The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed

On a Saturday afternoon, a friend of my daughter (who met each other at the summer camp) visited our home and occupied the living - and I pushed into the backyard. Under the sunshade of the backyard, I thought it was the best time to write a review for a book that I had been putting off for a long time: The Dispossessed, Ursula K Le Guin (1974).

It was my first book by Le Guin. I had many friends who had told me that Le Guin was their favorite author. I've been having the English book reading sessions with my tutor Ms. Salle, and when I had to choose a new book, I thought it was a good time to try Le Guin's one.

The Dispossessed is a utopian SF novel of Le Guin's Hanish Cycle. I did some research, and many said to me that The Dispossessed is the best book to start the Hanish Cycle. Later after I finished the book, I got a present of the original paperback edition and found that it had a description on the cover: "THE MAGNIFICENT EPIC OF AN AMBIGUOUS UTOPIA." 'An Ambiguous Utopia,' what the perfect word for the book!

It is the story of a genius physicist, "Dr. Shevek," and two twin planets, Anarres and Urras (like Gamilas and Iscandar). Anarres is a barren world of anarchists exiled from Urras, and Urras is an affluent world of propertarians (and the dispossessed - precisely, there is also a communist nation). Anarchism is a philosophy from the 18th century that many human problems come from living under governments, but anarchism does not only refuse governments - it emphasizes solidarity: voluntary cooperation, mutual aid, sharing, and so on. Anarres is the ideal utopia of anarchists, but it has a problem - a lack of resources.

What is idealistic about social cooperation, mutual aid, when it is the only means of staying alive?

I believe freedom is the most important and precious thing in our lives. I couldn't agree more when Shevek told it.

“Nothing? You call your theory nothing?”
“Weigh it in the balance with the freedom of one single human spirit,” he said, turning to her, “and which will weigh heavier? Can you tell? I cannot.”

But, sometimes get confused: I support Democrats and the big government for social justice. I agree there are many things that only the government should (and must) do, but wouldn't it infringe individual freedom?

There has been a notion of so-called Realpolitik. They argue that freedom is meaningless unless having the power back it up. Even they're saying that Ukraine should concede to Russia because Russia is more powerful, and it will be more beneficial to many. It may make you think of yourself as smart. But how can we gauge their existence with the benefit? So, when Shevek condemned Oiie, I felt a thrill.

“The politics of reality,” Shevek repeated. He looked at Oiie and said, “That is a curious phrase for a physicist to use.” “Not at all. The politician and the physicist both deal with things as they are, with real forces, the basic laws of the world.” “You put your petty miserable ‘laws’ to protect wealth, your ‘forces’ of guns and bombs, in the same sentence with the law of entropy and the force of gravity?

I might have been able to find a clue for the answer in this book. Individual freedom can only be acquired when we get total human consolidation. It must be a long journey, and there would be many dissenters for their good. The government should be the guide of the journey and guardian from propertarians who rip off others in the name of freedom. Just like SCOTUS stroke down the public gun control in the name of the Constitution, and it deprived women of their right in the name of not being written in the Constitution. The inflation may dilute the current anger, "but it remained; it had been spoken; it had meaning."

The answer would lead to a long journey to the unknown, and I eagerly want to be an explorer.

The explorer who will not come back or send back his ships to tell his tale is not an explorer, only an adventurer, and his sons are born in exile.