Friday, July 06, 2007

Stranger in a Strange Land

I read Robert Heinlein's sci-fi classic, Stranger in a Strange Land, back in the early 80s. This is the story of guy out of place on Earth because he was not messed up by American corporate culture (corporate businesses, churches, schools, government) -- he was raised on Mars. "Stranger in a strange land" is also a quote from the Bible. Moses felt that out of place feeling as he sojourned in the desert for 40 years before returning to Egypt to set his people free. Misplaced people have the unique perspective and often have the opportunity to shed light on the world around them.

I'm an out of place person myself-- a stranger in a strange land. I really don't get corporate culture. It totally confuses me. I'm a throwback to the days of artisans. I'm a throwback to Thoreau. What is really important anyway? The right clothes? The right schools? The right friends? I'm dedicated to discovering the "essential facts of life". It's why I liked these books: Feed by MT Anderson, the Mortal Engines series by Phillip Reeve and House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. These stories are a little grim in my opinion, but the writers are asking questions and exploring the consquences of the world that ulitmately we create, and I believe that is so important.

Personally, I tend to skew toward a more hopeful view of the future. I know, it may seem crazy, but I really do trust the next generation. I'm counting on them to do better than my generation. To be more. I'm deeply moved by kids that seem to care more about the world. They can see beyond the borders and boundries that we seem hopelessly entangled in. It makes me think of a little story at the end of Walden, Thoreau tells us about a bug:

"a strong and beautiful bug which came out of the dry leaf of an old table of apple-tree wood, which had stood in a farmer's kitchen for sixty years, first in Connecticut, and afterward in Massachusetts — from an egg deposited in the living tree many years earlier still, as appeared by counting the annual layers beyond it; which was heard gnawing out for several weeks, hatched perchance by the heat of an urn. Who does not feel his faith in a resurrection and immortality strengthened by hearing of this?"

I am rooting for that bug! I'm hoping for a warm urn that will set this generation on a journey that will flood our world with impossible hope and life. I hope that my books will provide some of that warmth. I hope that you bring some of that warmth to your work this week.

2 comments:

what'sinyoursoul said...

I'm Grokkin' it, Molly!

MollyMom103 said...

I'm not surprised; You are one of the most grokking people I know!

A primer for those who do not understand Holly/Molly speak.

Grok: "to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with", while in the intransitive sense it is defined as "to empathize or communicate sympathetically with; also, to experience enjoyment."