(Sorry LDRSers, this post probably won’t make too much sense unless you”ve read “Immigrant” by Simak)
I just finished the reading and I am struck by to seemingly opposite notions – a both/and rather than an either/or. Fortunately, I feel like I am in good company, as I’m not the only one “Out of This World”
Here are the two seemingly opposing thoughts:
(A) Bishop was on the verge of great discovery, of giving up his pride of naming Kimon for the exploitative place that it is. In so doing, he would free Earth of the obsession of chasing after a false dream. His act of shame (of admitting that his ambition was all for naught) would in turn be freeing – he would be a hero, though he likely would still feel immense guilt and shame. He is on the verge of this brilliant act, when he is won over by his pride. If he just tries harder, if he just feigns that he doesn’t know anything, and “goes to school,” then this is the path to greatness!!! In fact, this is the moment where he becomes yet another mindless drone. A pawn of the Kimonians. A puppy.
(B) Bishop is like all of us on the verge of great learning – skeptical, doubting, uncomfortable, resistant. He pushes back against the method. His pride for his past knowledge makes him want to vilify rather than embrace this new culture and the idea that he can learn from it. Just as he is on the tip of closing his mind entirely, he has a breakthrough – that “aha moment” where all the puzzle pieces come together. He can be both expert and eternal student. He is humbled by the body of knowledge before him. Recognizing this, he frees his own mind up to be expanded and challenged. He has cast away the shackles of his “expert-ness” and is beginning a new journey of enlightenment. Don’t be late to school Bishop… you have a long day for you tomorrow!
As I reflect on this reading, I am struck that it is perhaps less important whether (A) or (B) be the “true meaning,” but rather that we find a way to consider both options at once (simultaneous awareness of complex alternatives anyone?!?). What if we need to embrace that we both have something to contribute and something to learn at the same time? (B) feels like a passive receptacle for knowledge. (A) feels like an expert who outsmarts, outwits, and is infallible. Can there be some happier medium with bits of both (A) and (B)?
Or, from another both/and angle… can Earth’s striving to make it to Kimon be both helpful and hurtful at the same time? (like the notion of meritocracy in today’s society? I claim it to be a false notion… but to some end, it can be generative and inspiring when not taken to the extreme). It reminds me of the simultaneous blinding and augmentation that we discussed with McLuhan…
I look forward to reading posts from the rest of you and commenting! All the “nuggets” I could seem to find kept pointing me to the things above… all similar to the thoughts that have been swirling around my head all semester. Please poke and prod me into some new lenses I haven’t yet looked through in quite the same way!