February 9, 2003

The future she is a rolling road …

I’ve been continuing to read Gordon R. Dickson’s Childe cycle – or the Dorsai books as they are probably more commonly known. I kind of got stuck on "Soldier, Ask Not" since that was about a character that I didn’t really like – he had great power, the power to affect the affairs and actions of other people around him, but chose to use that power for selfish and harmful ends. This kind of behaviour is antithetical to my way of thinking since I believe in responsible action when you are entrusted/gifted with great power (yes, I know, that probably is a pipe dream because most of us do tend to think of ourselves first … but one can hope ..) Anyway, as I said, I didn’t like the protagonist in "Soldier, Ask Not" – Tam Olyn – much. But in the end he turned out to be one of my favorites and a person about whom I wanted to learn more because he realized the error of his ways and begins working for the good of humanity. It is not cliched as I make it sound here incidentally :p The way it unfolds in the story is interesting and believable.

I finished "Soldier, Ask Not" on Friday evening and began reading "Tactics of Mistake" – the next book in the series – the same day. I read till late and then continued to read through yesterday and finished the book last night :p This was again about the evolution of mankind – about a future where humanity has spread to the stars and has started to splinter – to break up into units made up of like minded people – the warriors, the philosophers, the men of faith and the technocrats. Each of these splinters has one facet of the human persona over-developed .. like a person who has lost a limb having their other limb growing stronger to compensate – only thing is, they haven’t lost any of their other facets of humanity … just that one facet has grown stronger. Normal man, back on Earth, continues to be multi-faceted … the rootstock.

There are many things that Dickson mentions in the books that makes me wonder if he really believed in what he was talking about or had had an inkling of what was to come. I believe in some of what he said about the evolution of humanity – though not in the splinter cultures. I don’t think we should fragment – fragmentation only brings about conflict as it already has on this world of ours. It is actually time for humanity to merge together and to realize that we are one race – not individual nationalities, races or groups. However, I do believe that we are in a constant process of evolution – not just as a race but also as individuals. Each one of us evolves – emotionally, mentally but perhaps not so much physically … but then again, even the physical evolution is there – just not regarded as evolution by most. When we move to a colder climate and "adjust" to the cold, isn’t that evolution? When we adapt to some disability – such as losing a limb – isn’t that evolution? I think it is – at an individual level rather than at a racial level.

There are so many things that the Childe cycle makes me aware of and makes me think about. When I first read the books, I hadn’t considered most of the things that the book talks about – now I’m acutely aware of these things since some of them have become part of my own philosophy about life. I have to wonder – did I evolve this philosophy myself or did my first reading affect my way of thinking subconsciously and instigate this evolution within me? That itself is an interesting thought – at least for me :p

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Posted by Fahim at 7:03 am  |  No Comments