Jessica and I had an IM conversation about enlightened conversations. Transcript follows.
Butler: I was appalled when I was watching a children's nature program and the naturalist, Jeff, is in this cave and a little baby swiftlet falls onto the ground now on the ground are cockroaches and beetles, which of course are zeroing in on the baby bird and he looks at the camera and says that he could easily save the bird and he would like to save the bird but he cannot because this is a natural part of life and he cannot intervene so he stands by and watches as these insects devour the baby bird and I'm thinking wow....amazing how letting things go their course often involves laziness
me: so evolutionaryist
Butler: and these are the same folks who scream their heads off if humans come anywhere near and damage the environment
me: committment to the natural laws yadda yadda
Butler: but if in their belief, humans are nothing more than an advanced animal. Then that is just as much a part of the natural laws. There is no reason for us to conserve or preserve wildlife than there is for a beetle or cockroach to be killed in our houses. But that's not what kids are going to see. Really it's more horrifying to watch and to realize that people can justify cruelty by the natural order.
me: plus it never occurs to them that perhaps their presence there might be one of those happy accidents of nature they go on about.
Butler: hmmmhmm. That was just what I was thinking
me: i was thinking yesterday how God said husbands love your wives...but so many christian legalistic men think "husbands rule your wives." Because they think it's a natural order. No sense of their relationship with god and wife as a love thing..but as some divine order thing.
Butler: yes. It's just sad the way that people are. Generally so-called enlightenment seems to bring about cruelty
me: and smugness about said cruelty
Butler: whereas naivety and those people who are considered to be naive are the ones who "interfere" and "mess up the natural order"
me: lol...well they could challenge you on the extinction of whales etc
Butler: oh they could! Christians and naturalists alike. Everyone. I was just reading over an article about some so-called naive Christian who was saving babies years ago from the Hawaiian death rituals and how horrible that was because it was a key part of the culture and the native culture was wise to understand the balance of life,
that what should have been done is to allow them to do what they want because after all, they are wise. Actually what it comes down to is also pride
me: aargh, when enlightened christians indulge with enlightenesque speech it is so hard to deal with them and their smugness. You survived Christian college doublespeak-double-think though.
Butler: oh though here's another thing that I noticed. In terms of arrogance, there is a certain type of enlightened arrogance that is almost insufferable which comes from a first world citizen who goes to the third world and spends time. It's something I would like to capture in a story because not all have it. They have all of these quotes and trite superlatives about how the people survive.
me: Or when a third world person has been hanging around a lot of first world persons and thinks she's so deep now
Butler: (the other way that I have seen it come is from someone from a third world country and spends a lot of time in a first world. Wow
me: the kind of African or Arab who uses
Butler: we are on the same page
me: western phrases and looks down on the uneducated of her own land. Sooo annoying. They don't realize that they're trying to impress the west and just look like parroters. And when they say the crap while wearing a red white and blue or starry bandanna i just want to slam the TV set. Or else they start dissing our religion in our terms. Or they totally rework their own religion to make it palatable to the western minds. Either "well, animism and demonic possession isn't something we Africans believe in." Or "animism is a search to free the soul and to connect to all things." Or modern westernized Moslems saying with a straight face the Koran doesn't say something when all Moslems in the middle east or for centuries have always believed the Koran does say that thing. "O, Mohammed's youngest wife ...no, no, she was 20!" "Oh... no, the Koran doesn't say to kill Jews." "Oh, the Koran believes in a God of love."
really enlightenment is never good
Butler: not the fake kind that permeates the world at least
me: Laughing very loud
Butler: because what seems to follow is pride, which then ruins whatever lesson might have been learned. It's hard.
me: nothing more annoying to me than some black character showing how enlightened he is by not "believing in God like other black folk." Oh, he's so deep and freethinking, you know! He's shaken off the evil white imperialistic Christian God by taking on the white enlightened freethinking atheism.
me: and who says something sooo dumbly deeply shallow, which has been said many times before, but which americans totally eat up
Butler: and a lot of Europe too for that matter
me: and Africans
Butler: generally it seems that if it is seen as deep in Europe, it will be seen as deep here
Butler: particularly if an Englishman with a great accent says it. ..it's automatically intellectual
me: yeah, sometimes a european says something so shallow it's like... really, really????
or if it's tossed off by some teenager who is honest and hip and deeply searching. Aaargh!