Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Okay, Ishmael lost me.

We finally got to The Law, and, while I expected something of the sort, I'm still mildly confused. Well, confused is too general a term. I'm not confused so much as not convinced.

I was with Ishmael when he said that we are enacting a story that puts us at war with the world through our use of agriculture. I could even understand how he said that increased food production always leads to an increased population. But when he said that the answer was to let people starve (and, yes, I admit that I'm probably coming from Mother Culture's perspective here), there he lost me. How can we be concerned with maintaining the diversity of the planet and not be concerned with people who are dying for lack of food?

And I do take issue with the fact that Ishmael said we always hear about sending food to impoverished countries, but not contraceptives. I, at least, have heard about sending contraceptives to impoverished countries, although it was in the context of slowing AIDS and giving women control over their bodies.

I also take issue, much like the narrator, with the fact that Ishmael calls our culture "Mother Culture". The fact that Ishmael explains this away by saying that culture is nurturing only offends me more. Who says that men can't be nurturing? And why is it still expected that women need to fill that nurturuing role? There are plenty of women who don't appreciate being boxed into that personality archetype.

Also, I disagreed with Ishmael's notion that the Leaver culture is somehow more conducive to the human spirit. On page 148 he says, "They're not seething with discontent and rebellion, not incessantly wrangling over what should be allowed and what forbidden, not forever accusing each other of not living the right way, not living in terror of each other, not going crazy because their lives seem empty and pointless, not having to stupefy themselves with drugs to get through the days, not inventing a new religion every week to give them something to hold on to, not forever searching for something to do or something to believe in that will make their lives worth living."

Well, of course not. They're busy surviving. That doesn't mean the Leavers feel more nurtured... it means they're tired. And that doesn't strike me as an automatically more healthy way to live.

No comments: