Seedcorn 3: The End of the Envoy

Seedcorn is now posted.

Three of Four.

IN this episode is my conceit of how political conflict is resolved, as seen from the moral foundation of a philosophy one might call Occidentalized Taoism.

Real Taoism is quietist, a philosophy of renunciation and submission to fate. Occidentals, informed by Christian thought even when we do not realize it, cannot accept true fatalism or true renunciation. The furthest we of the West tend to go in that direction is toward stoicism, or pragmatism, or the idea that ideals are worth pursuing even if they cannot be enacted.

Whether or not Ursula K LeGuin herself fits into the category o an Occidentalized Taoist, I could not speculate; but I do note that some of her characters and themes reflect such a philosophy.

I do not regard her, for example, as a pacifist, as I doubt EYE OF HERON would have been written by someone jejune enough to take pacifism seriously. There are elements of Oriental quietism in some of her writings, as, for example in LATHE OF HEAVEN, where resignation is portrayed as preferable to the problem-solving, which is portrayed the fussiness of a busybody if not the hubris of a Dr. Frankenstein.

But the quietism, in her stories, seems more akin to the civic disobedience of the revolutionary unwilling to revolt.

I note that the obvious lapse in the short story “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas” — namely, that none of the walkers walk to the nearest arsenal, arm themselves, and return to destroy the evil city with sword and fire — has the same mood as that of THE DISPOSSESSED, where some sort of radical revolution seems desirable, but not actionable.

Such at least is the author’s attempt in the portrayal of the protagonist here. As ever, the reader is the final judge, from whose judgment there is no appeal.