Wednesday, August 25, 2021

IF YOU EXIST, probably a better question than answer

IF YOU EXIST: In Search of a Reader Deep in the Future

Three Arts Press (non-affiliate Amazon link)
$5.99 Kindle edition, available now

Rating: what? rate this how exactly?

The Publisher Says: If You Exist is a personal message written to one of our human progeny who might find it many generations in the future. The narrator, like others in her generation, faces her own mortality at the same time she faces the possibility of thousands more species, including her own, becoming extinct.

As a private heartfelt message to someone who may never exist, the writer likens her missive to “a note in a bottle set to sea in hopes of reaching you, if you exist in the future on some unfathomable shore.” The narrator shares her personal take on where humanity is now and where we might be heading depending on what choices we will make. She writes about climate change and such topics as human migration, racism, the pandemic, as well as her projected concerns about the possibilities of unbridled technical advancement and human redesign.

After offering her perspective on where hope could lie, the writer ends her note with “the stuff of fairy tales,” her positive fantasy in the final chapter called, “If We Could Meet.”


My Review
: First, read this:
The impulse to hunt takes aim instead, to separate, conquer or eradicate whatever may be defined by some group as less than human. With the future of the planet now so much in doubt, I think it's a rare person who does not, at least unconsciously, align hopes for the survival of this world with either gathering or hunting.
What it means to be human is quite a different question from "What is human nature?" for which we finally realize there can be no answer except to include what any human culture has done or felt.

For me, the question of what it means to be human is more pressing than ever, though my own answers reside in recollected incidents, not in academic definitions.

Published to coincide with the author's seventy-fifth birthday on Monday, the twenty-third, this compact meditation on what the world is, what our role as humans in the world is, and why that urgently needs to change is the topic of the book. "Has the stranger been gathered in, or hunted down?" is quite probably the clearest statement of purpose any book could have, and it comes exactly on time as the catastrophic exit of US troops from Afghanistan unfolds.
Just as with refugees today, the pattern of slavery has always been that the darker skinned peoples were owned and abused by the lighter skinned. There were notable exceptions, such as ancient Africa where emperors of dark nations owned dark slaves from different tribes. Slavery was never just about color, but about power and wealth. ... Today, prejudice and brutality by many police in the U.S. have outlived legal slavery by more than a hundred and fifty years.

So you're reading this review and wondering what the point of my telling you about this small book written by someone who isn't a Big Name, hasn't written think pieces and hefty reports and the like, is? Because you have a vaccine-resisting climate-change denying (or at the least skeptical) aunt, or mother, or church elder. No one is talking to her. They're talking to Greta Thunberg (who comes in for some quiet praise here) and her mom. They're marshaling innumerable facts about chemistry and computing that say absolutely nothing to that friend, relative, elder.

I think she deserves the respect of someone sitting down and speaking to her, peer-to-peer, reminding her of *why* she made those decades of sacrifices and plans and worked so hard to bring about what she hoped would be a better world. And so did Lillian, she's written the book she hoped to read and thus engage with a wider world of people who, like her, haven't been mindfully included in the world they made as it decides its future.

Yuletide is coming. Maybe a birthday before that. Try talking to the people you'd like to mobilize the way they need to hear you.

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