There is an extension to that last idea—the one about uniqueness of individual people—which is that if you see human beings in utilitarian ways, as objects which perform services, then it starts to become possible to dictate what kind of object that individual must be.

If you deny the uniqueness of someone’s internal landscape—and their right to have that internal landscape—then you can start to tell them how it is acceptable to be, what they are allowed to feel, what they are allowed to think, how they are allowed to perceive thing. And you can rage at them for not complying because the uniqueness they keep exhibiting is not supposed to exist. If you are the type of person who perceives others as coffeepots, then real feelings and experiences are only evidence of the other’s failure to be an adequate machine. Others are not being themselves as they are meant to be: They are making shitty coffee.

This is how I grew up. My parents saw me like this. Yuri saw me like this. My 2×2 community probably saw me this way too. My pain and my confusion—as well as my joy—were evidence of my inadequacy to be what they thought I ought to be. So my mother threw things at me, Yuri put me in the freezer, and my dad put me in stress positions and starved me.

All because I was a really lousy coffee pot. I kept being a person, a child. I kept being a terrible machine.