• Welcome to droqen's forum-shaped notebook. Please log in.

The Dispossessed

Started by droqen, July 25, 2022, 04:38:51 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Regarding Ursula K. Le Guin's
"The Disposessed"


Quote from: p55You can go home again, the General Temporal Theory asserts, so long as you understand that home is a place where you have never been.


Quote from: p56He welcomed isolation with all his heart. It never occurred to him that the reserve he met in Bedap and Tirin might be a response; that his gentle but already formidably hermetic character might form its own ambience, which only great strength, or great devotion, could withstand. All he noticed, really, was that he had plenty of time to work at last.

I feel more of a kinship with this protagonist than I am comfortable with. Specifically... it makes me want to ignore what I might look from the outside even further, to disregard it because to do otherwise leans me into thinking: am I perceived this way? What does it mean that I think I might be?


Quote from: p50"It would be silly for me to think about a partnership. That sort of thing is for . . . for human beings. . . ."
Quote from: p58The night before he left for Abbenay his fellow students gave a party for him. [..He] wondered why it was such a fine one. Uninfluenced by others, he never knew he influenced them; he never knew they liked him.


Quote from: p73[Shevek said,] "I don't wish to give offense."
"Never fear, sir!" Pae said.
Oiie said, "I'm not sure you know how."

Oiie was not a likeable fellow, like Pae. Even talking physics he had an evasive, secretive style. And yet beneath the style, there was something, Shevek felt, to trust; whereas beneath Pae's charm, what was there?
Quote from: p76"But we haven't been sure whether or not you came with the approval of--" [Oiie] hesitated.

Shevek grinned. "Of my government?"

"We know that nominally there's no government on Anarres. However, obviously there's administration. And we gather the group that sent you, your Syndicate, is a kind of faction; perhaps a revolutionary faction."

"Everybody on Anarres is a revolutionary, Oiie. . . . The network of administration [does] not govern persons; they administer production. They have no authority either to support me or to prevent me. [..] Most people on Anarres don't want to learn about Urras. They fear it and want nothing to do with the propertarians. [..] I came to begin to change that."

"Entirely on your own initiative," said Oiie.

"It is the only initiative I acknowledge," Shevek said, smiling, in dead earnest.


Quote from: p89-90He was alone, here, because he came from a self-exiled society. He had always been alone on his own world because he had exiled himself from his society. [..] And he had been fool enough to think that he might serve too bring together two worlds to which he did not belong.


Quote from: p112The social conscience, the opinion of others, was the most powerful moral force motivating the behaviour of most Anarresti, but it was a little less powerful in him than in the rest of them. So many of his problems were of a kind other people did not understand that he had got used to working them out for himself, in silence. So he did with the problems, which were much harder for him, in some ways, than those of temporal physics. He asked no one's opinion.


This book! Shevek has become a lecturer, giving courses at the university, and the administration is asking him to give grades, and he tells his students... ok, just write about anything you want in physics, I'll give you the highest grade.

Quote from: p128To his surprise a good many students came to him to complain. They wanted him to set the problems, to ask the right questions; they did not want to think about questions, but to write down the answers they had learned. And some of them objected strongly to his giving everyone the same mark. [..] If no competitive distinction were to be made, one might as well do nothing.

"Well, of course," Shevek said, troubled. "If you do not want to do the work, you should not do it."


I am beginning to understand it now.

Quote from: p139[..]where there's property, there's theft[..]

" 'To make a thief, make an owner; to create crime, create laws.' [..] "

"[..] Where there are papers in locked rooms, there are people with keys to the rooms!"

Pae is loyal to A-lo, Chifoilisk to Thu; these are two different countries.

Quote from: p137, Chifoilisk to Shevekyour habit of approaching everybody as a person, an individual, won't do here, it won't work. You have got to understand the powers behind the individuals.

Next there is a scene between Shevek and Atro, in which it is described how Atro's "genuine contempt for both money and power made Shevek feel closer to him than to anyone else he had met on Urras." And for a moment, a page or a half-page, maybe, I want them to see eye-to-eye, but it is quickly made clear that Atro's only difference is in scale, not in quality. He still cares about ownership and possession, it's just that he cares about it on a global scale, rather than at a country's scale. Pae and Chif work for their states -- against each other. Atro works for all the states -- against the other humans further out in the galaxy, which they all, the Cetians,

I'm curious to see if we meet those people further out.

Quote from: p143It's not money I want, you know. I want the superiority of Cetian science recognized, the superiority of the Cetian mind.

He still wants dominance, ownership, just on the scale of a different larger body than all the rest of the scientists we've met on Urras so far. What a fucking pain.


Pingback: Mutual Aid

I got Mutual Aid (Dean Spade) from the library today :) I wasn't sure when I'd be ready to start reading about it, but as soon as I read the words 'mutual aid' in The Dispossessed, I knew it was time.


Quote from: p261[..] he had a right to [it], but he was damned if he would explain. Existence is its own justification, need is right. He was an Odonian, he left guilt to profiteers.


Quote from: p280He had been groping and grabbing after certainty, as if it were something he could possess. He had been demanding a security, a guarantee, which is not granted, and which, if granted, would become a prison. By simply assuming the validity of [his theory, his goal] he was left free to use the lovely [devices of his craft]; and then it would be possible to go ahead.

I feel a remarkable kinship to this for undertaking larger, more aspirational projects. When I find myself demanding "a security, a guarantee" from the medium itself -- say, a promise that something will be fun, especially that it lives up to certain expectations I might have -- it is rarely granted, and "if granted, [becomes] a prison". When driven to find that rare guarantee, that unlikely spark, it creates a great blocker (I will not continue until I happen upon something wonderful) and then a great restriction (Now that I have found something wonderful, I cannot do anything but serve it).

Structures are inherently amoral.

Instead... follow your own goals. By "simply assuming the validity" of your goals you're free to do work on something you believe in, using tools in the best way you know how.


Quote from: p295"Do you know what your society has meant, here, to us, these last hundred and fifty years? Do you know that when people here want to wish each other luck they say, 'May you get reborn on Anarres!' To know that it exists, to know that there is a society without government, without police, without economic exploitation, that they can never say again that it's just a mirage, an idealist's dream!"


uhh what the fuck

Quote from: p333, read today[..] the real mutuality and reciprocity of society and the individual became clear.
[..] though only the society could give security and stability, only the individual, the person, had the power of moral choice--the power of change, the essential function of life.

Quote from: a text document i wrote yesterdayOnly humans are capable of morality.

Only the individual, the person, has the power of moral choice.


Quote from: p334his radical and unqualified will to create was[..] its own justification. His sense of primary responsibility towards his work did not cut him off from his fellows, from his society, as he had thought. It engaged him with them absolutely.