SUMMARY ´ The Dispossessed

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SUMMARY ´ The Dispossessed ↠ Shevek a brilliant physicist decides to take action He will seek answers uestion the unuestionable and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life—Shevek must make K must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet Urras to challenge the complex structures of life and living and ignite the fires of chan. This is one of my favorite books if not THE favorite and on third read I like it even since I notice details I haven't first time around I feel I should say something about the book but I'm not sure I can do this book justice Review hopefully might come at some point

Ursula K. Le Guin Ê 9 SUMMARY

Shevek a brilliant physicist decides to take action He will seek answers uestion the unuestionable and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have is. First of all if you haven't already read The Dispossessed then do so Somehow probably because it comes with an SF sticker it isn't yet officially labeled as one of the great novels of the 20th century They're going to fix that eventually so why not get in ahead of the crowd It's not just a terrific story; it might change your life Ursula Le Guin is saying some pretty important stuff hereSo what is it she's saying that's so important I've read the book several times since I first came across it as a teenager and my perception of it has changed over time There's than one layer and I at least didn't immediately realize that On the surface the first thing you notice is the setting She is presenting a genuinely credible anarchist utopia Most utopias are irritating or just plain silly You read them and at best you shake your head and wish that people actually were like that; or likely you wonder how the author can be uite so deluded This one's different Le Guin has thought about it a lot and taken into account the obvious fact that people are often selfish and stupid You feel that her anarchist society actually could work; it doesn't work all the time and there are things about it that you see are going to cause problems But like the US Constitution one of my favorite utopian documents it seems to have the necessary flexibility and groundedness that allow it to adapt to changing circumstances and survive She's done a good job and you can't help admiring the brave and kind AnnarestiAnother thing you're immediately impressed by is the central character Shevek Looking at the other reviews everyone loves Shevek I love him too He's one of the most convincing fictional scientists I know; I'm a scientist myself so I'm very sensitive to the nuances Like his society he's not in any way perfect and his life is a long struggle to try and understand the secrets of temporal physics which he often feels are completely beyond him I was impressed by the alien science; she gives you just the right amount of background that it feels credible but not so much that you're tempted to nit pick the details You're swept up in his uest to unify Seuency and Simultaneity without ever needing to know exactly what they are And his relationship with Takver is a great love story with some wonderfully moving scenes There's one line in particular which despite being utterly simple and understated never fails to bring tears to my eyes As you also see in The Lathe of Heaven Le Guin knows about loveWhat I've said so far would already be enough to ualify this as a good book that was absolutely worth reading What I think makes it a great book is her analysis of the concept of freedom There are so many other interesting things to look at that at first you don't uite notice it but to me it's the core of the novel What does it mean to be truly free At first you think that the Annaresti have already achieved that; it's just a uestion of having the right social structures But after a while you see that it's not nearly as straightforward as you first imagined Real freedom means that you have to be able to challenge the beliefs of the people around you when they conflict with what you yourself truly believe and that can be painful for everyone But it's essential and it's particularly essential if you want to be a scientist; I know this from personal experience Another theme that suffuses the book is the concept of the Promise If you can't make and keep promises then you have no influence on the future; you are locked in the present But promising something also binds your future self There are some deep paradoxes here The book folds the arguments unobtrusively into the narrative and never shoves them in your face but after a while you see that they are what tie all the strands together the anarchist society the science the love story the politics It's a much deeper book than you first realize As I said it might change your life It's changed mine

