ajnabi: my lips red out; text over: "conquer this smile" (oh yeah?)
( Feb. 22nd, 2010 03:59 am)
so, uh, somehow i managed to get this done. and yes, i know it's not very well organized, and the title sucks, but i have no heart or brainpower/energy to edit or look through this. i'm just going to submit it and hope for the best. i do have this vague sense of victory at being able to write it at all, i guess. sort of. but.

On the Need to Transcend Privilege Justification in Critiques of Civilization

The central problem of Ishmael is that it offers a critique of civilization that gives privileged people more reasons to feel justified in having their power. This would seem to be a rather paradoxical problem, since Quinn clearly wishes to dismantle all ideas about humans being justified in their power over the natural world. However, his earnest call to change is thwarted by his assumptions about how humans have come to acquire the power to change and destroy their natural environments and, ultimately, themselves. Quinn believes that although "it's true that power and wealth within the prison should be equitably redistributed... what is crucial to your survival as a race is not the redistribution of power and wealth within the prison but rather the destruction of the prison itself" (252-253). Therefore, reforms within the system are insufficient; the entire system must come crashing down, and become replaced by a new system, one that makes peace with "leaver" ideology. Although Quinn does make an important point here, in the sense that reforms may only entrench systems further; in the context of his novel, the destruction of the "prison" that he speaks of is not more crucial than, or extricable from, the destruction of systems of power inequities. Nor will it automatically lead to a destruction of the latter.

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