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Feast or famine...

Sorry for all these posts, it seems to be feast or famine with me, and today is a medieval King's big feast of the year. But I had to post this. It's from "The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula K. LeGwin*, pages 153-154. The parts in bold are my emphasis, the parts in italics are her emphasis. The first line in bold made me literally laugh out loud in Border's as I was reading it, I even got weird looks=

(Copyright 1969 by Usula K. LeGuin)
      Sose heads a committee that purports to suppress the obscene plays performed in public kemmerhouses here ... Slose opposes them because they are trivial, vulgar, and blasphemous.
      To oppose something is to maintain it.
      They say here "all roads lead to Mishnory." To be sure, if you turn your back on Mishnory and walk away from it, you are still on the Mishnory road. To oppose vulgarity is inevitably to be vulgar. You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you walk a different road.
      Yegey in the hall of the Thirty-Three today: "I unalterably oppose this blockade of grain-exports to Karhide, and the spirit of competition which motivates it." Right enough, but he will not get off the Mishnory road going that way.
...
      To be an atheist is to maintain God. His existence or his nonexistence, it amounts to much the same, on the plane of proof. Thus proof is a word not often used among the Handdarata, who have chosen not to treat God as a fact, subject to either proof or to belief: and they have broken the circle, and go free.
      To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.
...
      Here, the government can check not only act but thought. Surely no men should have such power over others.


Bear in mind, in the introduction Ursula says she is an atheist.

Oh, by the way, since I flocked it because I was saying some things out of anger, I will say for the public record that the people I've been living with the past few months are kicking me out and I have nowhere to go.

* = Yes, I know it's actually Ursula K. LeGuin. I just HAD to make that pun. Given what my LJ's subtitle is, can you honestly say you're surprised?

Comments

gkathellar
Jan. 26th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
She asserts this is true, but provides no reason that it should be regarded as such. I don't entirely disagree, but I would state that to oppose something is to ready oneself to defeat it. Once defeated, the thing no longer exists, and can thus no longer be opposed, invalidating its existence in infinite recursive loops.

This is to say, once you have reached Mishnory, you are not on the road to Mishnory. Admittedly, it is possible to never reach Mishnory.
fayanora
Jan. 26th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
Well it struck a chord of truth with me because it reminds me of CWG's statement/philosophy "What you resist, persists. What you look at disappears."

I think her main point, and CWG's as well, is that certain things are actually strengthened by being opposed. You know, like the saying "Forbidden fruit tastes sweetest."
gkathellar
Jan. 26th, 2008 10:48 am (UTC)
Have you read the Tao yet? Your first quote comes pretty close to the philosophy it covers.
fayanora
Jan. 27th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, I have a copy of the Tao Te Ching. I'll look through it for the similarities, thanks!
just_keep_still
Jan. 27th, 2008 06:33 am (UTC)
You need to.
It just makes sense.
fayanora
Jan. 28th, 2008 06:34 am (UTC)
"The way that can be weighed is not the eternal Way."
just_keep_still
Jan. 28th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
Amen!
fayanora
Jan. 28th, 2008 08:48 am (UTC)
!nemA


?won weiv eht ekil uoy od woH
just_keep_still
Jan. 28th, 2008 10:07 am (UTC)
!enif tsuj ti ekil i
fayanora
Jan. 29th, 2008 06:30 am (UTC)
(-: !dooG
gkathellar
Jan. 27th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
Also, note that when they say the word "power" in certain translations, they are actually using the easiest and most accurate translation of an untranslatable word, de.
fayanora
Jan. 28th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)
I shall keep that in mind, thanks.

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