Sunday, 16 July 2017

Naked Survival

Many of SM Stirling's Changelings believe that they live more authentically than the "ancients" (us) because they know the important things, how to farm, fight, hunt etc. See here. I suggest that what the Changelings know is survival skills and that human life is more than survival. Of course, post-Change life has not been reduced to a continual struggle for mere survival. There are also satisfying social interactions, cultural traditions and the genuine enjoyment of the fruits of their labours. Nevertheless, what they value is knowledge of survival strategies that most of us no longer need to spend our time on because we have been freed to develop other potentialities.

Poul Anderson's Time Patrolman Manse Everard mentally lists the pros and cons and then the legacy of the Roman Empire:

slave traders
tax farmers
sadistic games

a widened world

Legacy ("scattered through the wreckage")
memories of what once was
stuff to be salvaged, treasured and built with again
the memory of "...a life not given over to naked survival."
-Poul Anderson, "Star of the Sea" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, NY, 2006), pp. 467-640) AT p. 604.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree with no qualifiers, there is more to life than knowledge of survival skills and technologies, important and necessary as they are to the post-Chang survivors. Rather, they should be used as a base on which to build "...a life not given over to naked survival," to again quote Manse Everard.

Albeit, how FAR can post-Change societies advance if they simply CAN'T use any kind of high tech (gun powder, steam power, electricity, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, powered flight, SPACE ships)?