Friday, February 6, 2009

The Story of B

I read this book a couple of weeks ago, but I never got around to reviewing it because I wanted the review to be something special. See, the book itself, by Daniel Quinn, is not really very different from Ishmael. Much of the story is the same, which is to say, it's actually a series of lectures about how we look at the world and what we might ought to rethink. (You like my Oklahoma-ism there? Might ought? Such a great way to express that. Wait. Is that an Oklahomaism? Or would that be might should? Hm. Food for thought.)

But the effect it had on me this time, for my personal life and living everyday, was much greater. I liked Ishmael's point but I thought it didn't apply to me as much in that I was already heading in that direction, it didn't give me a lot to think about that I'd never ever ever thought of before, it just sort of highlighted it for me. Still important, but this time I feel even more spurred into action, and I've realized what it is that I can and should be doing to help.

Anyway...this story is about a priest who is asked to investigate the teachings of a person who is called B, with the intent of finding out if he might be the Antichrist. I have to say I liked the actual STORY part of this book better than Ishmael, but it's still obviously not the point of the book, I think. I think the point of the book is to get the message across, and in that way, I loved the ending. But also, this book reminded me of something very important. You see, I tend to be of the "live and let live" school of thought. I often just sit there and stay quiet, stay under cover really, when people say things that I think are outrageous, or misguided, or whatever. For an example, when a certain person I know was discussing alligators and crocodiles and how she doesn't see any point to their existence and we don't need them and let's get rid of them all and blah blah blah...I was thinking Good Lord, how self-centered can humankind be, that if we don't personally recognize a need we have for them we think they shouldn't exist? It's not like they're a threat to her, it's not like she's ever going to see one face to face, but we humans seem to have a lot of trouble letting other creatures be...we seem to think we need to control it all, a right to control it all, and I think that is oh-so-wrong. But I didn't say anything. I just sat there.

Not anymore. This book reminded me that it's important to spread your message. Especially when that message might help some people stop thinking in ways that are potentially going to be very detrimental to life on this planet. Of course, the croc example is just a very minor, minute kind of example of more broad ways of thinking, but if I want my children and my children's children and so on to have a real chance at living sustainably on this earth instead of destroying it, it starts with me. And, I want my children to know how I feel about things, what my values are. I can't do that without putting them out there!

Therefore, read The Story of B. Everyone should at least be exposed to its ideas, whether or not you agree. And for the record, I don't necessarily agree with every single piece of the lectures. But for the most part, I think these are things people need to be considering and sharing with others. And now that's what I'm going to try to do more of.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that a lot of people can't see that there could possibly be a point to anything that they don't personally "get." It's very common among students. "I don't see how I'm ever going to USE this knowledge, therefore it MUST be useLESS, and stop bothering me with it." As if we could ever see well enough into our own futures to know what types of knowledge we are going to need. Where on earth did this start? well, in education, and perhaps in religion, it might have started with the idea that what we learn really has to be "relevant." oh, short-sighted and self-centere people, wake up!