[lit-ideas] Re: Social Darwinism or Darwinian Socialism?

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 14:27:12 -0500

I never said reading is worthless.  All I'm saying is that if this is mankind's 
big achievement, big deal.  Yes, it's a great escape, but humanity's big brain 
creates an environment that needs escaping.  What do you think of the fact (not 
my opinion, a fact) that the rainforests will be wiped off the face of the 
earth in 40 years, that mankind with its big brain is exterminating 50,000 
species a year, and so on and so on?  Why do you think Israel is necessary?  
Why do you think Napoleon is synonymous with victory instead of murder?  What 
do you think of my analogy that if a dog had as much food as would fit into a 
McMansion and still needed to take other dogs' daily rations, we'd think he was 
sick, but when people do it, we bow down to greatness.  Essentially, Marlena, 
humans pat themselves on the back for being barbarians and priding themselves 
on acting like dogs.  Humans are so proud to be a species that lights an 
occasional candle in the darkness, and it never occurs to t
 hem that maybe if they'd stop creating the darkness they could have a lot more 

----- Original Message ----- 
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 12/29/2005 1:19:37 PM 
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Social Darwinism or Darwinian Socialism?

Hi, Andy--(for the Andy part of Irene seems to be the part of her/him who spins 
the most in terms of wondering about the value of Life and Humanity...),

Do you really think that reading does no good for humanity?  Has done no good?  
Would you be better or worse off if you could not read?  Remember--many of 
those movies you like to watch would (probably) not exist without things like 
scripts, etc.  You'd be forced to go to your local library and watch live 
performances or watch plays at your local theatre...and not stay in the comfort 
of your own home.

I know that even the escapist literature for children has assisted many of 
those abused ones to which you often refer.  Getting a library card has totally 
changed some of their lives--even one of the best young adult authors [for 
boys, esp] that I have heard speak, Gary Paulsen, addresses that issue--he was 
raised by his father-an alcoholic and basically lived most of his life in the 
woods. When the local librarian suggested that he get a library card, he could 
not believe it was 'free' and that HE could have something of his very own. It 
was, he said, the first thing he ever had that was totally 'his' and it 
completely changed his life. (he spoke at a conference of librarians once)  
With his being able to read and 'escape' his world, he recognized its value and 
became a writer himself--and his books are great for that audience.

One section of children's literature deals with the issue of bibliotherapy--of 
which, I am sure, Irene is familiar (but not Andy <g>).  There is so much 
research done on how that assists, especially children, in terms of dealing 
with issues of Life which affect them. (some changes and issues are healthy and 
some are not--but change for many, whether leading to constructive good or not, 
is often difficult)

In fact, what caught my eye in your post was the Jungian sychronicity thing 
again.  That is, I had just gotten done looking at this piece in the One World 
update that I receive.

Do you really think that reading is completely worthless and does not affect 
humanity in a positive way?  If so, then would 'politicians' really want to 
keep people illiterate?  

There are other thoughts that I have in regards to your posts on 
children/parenting/health of a community/etc.  Mostly I wonder what child 
advocacy organizations that you are involved with that are affecting change?  
Very gently I will agree with you that the need is great--and that your care 
and concern would be most welcome in a local Boys and Girls Club, a Campfire 
Organization, a Girl Scout or Brownie troop, one of the local CASA 
organizations (those are the Child Advocates within the justice system who are 
'there' as advocates when a child is taken into a foster home, is involved in a 
nasty custody case, an abused situation, etc.  They are connected to the local 
court systems and, I believe, are always looking and needing people who are 
willing to be trained and dedicated to assisting these children.)  In addition, 
there are battered women/men's shelters who often are in need of assistance. (I 
took a group of boys to one yesterday to help break d own a 'holiday store' th
 at served about 50 kids this season...most of them in really crummy 

There is an organization called Youth Friends which is sweeping the nation. If 
it is not in your area, I will be delighted to put you in touch with the ones 
who can assist you in getting it set up in your school district. An adult is 
trained, screened--and then matched with either a child or small group of 
children--and meets with the child during the school day [often during the 
kid's lunch time] and will do all sorts of things with/for him/her.  Often it 
is reading to the child--for few, as you know, get read to [and the results of 
not having literate parents is, in spite of what you say above <g>, hard for a 
child to deal with and so being read to is a treat. Well, it's still a treat 
for me, actually, and I'm a grown-up!]  Sometimes the adult will help the kid 
out with various subject needs--and sometimes they just meet and talk.  There 
are so many kids, all around the country, who have signed up for this 
program--and it is harder and harder to get volunteers as the people
  who work for corporations or even small businesses are not allowed time off 
to participate.  (part of our wonderful globalized and commercial culture which 
does not see itself as part of a community--but that is another topic)  

I, too, often get 'tipped over the edge' and can easily enter into despair over 
how the Other is treated. I have found that actively *doing* and *helping* gets 
one 'out there' in order to see the incredible people who have dedicated 
themselves to making the world.

If you could only meet some of them--put your shoulder next to theirs--you 
would see that even a small candle lit helps to create more light.

Reading--oh, reading!  It DOES help create light.  It does so much more than 
you can possibly imagine!  

Use that empathy thing within yourself--and imagine what your life would be 
like if YOU could not read!  

Why, we would not even be able to communicate with each other on this list!  
And how much richer are our lives because of the thoughts of one another just 

Marlena in Missouri
(29 dec 2005) Chairman of Infosys Technologies
Limited N.R. Narayana Murthy on Wednesday said
corruption has become pervasive in institutions
in the country and there is a strong incentive
for politicians to keep people ignorant and
-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Amago <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 11:19:54 -0500
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Social Darwinism or Darwinian Socialism?

What a great achievement that humans can read.  Wow.  That their reading
does them not one whit of good is unmentioned.  No love is required to
reproduce, only sex.  Sex, money, food are what make humans "human".  Money
is used to buy food and sex.  And some of us are appalled by WWII.  Most
don't care about it or don't know about it except to glamorize it and wish
they looked like G.I. Joe dolls.  When it comes to being a successful
human, the lower the standards, the better.

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