Friday, June 19, 2015

you can be whatever you want to be

We live in a time when old men can become 19 year old beauty queens, and white people can become black or Indian to get jobs. Just ignore reality: they felt they were really women/ minorities so it is so, and don't you dare suggest otherwise.

So how far should this go?

Literature suggests pretty far:

Dustbury links to a video about an opera based on Kafka's metamorphosis.

A man becomes a cockroach:

it's a nihilistic allegory about the state remaking man into their own image.

and a commenter points to this variation on that theme:

So do we remake ourselves (Jenner), or does a coercive society remake us (Kafka)?

the bad news: reality exists.

The modern versions of Jenner et al suggests you are free to do anything, including discarding those around you. The ultimate result of a society that stresses ME ME ME.

The Kafkaesque version suggests you are an isolated individual vulnerable to forces you cannot stop. But again, it is the story of an isolated individual.

what is missing from these stories?


Compare and contrast with District 9, about a fussy bureaucrat who finds himself turning into a prawn-like alien....

This is actually based on a short film about prejudice. many of the opinions expressed were made against refugees from Zimbabwe by native South the film is about being a refugee, forced by circumstances to be a stranger in a strange land (this reference, for the clueless, is not Heinlein but Moses).

One thing mentioned by the Pope in his "ecology" encyclical is the importance of human ecology. The same forces of greed and egotism that are destroying nature are destroying the family in the name of freedom. Just as we need to recognize the interconnectedness of nature, we need to recognize the interaction between biology and culture that makes a person find his reason to be by living in a family.  And what he insists is that rich lands should welcome refugees from poor lands or those who flee from wars, he is emphasizing that all men are our family.  The refugees are not faceless enemies, but people with families, some torn from their roots, others migrating with their families in hopes of keeping their families safe, and still others looking for jobs to send money home to keep their families alive..

Kafka and Jenner have it wrong: it's not about ME ME ME, and it's not ME alone vs an all powerful state.

It is about the tiny flower of love and humanity kept alive in the chaos of the modern world.

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