Monday, March 30, 2009
"War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Slonczewski's novel speaks to me in a political sense; conjuring up sympathetic echoes of movies: mainly that of "Thin Red Line" a movie about the occupation of Guadacanal during WWII.
Almost poetic in their thinking: Shora's collective speaks in and among notions of altruism, moral codes, love, and unity. And this is done in the face of death: that is represented by Joan S in a way that plays up its multiplicity. For Death is: The act or fact of dying; the end of life; the final cessation of the vital functions of an animal or plant or individual. It is a personified agent - a state or condition of being without life, animation, or activity.
And then there is death-in-life, life that lacks any satisfaction or purpose; living death.
Moreover death is: the loss or cessation of life in a particular part or tissue of a living being; Loss of sensation or vitality, state of unconsciousness, the being or becoming spiritually dead. The loss or deprivation of civil life; the fact or state of being cut off from certain rights and privileges, as by banishment, imprisonment for life, etc. The end, extinction, destruction, Bloodshed, slaughter, murder
A general mortality.
All of the above are played out in the invasion and occupation of Shora in episodes such as : Merwen's detainment, Spinel's staged assimilation, Shora's ebb and flow in light of the Valan's attempt to moderate it via violent pesticides/poisons, the death of individual Shorans, in Bernice, and Realgar rein and resignation.
Joan S indeed related death to the political and embeds only its onesided meaning (death in the negative as an act inflicted on another without apparent influence on the arbiter) within the language of valans while defining it in dynamic terms within the language of the Shoran's(sharers) which imbues all that are involved with a sense of responsibility. Perhaps it is this train of thought that leads me to thinking on "The Thin Red Line" a movie (much different from the book for sure) which reflects the thoughts of soldiers very much informed by the dynamic notion of death.
Soldiers think, while in the jungle in looking upon death or after being affected by violent death the following thoughts:
"Where is it that we were together? Who were you that I lived with? The brother. The friend. Darkness, light. Strife and love. Are they the workings of one mind? The features of the same face? Oh, my soul. Let me be in you now. Look out through my eyes. Look out at the things you made. All things shining."
We. We together. One being. Flow together like water. Till I can't tell you from me. I drink you. Now. Now
This great evil. Where does it come from? How'd it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doin' this? Who's killin' us? Robbing us of life and light. Mockin' us with the sight of what we might've known. Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed to this night?
Maybe all men got one big soul everybody's a part of, all faces are the same man
If I never meet you in this life, let me feel the lack; a glance from your eyes, and my life will be yours
These quotes taken together reflect the core of the sharer's belief: the unselfish devotion to the welfare of others b/c of the interconnectedness of all things. What is more is that Joan S. confronts the multiplicity of death with loveforce - something that was not alloted to the soldiers of guatacanal as an option.
She enables the sharer's with a resistance against the proliferation of war - indeed b/c they refuse to participate with outwardly violent means toward man, and in doing so open themselves to the will of those who wished to inhabit them. Their lifestyle heavily dependent on natural science combat, so to speak, the tyranny of the valan's by engaging them in terms of survival on Shora and BY shora- a feat that could only be accomplished by them and those educated in their ways.
Stepping away from the text, Joan S admits that her novel was informed by the political maneuvers that were occuring during the time she was composing. Indeed, her political stance is made clear: power moves made between nations are based on what a soldier from "thin red line" states quite concisely : "Property. The whole fucking thing's about property" Is this not the kernel around which Door Into the Ocean is composed?