Friday, April 15, 2016

The Techs - The Newest Culture

              Throughout my career as a journalist, I have happened across many interesting sights, smells and experiences that have enriched my life. However, the most refreshing was my visit to the isolated island of Router. I had the pleasure of meeting the fascinating people who call themselves the “Techs”. Curt in talk but cordial in nature, they eagerly introduced me to their religion and as a student of the world, I listened.
                One aspect of the Tech people’s religion is their scripture. Written in the special language of Binary, they write repetitive symbols resembling the ones and zeroes of the English language. How close the symbols are to one another form complex messages. The sacred text of the Techs includes the myth of the deity Da Inn Ternet, the god of knowledge. It is believed that Da Inn Ternet was the entity responsible for gifting the Techs with the ability to stop thinking by providing them with his own knowledge. This led to the Techs’ ability to create an easier life for themselves. According to the scripture, the Techs would have been completely hopeless without Da Inn Ternet.  In lieu of this concept, the Techs have dedicate a holy period to Da Inn Ternet called “Ev Ree” day. In this day, Techs are to do absolutely nothing except to give thanks to Da Inn Ternet.
I also learned about rituals. Since the religion lacks sacred worshiping grounds such as temples, they make up for it through frequency of rituals. One that was constantly performed during my stay required the aid of a square digital apparatus they called “Tee Vee”. The Tee Vee is a symbol of the amazing knowledge bestowed on the Techs by Da Inn Ternet. This ritual was commonly performed with company, usually an entire family unit. Potato chips and sodas are the sacred food brought to the ceremony. Despite eating and drinking—the means of demonstrating happiness for Da Inn Ternet—the ritual is otherwise performed wordlessly. I once tried to comment on the marksmanship for the Tee Vee, but I was hushed and glared at before devoted eyes swung to the apparatus once more. The Tee Vee ritual was the most common but also the most lengthy, resulting in hours upon hours of intense staring and mindless eating.
One of the most important parts of a budding Tech’s life is the rite of passage. This rite is commonly initiated when a young girl or boy gains a significant amount of weight as a result from the Tee Vee ritual. Seen as the ultimate sign of devotion from a child, the young one is ready to demonstrate a trial of adulthood. He or she is placed into a chair and given a test: to sit for an entire month and do nothing else except watching Tee Vee. The parents of the child will occasionally check in during this time and must refill the child’s desires of potato chips and soda at request. When the time is over, the parents embrace their child and celebrate with an extra dose of high-calorie foods. This rite of passage is commonly ended when eye drops are administered to soothe strained eyes from the Tee Vee ritual.
Magic is also a great part of a Tech’s life. Using miniature devices of Tee Vees called Labb Topse, Da Inn Ternet is summoned through elaborate displays of screen-staring and finger tapping on the surface of the devices. A Tech is then able to inquire Da Inn Ternet about anything his or her heart desires. I was urged to be a part of this magic and despite my initial trepidation, I decided to give it a try. I asked a question I knew the answer to as a test. To my great surprise, Da Inn Ternet correctly answered how many planets exist in our solar system and even elaborated on specifics about pluto being a dwarf planet. I came to find that Da Inn Ternet was a very wise entity indeed. It became apparent how Da Inn Ternet gifted his people with the luxury to not think anymore through his large expanse of knowledge and information.
There are no priests but the powerful religious specialist of the Techs are respectfully titled “IT Guye”. Whenever the magical portal to Da Inn Ternet is severed with the demise of a Labb Topse, the IT Guye uses special magical knowledge to reconnect the spiritual and physical world once more. The family unit then bestows the IT Guye with gifts of gratitude, usually entailing a hefty sum of potato chips and soda. The IT Guye gratefully accepts and heads home to perform his own ritual of appreciation through a lengthy Tee Vee ritual.
Although Techs dutifully worship the entire span of their lives, they have great excitement for the afterlife. According to the scripture, the ultimate goal of a Tech is to waste enough time to earn the ultimate respect from Da Inn Ternet. The entrance to the afterlife is a symbol of having repayed Da Inn Ternet’s great gift of knowledge by living a long life of obedient worship and sluggish mind.
A last important element of the Tech religion that I should mention are the taboos. As an ignorant visitor, I was fiercely chastised for talking about my travels. I didn’t realize until later that it is an abhorrent sin to talk about any part of your life without mentioning Da Inn Ternet. The one note of comfort I will add is that the Techs are so absorbed in the Labb Topse and Tee Vee rituals that they rarely resort to violence other than a disgruntled stare.
Because of my thought-provoking time in the island of Router and the wonderful Techs that reside there, I recommend travelers to visit. There is nothing more eye-opening than learning about a new people and culture. However much I greatly value my ability to think, I have only great things to credit the Techs, including my new and broadened perspective of the world around me. It is with confidence that I say that my experience with the Techs is one I will carry with me for the rest of my life. And hopefully in time, other travelers will be able to say the same.

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