Posts Tagged ‘Journal 4’


Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

If given the choice between Urras and Anarres,  I would gladly choose to live on Anarres. It might not be the perfect utopia, but in my opinion it is much closer to an ideal world than Urras. I think that a world where everyone is equal but not a lush society is better than a capitalist society full of inequality.

Anarres is a world where possessions have little value and I have grown to believe that in our society the things we own are more important than the things we do. I’ve never lived in a society like the one on Anarres, but our world is so much like Urras that I know I would not like to live there. Living on Anarres would at least be a change. It would probably be hard, switching from the life I live to one on Anarres. Going from having a lot of things to sharing everything and having very little would be a major shock. I think that would be the biggest drawback to living on Anarres, the culture shock of moving there. It is hard to move from the society that you have been born and raised in to a completely different one.

I also really like the way that women are treated on Anarres in comparison to men, that they are equals unlike on Urras. This especially applies to career and child rearing. A woman takes no more responsibility for a child than a man does, and if she doesn’t want to spend her life taking care of the child she doesn’t have to. A woman is just as able to pursue her chosen career as a man is, and it does not seem that they favor one gender over the other.

Another downside to living on Anarres would be it’s harsh climate. I really enjoy the forests and mountains that are found here on Earth. The harsh climate also leads to food shortages on Anarres, which make living there unpleasant at times.

Would you miss the things of Urras?


Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Kat Tarr

Journal 4


I would have to choose Urras to live on if I had to choose one. I don’t think I could handle living on Anarres. The distinct differences between Earth and Anarres might be too much for me to handle. Between the landscape and the vastly different way the people there live, I would be in a major culture shock. I love mountains, trees, and lakes on earth, just as Urras has. Anarres, being little more than a desert with some settlements, would be a bit too much for me to handle in comparison to Earth. Urrasti have an interest in protecting their environment at least. They have taken care of their planet and care enough to take care their natural resources.

I might not agree with many Urras practices; the government, or the way women are treated or what they wear, I would have a better idea of what is expected of me. They have a capitalist society that sounds very similar to what we have here in America. I would be able to figure out how to live there a bit easier than on Anarres; the concept of no government would be completely alien to me.

While Anarres sounds amazing, with gender equality and more freedoms than even we have (no laws), I don’t think I could actually grasp the concept in practice if I was suddenly forced onto the moon. I don’t really agree with the pressures that society puts on the individual in Anarres either, while it’s better than laws in some respects, there’s no protection for people that break the society’s norms. There are no laws at all, which would leave people—like Shevek’s daughter or Tavek without any rights. I can’t say I know if Urras has that, but they have the ability to change; albeit slowly I’d imagine.

The Child and the Shadow of Omelas

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Reading LeGuin’s essay, “The Child and the Shadow,” really puts into perspective how and why she wrote “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” It’s pretty clear from reading both of those that LeGuin loved Anderson’s the man and the shadow story, so she essentially wrote her own version of it with “Omelas.”

“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” is incredibly simplistic, bordering on nonsensical and practically slapping you in the face with its SYMBOLISM, shouting at you to make sure you fully understand its overtones. In it, LeGuin is saying that evil and suffering and the ills of the world go hand in hand with society — an inseparable, absolute truth, or society’s “shadow.” Omelas is a city that has found away to relegate all that into one little child, banishing its shadow to the depths of a basement, behind a locked door.

The man in Anderson’s story, LeGuin argues, is bound by logic and reason, but has no creativity or drive without his shadow. The man and the shadow are dependent upon each other. But Omelas has no such dependency. There is no apparent downside in Omelas to their exiling of their shadow. They flourish without it. Everyone is happy. Even the horses are happy. There is no indication that, let’s say, their happiness is undermined by being everlasting; that without a range of emotions, the people of Omelas cannot ever truly appreciate their happiness, as in “The Giver.” They are simply happy, all the time, and there is no downside.

And while LeGuin has to extrapolate the deeper meaning behind Anderson’s tale, her story lays it all out on the table, as blunt as can be. While I can appreciate some of the ideas she outlines in her essay, I feel like she’s only able to get the theory behind them and was unable to actually execute on any of them in her own story. “Omelas” is just too simple and straightforward. It has no depth. Nothing resonates. It is the ultimate in forgettable stories. There are opportunities in it to expand and make it worth discussing (and remembering) like with the people who walk away from Omelas that the story is named for, but she doesn’t take them, unlike Anderson.

Anarres: Still not free, but it’s better than Urras

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

If faced with the choice to live on either Urras and Anarres, I would definitely pick Anarres. I agree with a lot of anarchist ideology, so I wouldn’t really have to change a lot of my viewpoints. However, I’d probaly end up a nuchnib, or outsider, like Shevek because I wouldn’t concern myself with what others think is acceptable.

On Anarres one is more or less free to take up whatever work they wish, the only block being the opinions of one’s neighbors. I’d be happy to help out with farming, mining, and other task necessary for the smooth running of society, sometimes. However, most of the time I would likely devote my efforts to creating art that challenges Annaresti society as it stands. Annaresti society seems to have fallen under a ‘tyranny of the majority’ (an idea introduced by Alecis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman commenting on American society), where unorthodox and minority viewpoints are stamped out and made illegitimate by mainstream ideology. I would go out of my way to expose this fact on Anarres, even if it meant being ostracized by my neighbors.

The PDC is a wonderful concept for organizing resource distribution in a complex anarchist society in theory, but in execution it prefers mainstream uses of resources. That is not always a bad thing as in the case of allocating resources to save lives during times of famine. However, it can also stifle intellectual growth as in the case of Shevek’s physics being denied by Sabul and the PDC for being “propertarian.”

A major source of this ‘tyranny of the majority’ is how children are educated. It doesn’t have to do with the group education and life in dormitories, which I believe forces children to accept other humans as they are. It has to do with the way Odoianism is taught, children don’t learn Odo’s teachings through experience, but through rote memorization. Bedap says this about Anarresti education: ” We don’t educate for freedom. Education, the most important activity of the social organism, has become rigid, moralistic, authoritarian. Kids learn to parrot Odo’s words as if they were laws – the ultimate blasphemy” (168). Anarres has developed a kind of authoritarian anarchy, where people have internalized and become their own ‘Big Brother.’

Despite all these limits to freedom I would prefer Anarres because it seems easier to do things outside of the established order. On Urras when the massive protest occurred, protesters were shot and killed indiscriminately to suppress rebellion. When Shevek and Bedap start their own Syndicate to publish Shevek’s physics they are only met with mass disapproval, hey at least they weren’t killed.