Million Words For “Human”

January 23, 2017

I’ve been working on this science fiction novel for awhile now, basically humanity in the far future encounters this “supreme being” that might or might not be the next step of human evolution.  The story generally had this heavy influence of Jim Starlin’s Adam Warlock stories from the seventies–which I’m a huge fan of–and novels like Dune and Stranger In A Strange Land.  Still have a lot of work to do on it, but I’ve been chugging along with it.  I’ve posted a chapter or two here.

Anyway.

I was working on a scene where Tristan–the “supreme being” at the center of the story–encounters Pax, who appears to be a similarly advanced human.  I’m still working on it, but there’s this line of dialog that’s I felt like sharing.  Tristan is discussing her nature.  For context, there are different racial factions called Avians, Sand People, etc… in the story.

“You act like you’re better than them,” he laughed.  “Man, woman.  Baseline, Avian, Sand Rat, Plains folk… You.  All just different words for human.  You can apply all the labels you want to yourself or others, but in the end it all means the same thing.  You’re all human.”

 

I was thinking about the Women’s Marches over the weekend.  I did a haphazard post about the way women’s responsibilities are viewed and wanted to review some of those ideas.  At times I’ve described myself as a feminist, but being a guy and using that term can be tricky.*  I recall a couple of quotes that help to formulate my viewpoint.  First is from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg–who’s middle name I keep wanting to write as “Badger” for some reason–where she was asked about when there would be enough women on the Supreme Court.  Her answer was “When there are nine.”  Now I would argue for something more in line with a thought of equality, but men are not really doing that good of a job, so why not let some women have a real shot?

The second quote comes from Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones.  In the process of being a twelve year-old trying to understand the concept of feminism, she came across this brilliant thought.

“And then someone explained it to me. And I remember thinking, “Isn’t that just like everyone?” And then I realized everyone is not a feminist, unfortunately. But I also feel like we should stop calling feminists “feminists” and just start calling people who aren’t feminist “sexist” — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist.”

That actually really fit my perspective.  Gay or straight.  Black or white.  Christian or Muslim.  Feminist or sexist.  They are all different words that really mean human.  In my mind, being human means trying to keep moving forward.  That’s all there is to it.  People have got to think of each other as human before anything else so we can all move forward.

 

*I don’t deny that my rambling about my ex could be seen as somewhat contradictory to that idea and sexist.  I’m far from perfect.  Working on it, but not quite yet.  I do feel like in exploring a lot of those thoughts I have found some conclusions and questions that frame a debate on that though.  Like isn’t it kind of sexist for a woman to cite a lack of initiative to propose as a reason to break up?  As I’ve said, a lot of it was to grok a deeper fullness of understanding and I think that has been accomplished in a lot of ways.

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