[image description: A blue woman (or is it simply a blue morning?) crouches atop an ancient tombstone. She holds a couple huge books in her arms. Around her there are both grave markers and piles of books. Text reads, “#241, Jñānī, the small god of standing on the shoulders of giants”]
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There will always be things we have to learn for ourselves. Fire has been hot since before humans had nerves to tell them what pain was, and still, every child learns anew that fire burns. The process is part of the nature of humanity; we learn what we need to know, and we continue onward into our lives with that knowledge, hot and visceral, nestled next to our hearts.
But some lessons are nestled next to others, things that were learned for us and then passed along in their more advanced form, whether those things be “the existence of zero” or “the nature of gravity” or “the best way to make chocolate chip cookies.” Someone who doesn’t intend to become a doctor may not need to know the exact mechanisms of viral reproduction, while the technique to making the perfect meringue may be the most essential of understandings.
She was born the first time someone passed along knowledge to someone who needed to have it, the first time someone was allowed to skip the “fuck around” part of the cycle and move straight to finding out. She is not, in her own right, a particularly wise god. That isn’t why she’s here. She’s here to remind the rest of us that while we all stand alone before the fire, we have people to fall back on almost everywhere else. They teach and support and nurture us, these old masters of our chosen fields, these wise elders of humanity, and it is because of them that we don’t have to begin again, over and over again, forever.
She’s here to help us hold their hands, and we should listen, for while she isn’t much wiser than we are, she leads us to those who are. She leads us, one step at a time, to the giants.
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Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: