So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Altadena, CA
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The Link To Zanzibar's Past
This is my page in the beloved art community that my sister got me into:
Extra points for people who know what Samarinda is.
The Phases of the Moon Module
The Tree and the Telephone Pole
I Do Not Know Their Names
Today I am Young
A Night Poem
Siren of the Sea
If I Were a Dragon
To the Dreamers Leave the Sky
The Honor of the Oyster
Return From San Diego
A Late Summer's Night
Of Dragons and Men
The Edge of the World
The Snake's Terror
Metaphysics and the Middaymoon
Of Adventures in Foreign Lands
The Rogue Wave: The Unedited Version
Adventures in the PRC
Voyage of Discovery
Drinking the Blood of Goats
Ticket for a Phantom Bus
Os peixes nadam o mar
Three Villages Far Away
The River Weser
Children I Should Have Kidnapped, Part I
Let's Get You Out of Those Clothes
If Underwear Could Speak
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER
Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
M: Science and Exploration
T: Cook a nice dinner
Th: Parties, movies, dinners
F: Picnics, the Louvre
S: Read books, go for walks, PARKOUR
Su: Philosophy, Religion
The Reading List
This list starts Summer 2006
A Crocodile on the Sandbank
Tales of the Alhambra (in progress)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Lost Years of Merlin
Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (in progress)
Atlas Shrugged (in progress)
A Long Way Gone (story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone- met the author! w00t!)
The Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time
From Magma to Tephra (in progress)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Harry Potter 7
The No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency
Introduction to Planetary Volcanism
A Child Called "It"
Is Multi-Culturalism Bad for Women?
Americans in Southeast Asia: Roots of Commitment (in progress)
What's So Great About Christianity?
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
When I was in Cuba, I was a German Shepard
The Golden Compass
Clan of the Cave Bear
The 9/11 Commission Report (2nd time through, graphic novel format this time, ip)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
To Sir, With Love
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Hunger Games
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
The Name of the Wind
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Great Contemporaries, by Winston Churchill
City of Bones
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Old Man and the Sea
Flowers for Algernon
Au Bonheur des Ogres
The Road to Serfdom
De La Terre à la Lune (ip)
In the Light of What We Know
Devil in the White City
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
How to Be a Good Wife
A Mote in God's Eye
want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Monday. 11.27.06 11:07 pm
I just finished an awesome book called "Darklord of Derkhelm". It is hilarious. It manages to be a book about magic while actually being a book about bureaucratic nonsense and human relations (even while a large percentage of characters are not human at all!) Before that I read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" which is kind of like a mix between 1984 and I, Robot, but just as famous in its own right and written by Philip K. Dick. Ok, well, I'm going put in my "favorite" (read=most awful) part of the book- it isn't crucial to the plot, but it's the part that touched me about it. The part that made this book real to me. For anyone who's ever read this book, you know what I mean.
Ok, really if you haven't read this book you should go and read it right now and then come back. It's only 244 pages.
At one point one of the human characters gets hold of a spider. This is a special occurence because there aren't very many wild, living creatures left on the Earth. There aren't really that many left in captivity, either. The wild spider could bring in as much as $100 for the guy who found it. He brings it back to the apartment where there are a bunch of androids hiding out from the police. This is what happens next:
"I've never seen a spider," Pris said. She cupped the medicine bottle in her palms, surveying the creature within. "All those legs. Why's it need so many legs, J.R.?"
"That's the way spiders are," Isidore said, his heart pounding; he had difficulty breathing. "Eight legs."
"Eight?" Irmard Baty said. "Why couldn't it get by on four? Cut four off and see." Impulsively opening her purse, she produced a pair of clean, sharp cuticle scissors, which she passed to Pris.
A weird terror struck at J.R. Isidore.
Carrying the medicine bottle into the kitchen, Pris seated herself at J.R. Isidore's breakfast table. She removed the lid from the bottle and dumped the spider out. "It probably won't be able to run as fast," she said, "but there's nothing for it to catch around here anyhow. It'll die anyway." She reached for the scissors.
"Please," Isidore said.
Pris glanced up inquiringly. "Is it worth something?"
"Don't mutilate it," he said wheezingly. Imploringly.
With the scissors, Pris snipped off one of the spider's legs.
Pris had now cut three legs from the spider, which crept about miserably on the kitchen table, seeking a way out, a path to freedom. It found none.
