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Schoepenhauer Awards / April 27, 2010

box jellyfish exiledonline

As we explained in our last issue, the eXile has created this new feature, the Schopenhauer Award, to serve the spiritual needs of our readers. Concerned that some of you might be backsliding from pure Nihilism, we’ve come up with a dramatic way to remind you what the world is really like. Each week we’ll introduce you to one of your fellow denizens of Slaveship Earth — the kind of critters you might try not to think about, left to your own devices. We feel sure that after meeting the hideous chunks of venomous, parasitic protoplasm sharing this world with you, you’ll be ready to agree with our Patron Saint, Arthur Schopenhauer, that, “unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, then our existence must have no object whatever.” Here to remind you of that bedrock truth is our second Schopenhauer Award nominee…

Flecker’s Box Jellyfish

Right now, billions of these perfect killing machines are floating through the tropical oceans. Like all box jellyfish, this one is virtually invisible in the water: its “bell” is nothing but a squat mound of transparent protoplasm with four simple eyes, one on each side. You can see right through the creature’s head, so you can see at a glance it has nothing even resembling a brain. It doesn’t need a brain. It has something better: a set of sixty tentacles two meters long. These tentacles are longer and more lethal than those of any other box jelly. They’re normally light blue, which means that when the animal is floating in the current they’re almost impossible to see. Besides, the Flecker’s box jelly prefers muddy water, giving it even better camouflage. It’s particularly fond of shorelines, and most of its victims are little children who are playing or wading.

When a child stumbles into the creature’s tentacles, they do what they were designed to do. Each animal has five billion stinging cells, and as soon as those cells come into contact with another animal — say, the ankle of a wading child — they fire.

This creature’s venom is 200 times more powerful than that of any other box jelly. And this venom is almost miraculous in its effect. For starters, it attacks the skin where the tentacle brushed the victim’s body. So the first thing a child who’s been stung will notice is agonizing pain, as if a red-hot wire had been drawn across the skin. If the victim survives, there will be severe permanent scarring wherever the tentacle touched. But usually the victim won’t survive, because after eating away the skin, the venom goes after the blood vessels. Travelling down the veins and arteries, it sizzles them until the victim’s innards are nothing but a mass of bloody, disorganized flesh. But that’s only the warm-up. The venom, after spreading throughout the victim’s body, triggers muscle spasms so violent that the heart — and remember, kids, the heart’s just a muscle! — finally seizes up and stops, like an overheated Plymouth.

By this point the victim, who is usually a village kid just looking for some fish to feed his family, is probably glad to die. The whole process can happen in a few minutes, so that many victims, especially children, die before any aid arrives. There you have it: a perfect picture of life on dear old Earth: a child dying in agony on a warm beach simply because it happened to brush the tentacle of a mindless lump of shrimp-hunting nightmare.

schopenh

“My name is Arthur Schopenhauer, and I approve of this award.”

The Flecker’s box jelly is known to have killed at least 70 people in Australia. No one knows how many have died in other areas of its range, especially New Guinea. Those people don’t get much publicity when they die. And tourists who like to dream about being chomped by a crocodile or a shark somehow don’t like even thinking about Flecker’s box jelly, even though it’s a lot more likely to kill them. It’s just not very romantic.

So if any of you believers run into Jesus, ask him why his dad made the Flecker’s box jelly. And if any of you secular humanists run into…oh, say Voltaire, or Gandhi…well, you just ask them the same thing. And if you happen to run into Tolstoy — wait, come to think of it, don’t ask him anything. Just tie him to a rope and drag him behind a boat along the shoreline of Northern Queensland during Monsoon season, when the Flecker’s box jellies flock to the beaches. He’ll have an epiphany you can hear for miles.

This article first appeared in The eXile on March 3, 2003. Click here to read the first Schopenhauer Award winner.

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19 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. obit anus  |  April 27th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    “The systematic connectedness which we believe to have apprehended in the events of our lives is no more than an unconscious effect of our regulative and schematising fantasy.”
    -A. Schopenhauer

  • 2. pops  |  April 28th, 2010 at 1:15 am

    So I’ve learned a couple of things so far with these awards

    1. Stay the f@&k out of Oceans, lakes, rivers etc..

    2. Stay the f@&k away from Australia.

    BTW I just came across your site recently. It’s great, I’m already hooked. You’re timing on the box jellyfish is perfect. Yahoo just had this article today:

    http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/93616?fp=1

    The article doesn’t mention whether it was a Flecker’s Box Jelly.

