Conventional people

“Ike, Spes people are very conventional, conservative people, haven’t you noticed? Very elitist people. How could we be anything but?”

“Conservative? Conventional? What are you talking about?”

“Well, look at us! Power hierarchy, division of labor by gender, Cartesian values, totally mid twentieth century! I’m not complaining, you know. I chose it too. I love feeling safe. I wanted the kids to be safe. But you pay for safety.”

“I don’t understand your attitude. We risked everything for Spes – because we’re future oriented. These are the people who chose to leave the past behind, to start fresh. To form a true human community and do it right, to do it right for once! These people are innovators, intellectually courageous, not a bunch of gutbrains sunk in their bigotries! Our average IQ is 165-“

This is from Urusula Le Guin’s story, “Newton’s Sleep”, which is about a group of people who abandon a dying Earth in order to form a colony where everything is safe, planned, antiseptic, and without any weird things happening (naturally weird things start happening).

I’ve floated before the idea that there are certain sorts of conservatism and progressivism which are two sides of the same coin, since they both pursue that dream of completely rationalizing human society, differing only in which institutions they view help/hinder the cause. And how it is at times easier for me to feel an affinity with the countercultural left, since they tend to see this as a bit unliveable as well.

Humans are weird, and complicated. Actually, one of the advantages of having some some sort of Ancient Tradition is that they tend to respect that.

Susan was silent for a long time, kneading and rocking his shoulders. She said at last, “It scares me when I think about it, Ike. It seems like something supernatural, and I don’t think there is anything supernatural. But if I don’t think about it in words like that, if I just look at it, look at the people and the – the horses and the vine by the door – it makes sense. How did we, how could we have thought we could just leave? Who do we think we are? All it is, is we brought ourselves with us…The horses and the whales and the old women and the sick babies. They’re just us, we’re them, they’re here.”



About Josh W

A Catholic. Likes to write stuff and draw pictures.
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