"How's the spider?" She bent over Pris's shoulder.
With the scissors, Pris snipped off another of the spider's legs. "Four now," she said. She nudged the spider. "He won't go. But he can."
"It won't walk," Irmgard said.
"I can make it walk." Roy Baty got out a book of matches, lit a match; he held it near the spider, closer and closer, until at last it crept feebly away.
"I was right," Irmgard said. "Didn't I say it could walk with only four legs?" She peered up expectantly at Isidore. "What's the matter?"
Pris, with the scissors, cut yet another leg from the spider. All at once John Isidore pushed her away and lifted up the mutilated creature. He carried it to the sink and there he drowned it. In him, his mind, his hopes, drowned, too. As swiftly as the spider.
I know some people who've done that to a spider before. Plucked off its legs, until it only had one leg, one leg to try and drag itself along... one leg, and still a desire to escape....
The funny thing about this book is its ambiguity, and the confusion that it stirs inside of you. There are some androids who are amazing additions to society and completely harmless to it. They must be destroyed because they have no empathy. The problem with having no empathy is manifested in the not-so-harmless androids like the ones in the apartment. They look at a harmless spider like the one from the hallway and they don't feel with it, they can't take its pain and make it their own.
We're human. We CAN empathize with the spider.
But yet there are humans, children, (who have grown into adults whom I like and respect) who did not empathize with the spider. Who stood above it, torturer above the tortured, and laugh gleefully as the spider died in agony. Why should these people be spared while the androids die? Why should Rick's depressed wife continue to live without enjoyment or appreciation, while the opera singer who takes full advantage of all life offers must be found and immediately retired?
WHY do we feel empathy for the spider? WHY is empathy a virtue?
For my part I would kill all of those androids. In the next model I would include empathy and then I would give them equal status to human beings. And to be quite honest I kill spiders (but as quickly and painlessly as possible). I guess I could try not killing them- I could toss them out the window. But which would be worse, a quick and painless death, or a fall from a three-story window?
Good thing I haven't had any spiders in my current room. After the death of the spider, though, J.R. Isidore goes to the wall where he looks upon all of the stains from spiders and other insects that were smashed upon it... they could have been the last insects of their kind on the entire Earth, and someone mindlessly smashed them against the wall. That's pretty much like my room in Germany, only they were mosquitos and they DESERVED IT!
But I suppose I would think twice about killing them if they were the among the last living things on the Earth.
What a conundrum... why do we feel such tender pity for the spider who crawls away on three legs, but smash it with so little thought on a regular basis?
If there were a being much larger than me into whose realm I mistakenly strolled, I would hope that he would kill me outright, in one terrifying, sudden motion, rather than torturing me for the better part of an hour before leaving me to die, rather than burning me slowly with a large magnifying glass, rather than pouring water into my ant hill until all of my friends washed away as in the biblical flood, rather than rolling over me again and again with a bicycle tire, filling up my hole with driveway salt, etc......
Recommended by 1 Member
you've been thinking about this for a long time. way to disect yourself.
sounds like a good book.
» middaymoon on 2006-11-28 12:09:49
My dear Zanzibar,
Your comment to me was trully beautiful. I appreciate it more than I can express.
Also, I will definitely take your advice and read "Do Androids..."
However, androids have always thrown me off balance, ethically speaking. I'm not entirely sure any man made thing could posses such a complex human quality like empathy. And if one did, I'm not sure how I'd feel about it. Or whether I'd consider it to have a "human status" or not.
Lastly, I used to be a strong advocate for death to spiders (especially since I was an arachnophobe). But one day I decided to catch some I'd find in my house and keep them in a clear jar. That's when I found out they were cannibals. Something about that disturbed me. Instead of killing them or catching I did something really extreme and a bit odd. I let them live. Not just live, but thrive in my room. At one point, it was what one would consider an infestation. My room is not a dirty one, so one could plainly see somewhere around 15 small house spiders all around the corners of my room and closet. I didn't bother them. They didn't bother me. I got over my phobia. And they went away.
Empathy solves situations alot, I think. Although, sometimes it creates problems as well, I guess.
» elessar257 on 2006-11-28 01:19:00
I just want to tell you that seeing that someone else would put so much thought into such a small and seemingly insignificant portion of a book make me smile. I love it. ;o)
» sjcswank on 2006-11-29 06:36:43
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