  • 3. pops  |  April 28th, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Sorry about that link. I noticed afterward that you guy’s have a better article off to the right>. with photos. Is it weird that I think the burn marks look kinda cool? I saw a woman on Montel or some other talk show years ago, and she had scars from a jellyfish attack and I remember thinking they looked alot cooler than any tattoo or branding.

  • 4. Baybars  |  April 28th, 2010 at 2:59 am

    So suffering makes you doubt the purpose of life? Just found out that the point of human existence isn’t eating bon-bons and watching Oprah? No wonder the West is getting its ass kicked by more mature civs who choose meaning over happiness.

  • 5. captain america  |  April 28th, 2010 at 4:45 am

    there is a particularly dangerous species of jellyfish off the coast of australia. therefore, there is no god.

  • 6. Diet Coke  |  April 28th, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I thought we built a civilization to get away from all this nightmarish crap.

  • 7. Connors  |  April 28th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    There’s a Wodehouse character – a young girl, no less – who says this in I think it’s ‘Summer Lightning’:

    ‘Schopenhauer says that all the suffering in the world can’t be mere chance. Must be meant. He says life’s a mixture of suffering and boredom. You’ve got to have one or the other. His stuff’s full of snappy cracks like that. You’d enjoy it . . . Schopenhauer says suicide’s absolutely O.K. He says Hindoos do it instead of going to church. They bung themselves into the Ganges and get eaten by crocodiles and call it a well-spent day. Schopenhauer says we are like lambs in a field, disporting themselves under the eye of the butcher, who chooses first one and then another for his prey. Sure you won’t go for a walk?’

  • 8. Norm  |  April 28th, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    This Schopenhauer dude sounds like he’s got it together.

  • 9. geo8rge  |  April 29th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Gonorrhea seems to have out thunk its chief tormentor and defeated the last of mans silly antibiotics. The Jellyfish just got lucky on that poison. Gonorrhea’s got skill not luck.

    Australia, Hong Kong and Japan have reported treatment failures with cephalosporin, so be careful out there.

  • 10. Hon Kee Mufo  |  April 29th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Baybars–like who? The Muslims with their submission to an imaginary creator god? How innovative! Or maybe you mean China: an entire nation of petulant and plutophiliac children?

    The West is fucking terrible, but it’s still the best.

  • 11. Eren  |  April 29th, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Well said, Baybars. A life spent pursuing hedonistic desires obviously has no meaning; its strange to watch how disillusioned Westerners are becoming as a result of this.

  • 12. John Ivan  |  April 30th, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Baybars: hats down for your statement. Short, sweet and true so much that it’s sickening.

    Hon Kee Mufo: *best* at what? The West is like The Roman Empire once: slavery, hedonism, ‘democracy’, conquering. Yet they are no more. OTOH, Muslims and China are still here.

  • 13. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 1st, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    “Right now, billions of these perfect killing machines are floating through the tropical oceans…”

    And yet all of these killer jellyfish PUT TOGETHER do not represent even ONE-BILLIONTH of the threat to human life that a SINGLE vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity represents.

    Just some food for thought there.

  • 14. Scared to death  |  May 3rd, 2010 at 8:15 am

    The comments are more horrifying than the box jellyfish.

  • 15. Andrew not the Saint  |  May 3rd, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    “The comments are more horrifying than the box jellyfish.”

    But not more horrifying than the comments on the comments. Or the comments on the comments on the comments.

  • 16. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 4th, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    We need some BALANCED reporting here; how about printing the jellyfishes’ response to all these allegations?

  • 17. Jyp  |  May 4th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    The jellyfish response? “We are doing God’s work.”

    Oh. No, that was Lloyd Blankfein.

    Incidently, you know who Blankfein looks like? Remember that movie “Beyond The Thunderdome”? “Auntie” had this mean little bald thug working for her.. “Ironhand”. Yeah, that’s the guy. Deep politico-economic question: who is Jellyfish Ironhand actually working for?

  • 18. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 5th, 2010 at 11:52 am

    “..who is Jellyfish Ironhand actually working for?”

    The loan sharks!

  • 19. Bill Rush  |  May 8th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    God sez: I created the Jellyfish to give the poets something to write about.


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