Moron exposure

Immediate reaction to being exposed to morons, screenshot from City of Heroes. We are obviously not talking about latter-day (or any other) saints here.

In the game City of Heroes there is a science enhancement called “boron exposure”. The logic behind this will be explained below, so I’ll just mention that I created a brute-type character named Moron Exposure.

In real life, it is easy to see oneself as being exposed to morons, an old word for people with severe cognitive challenges. Or in other words, really stupid people. The somewhat less flattering truth is that we all risk functioning on a moronic level when we go beyond the limits of our competence. In some cases there is a sudden cutoff, in other cases it is more of a slope: The further we get from what we know, the more stupid our thinking becomes.

Be that as it may, even the competent may make mistakes. A slip of attention, an unfamiliar task, and you end up sending off a job badly done. This happened just yesterday with Form Regnskap here in Mandal, an accounting company that among its clients count my landlord’s company. They sent me, on behalf of said company, an invoice for two different costs related to the house.

According to the contract, I am to pay the costs of water, sewage, garbaged disposal etc. This is somewhat unusual around here, usually these are included in the rent. Anyway, all of these were on the invoice. Unfortunately, some of them shouldn’t have been. I already paid the garbage disposal fee directly, in fact it was one of the first thing I did after moving in. As for the other fees, it is not possible to see whether they are for the whole house or only half. Looks like the first, unless the house has been sectioned off into two independently owned parts. This is possible but not something you’d do if you plan to sell the whole building again at some future time. I’ll have to check this with the municipality. It is pretty clear that I can’t rely on the accounting firm.

I intend to counter-invoice them for the time I have to spend clearing this up. Not as any sort of punishment, but I already work full time. I am not obliged to work for free on behalf of other people’s accounting firms.


While my first reaction was one of annoyance, I took a long walk and talked it over with the voice in my heart. We came to agree that this was actually a positive event: It is a chance for me to fix my own broken karma. It is not like I haven’t made mistakes, at least one of them really serious, in my own work. By being on the receiving end of such a work mistake, I get to see this from the other side. I get to, at least to some degree, reap what I have sown. So that is good, to have the opportunity to do so while alive.

Earlier this year I read Dante’s poetic description of Purgatory, in his Divine Comedy. The literal existence of Purgatory is a matter of theological dispute, but I notice that Jewish tradition (within Kabbalah at least) support the notion that the “demons” we have created in this life will come back to haunt us in the next, until they have fully expended the power we gave them here. Since we are rather less substantial in that state, it takes a lot more time and / or intensity to pay this back.  The Buddhist notion of Hell, which is actually more like Purgatory in that it is temporary and useful, is similar to this. Although it has attracted even more grotesque imagination than Dante’s Hell, much less his rather bearable Purgatory.

I have no experience to speak with authority about the afterlife, or even the before-life. What I know is that in this life, as you move closer to God / Tao / the Light / the Source, the distance between action and reaction grows less. You get the chance to pay off your karmic debt within reasonable time, whereas if you speed away in the opposite direction, there is so long a time from crime to punishment that you may have forgotten the first when you are caught up by the latter.

Now you may argue that Jesus (or Amida Buddha) has paid your karma debt, so there should be no such reaction. But that is only partially correct. We still need to turn around and see our acts from the other side, otherwise we lack in being complete persons. If we keep slapping people and never get slapped, we live and die unaware of what we have done to others. In that example, we are usually educated hands-on in kindergarten, so we don’t need to end our days in ignorance. But when things become more subtle, it is easy to live a life of ignorance, and our soul becomes unbalanced. This is its own punishment. The (partial) perfection of the soul is its own reward, and a very great one.

If getting an inaccurate invoice can help improve my soul, it is something to give thanks for, rather than a cause for clenched fists.


In Silver Age superhero comics, it was not uncommon that exposure to dangerous chemicals or energies could alter a person to become a superhero, like for instance Flash who got his powers from a lightning strike in his chemicals while he was working in his lab, or the Fantastic Four who were exposed to cosmic radiation in a space shuttle. The Science enhancements in City of Heroes are based on this idea.

My imaginary character Moron Exposure is derived from this notion, except instead of being exposed to a toxic chemical, he was exposed to a toxic social environment, and gained his amazing strength and resilience from this.

I created this character a couple days ago. Nice to see someone up there is watching me even when I dive into the 2-dimensional worlds. ^_^ Or is this what they call “synchronicity”? Synchronicity of Heroes?

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