for their entire lives until they die and fall from the heavens, most likely splatting very beautifully once they hit something.

You know, I think I’ve heard of a creature like this before. *gets out doorstopper book* Ah, here!

“Bird of Paradise...

This bird was said to have very colourful plumage but had neither feet nor wings. It would hang from the branch of a tree by its tail feathers.”

Of course, this couldn’t possibly be what we’ve been discussing. Mythology is so full of hearsay that it’s a terrible source of information. Wingless and hanging by its tail feathers? What rubbish.


The Dictionary of Mythology (http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Mythology-Themes-Legends-Heros/dp/0572032226/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1324428150&sr=8-3) -aka, the doorstopper book
Fabulous Creatures, Mythical Monsters, and Animal Power Symbols: A Handbook (http://books.google.ca/books?id=s4AP30k4IFwC&pg=PA63&lpg=PA63&dq=mythical+bird+of+paradise&source=bl&ots=-gYaY0BH8p&sig=YiSbZNMdgXDY-n-MZrkfaFccNnM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=82evT7qDG6eYiQKX15H6Aw&ved=0CGgQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false) -another book
Dave’s Mythical Creatures and Places (http://www.eaudrey.com/myth/birdoparadise.htm) -not a book


Thea van Diepen blogs about writing and life over at Expected Aberrations. She claims to be opinionated, obsesses about her favorite things, and probably a changeling. Someday, she'll return to wherever the heck it is she really came from but, until then, she'll be write books and watch you sleep. No, seriously. And not necessarily in that order.


  1. It sounds like perfect beings must be immortal, they don't need to eat (because they can't die and also, they won't have to poop) and are impervious to disease (see above). So if they're impervious to germs and disease, then is dirt really gross?

    I'm not sure perfect beings have to be able to fly...

    But I really enjoyed this post. :)

    1. Hmmm... that is a good point about diseases. I guess it depends on whether or not perfect beings are vulnerable to corruption. If they are, then they'd have to stay away from everything that could corrupt. If not, then anything goes, really.

      Then again, it could be that what makes dirt on a perfect being so terrible isn't the germs themselves, but the utter imperfectness marring these beings, keeping them from ever being what they once were simply because they can't escape it.

      I have no idea about the food situation. Mythology tends to ignore immortality whenever it's talking about dietary habits. Even the gods in Greek mythology ate food (nectar and ambrosia), but goodness knows why.

      Anyways, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It's fun trying to work out the logic of mythical creatures. :)

  2. Thank you for coming by, Thea! I love this look at paradisaical mythology. :o)

    1. Thanks for having me. I had a ton of fun writing the post. :)

  3. Love the logic! Thanks for letting us all read this. :)TX

  4. I like the logic but want to quibble a bit. I'm assuming that any mythological, perfect creature is being classified as a creature by our standards. Otherwise, it could have the shape of a cloud.

    Granted a bird could fly by gliding and since it would be in paradise then there would be a perfect light breeze for gliding available all the time. However, flying itself, by means of flapping the wings constantly, would burn energy and if the bird existed only on the perfect paradise air, how could it replenish it's energy?

    Of course, it being paradise the air could return energy to the birds. Still, it would make more sense for the creatures to be able to float around and not have to expend any energy. In which case a cloud makes a better form than legless birds with wings.

    Or it could be an amoeba. :P