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The DispossessedOlated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life Sheve. More than two months have passed since I've closed this book While my traditional reviewing habit was one of immediately rushing to the closest laptop after reading the last line and sharing my excitement or the lack thereof in some hopefully original way I felt a need to really let Le Guin's words sink fully into my mind and make them my own Actually I've mostly just been very lazy in the reviewing department lately but letting words sink in just sounds a little better But when it comes to making words my own as this dear author evoked so well in this book longing for possession is mostly futile and so it is with ideas impressions and most of all inspiration At least in my case good ideas tend to go and come as they please and if I'm lucky they can be grasped when there's something close at hand to write them down just as the motivation and energy to write has chosen to uickly pass through my hands Currently the energy is there but apart from some sparse notes that I now have to re interpret myself I only have a few central take aways that I would like to share This review can thus be considered as a barrel of some of the reflections I managed to retain before they too evaporated into untranslatable little figments of thought The first take away is that this is one of my favorite books It is engaging it is exciting it teaches and it entertains Le Guin's prose is nothing short of wonderful While the plot is not exactly extraordinary it provides the perfect mobile in which to transport some important messages on life and civilization that this author has chosen to share The second take away is that this is the best dissection of our society that I've read I've read great books on the nature of human individuals on the one hand and abstract philosophical meanderings on time and infinity but never felt warm to the idea of reading about one of the levels that are in between namely society and civilisation The reason why I never did is that there often seems so much stuff wrong with society than right so that it's hard to know where to begin complaining and even harder to know where to stop complaining and inspire change The building is showing so many signs of decay it's hard to dispel the idea to just throw it down and start all over Ursula Le Guin found a great starting spot in this book with which to make a nice filet out of our civilisation the idea of possession The need of people to own stands central in our way of life and the illusion of ownership pervades much of our thinking and doing I myself am not immune To give just one example I prefer to buy books rather than to go borrow them at libraries To give another example I just bought an apartment Now it would be unfair to point the finger just at people here Animals do it too on a certain level They want to own territory but instead of throwing money around they urinate all over the place or emit certain smells For all the faults our society has I'm glad we evolved away out of that particular habit if only for the sake of still readable books Do I own these books because I gave money for them and they will soon by surrounded by MY walls I guess so Until a fire or a flood consumes them until the hand of time consumes me Yet even though the banality of ownership during our short lives is inescapable our ways of living are so much focused on exactly that futility it's no surprise so many people feel unhappy and wronged when they see their mission to that end either obstructed or sabotaged by those around them or recognise their endeavors as futile once the mission seems largely fulfilledThis is just a personal take away of course because if Ursuala Le Guin is doing one thing exceptionally well it is the convincing way in which she gives each perspective on the matter a stage in this book I can easily see the staunchest proponents op capitalism and as someone who profits of that system's fruits it would be hypocritical and outright dishonest of me to claim that I dislike it myself like this book as much as a dirty hippy or clean shaven commie Possession isn't just about capitalism and material goods It's pervasive than that Just think about how people refer to each other My son My girlfriend My mother Or how Jason Mraz chose to sing of his undying love by proclaiming I'm yours It's innocent most of the time but when there's problems in relationships of any kind uite often it is a uestion of a certain dominance where one is under the other where one is partly of the other We like to own but we don't like to be owned Except for Jason Mraz that is While writing this review I was faced with another example of the futility of possession I had made notes while reading this book that I intended to use to inspire this review There are some interesting one liners some runaway thoughts some links to real life experiences I would call them my notes But what the two month span between writing them and reading them has shown is that even my thoughts are not entirely my own Some lines I wrote down there are now perfectly incomprehensible to me Others I can give an interpretation but without the guarantee it will be the same as intended back in the day How are these alien words still my notes The Dispossessed touches on many themes than the one I evoked here and Le Guin shows her genius on basically every page with throwaway wisdoms that pack a punch on prisons on the education system on laws on the press on the world of art the army the list goes on She can seem cold and pessimistic sometimes Life is a fight and the strongest wins All civilization does is hide the blood and cover up the hate with pretty words or when she states that suffering unlike love is real because the former ALWAYS hits the mark Despite this recurring pessimism I found this book to be widely uplifting by looking through that veil of coldness and finding there the beauty of life of all the things that transcend possession Her criticism has an inherent warmth and is not above criticism itself It's a criticism that has channeled my own apathy towards many of society's ways into something that seems helpful an understanding and even a renewed love Yes you read that right I love society There's nothing I'd rather live right next to