Friday, May 04, 2007

A Book I'm Reading


Last night I sat down to read, like I do most nights, since TV has nothing redeeming showing these days. Currently I’m reading “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess.
No, Stanley Kubrick did not write it, he only made a pretty poor film out of a really ingenious book.
Anyway… Last night I read a passage that I really had to think about. The passage is this:

‘Of course it was horrible,’ smiled Dr Branom. ‘Violence is a very horrible thing. That’s what you’re learning now. Your body is learning it.’
‘But,’ I said, ‘I don’t understand. I don’t understand about feeling sick like I did. I never used to feel sick before. I used to feel like the opposite. I mean, doing it or watching it I used to feel real horrorshow (good or well). I just don’t understand why or how or what – ‘
‘Life is a very wonderful thing,’ said Dr Branom in a like very holy goloss (voice). ‘The processes of life, the make-up of the human organism, who can fully understand these miracles? Dr Brodsky is, of course, a remarkable man. What is happening to you now is what should happen to any normal healthy human organism contemplating the actions of the forces of evil, the workings of the principle of destruction. You are being made sane, you are being made healthy.’

And then in the margin I wrote this:
Only God can make a soul and give it a conscience. Therefore only God can make a Man. All man can do is make a soulless Clockwork Orange. An automaton. Soulless, Godless, Spiritless… unable to do wrong, but also unable to love or foster the same. Is the Clockwork really a man?

In this case, and in the case of the book (read it if you haven’t yet) an “Orange” refers to the Malay word in Orangutan. Meaning something like “people of the forest,” and so Orange comes from Orang meaning Man. A Clockwork Man = a robot.

So, I guess what I’m saying that I'm getting from this book so far is that… we can teach our children to love, to obey, to be courteous, and to love God… but at some point we have to let them go and allow them to make their own choice, because it is that agency that makes us truly… human.

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