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Eugene Rybakov
Eugene Rybakov

Humankind: Solidarity With Non-Human People Ebook Rar 1

The men and women in the crowd argued with her and with one another. They kept crossing the road, and some came inside the wall. Yet they did more or less clear the way. If the foreman had no experience in bossing a mob, they had no experience in being one. Members of a community, not elements of a collectivity, they were not moved by mass feeling; there were as many emotions there as there were people. And they did not expect commands to be arbitrary, so they had no practice in disobeying them. Their inexperience saved the passenger's life.

Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People ebook rar 1

Shevek automatically shook his head. With the grace of a prestidigitator the doctor slid the needle into his right arm. Shevek submitted to this and other injections in silence. He had no right to suspicion or protest. He had yielded himself up to these people; he had given up his birthright of decision. It was gone, fallen away from him along with bis world, the world of the Promise, the barren stone.

Mitis, though a splendid teacher, had never been able to follow him into the new areas of theory that he had with her encouragement, begun to explore. Gvarab was the only person he had met whose training and ability were comparable to his own, and be and Gvarab had met too late, at the very end of her life. Since those days Shevek had worked with many people of talent, but because he had never been a full-time member of the Abbenay Institute, he had never been able to take them far enough; they remained bogged down in the old problems, the classical Sequency physics. He had had no equals. Here, in the realm of inequity, he met them at last.

He was driven out into the country in hired cars, splendid machines of bizarre elegance. There were not many of them on the roads: the hire was expensive, and few people owned a car privately, because they were heavily taxed. All such luxuries which if freely allowed to the public would tend to drain irreplaceable natural resources or to foul the environment with waste products were strictly controlled by regulation and taxation. His guides dwelt on this with some pride. A-Io had led the world for centuries, they said, in ecological control and the husbanding of natural resources. The excesses of the Ninth Millennium were ancient history, their only lasting effect being the shortage of certain metals, which fortunately could be imported from the Moon.

He would have liked to talk to some of those sturdy, self-respecting-looking people he saw in the small towns, to ask them for instance if they considered themselves to be poor; for if these were the poor, he had to revise his understanding of the word. But there never seemed to be time, with all his guides wanted him to see.

The squares, the austere streets, the low buildings, the unwalled workyards, were charged with vitality and activity. As Shevek walked he was constantly aware of other people walking, working, talking, faces passing, voices calling, gossiping, singing, people alive, people doing things, people afoot. Workshops and factories fronted on squares or on their open yards, and their doors were open. He passed a glassworks, the workman dipping up a great molten blob as casually as a cook serves soup. Next to it was a busy yard where foamstone was cast for construction. The gang foreman, a big woman in a smock white with dust, was supervising the pouring of a cast with a loud and splendid flow of language. After that came a small wire factory, a district laundry, a luthier's where musical instruments were made and repaired, the district small-goods distributory, a theater, a tile works. The activity going on in each place was fascinating, and mostly out in full view. Children were around, some involved in the work with the adults, some underfoot making mudpies, some busy with games in the street, one sitting perched up on the roof of the learning center with her nose deep in a book. The wiremaker had decorated the shopfront with patterns of vines worked in painted wire, cheerful and ornate. The blast of steam and conversation from the wide-open doors of the laundry was overwhelming- No doors were locked, few shut. There were no disguises and no advertisements. It was all there, all the work, all the life of the city, open to the eye and to the hand. And every now and then down Depot Street a thing came careering by clanging a bell, a vehicle crammed full of people and with people festooned on stanchions all over the outside, old women cursing heartily as it failed to slow down at their stop so they could scramble off, a little boy on a homemade tricycle pursuing it madly, electric sparks showering blue from the overhead wires at crossings: as if that quiet intense vitality of the streets built up every now and then to discharge point, and leapt the gap with a crash and a blue crackle and the smell of ozone. These were the Abbenay omnibuses, and as they passed one felt like cheering.

Gvarab was old enough that she often wandered and maundered. Attendance at her lectures was small and uneven. She soon picked out the thin boy with big ears as her one constant auditor- She began to lecture for him. The light, steady, intelligent eyes met hers, steadied her, woke her, she flashed to brilliance, regained the vision lost. She soared, and the other students in the room looked up confused or startled, even scared if they had the wits to be scared. Gvarab saw a much larger universe than most people were capable of seeing, and it made them blink. The light-eyed boy watched her steadily. In his face she saw her joy. What she offered, what she had offered for a whole lifetime, what no one had ever shared with her, he took, he shared. He was her brother, across the gulf of fifty years, and her redemption.

Thus Sbevek discovered that not only petroleum and mercury went back and forth between the sundered worlds, and not only books, such as the books he had been reading, but also letters. Letters! Letters to propertarians, to subjects of governments founded on the inequity of power, to individuals who were inevitably exploited by and exploiters of others, because they had consented to be elements in the State-Machine. Did such people actually exchange ideas with free people in a nonaggressive, voluntary manner? Could they really admit equality and participate in intellectual solidarity, or were they merely trying to dominate, to assert their power, to possess? The idea of actually exchanging letters with a propertarian alarmed him, but it would be interesting to find out.

There was always a dessert at the Institute refectory at dinner. Shevek enjoyed it very much, and when there were extras he took them. And his conscience, his organic-societal conscience, got indigestion. Didn't everybody at every refectory, from Abbenay to Uttermost, get the same, share and share alike? He had always been told so and had always found it so. Of course there were local variations: regional specialties, shortages, surpluses, makeshifts in situations such as Project Camps, poor cooks, good cooks, in fact an endless variety within the unchanging framework. But no cook was so talented that he could make a dessert without the makings. Most refectories served dessert once or twice a decad. Here it was served nightly. Why? Were the members of the Central Institute of the Sciences better than other people?

Shevek did not ask these questions of anyone else. The Social conscience, the opinion of others, was the most powerful moral force motivating the behavior of most Anarresti, but it was a little less powerful in him than in most of them. So many of his problems were of a kind other people did not understand that he had got used to working them out for himself, in silence. So he did with these problems, which were much harder for him, in some ways, than those of temporal physics. He asked no one's opinion. He stopped taking dessert at the refectory.

The conversation went on for half an hour. It was the first time Shevek had been asked, on Urras, to describe Anarres. The children asked the questions, but the parents listened with interest. Shevek kept out of the ethical mode with some scrupulousness; he was not there to propagandize his host's children. He simply told them what the Dust was like, what Abbenay looked like, what kind of clothes one wore, what people did when they wanted new clothes, what children did in school. This last became propaganda, despite his intentions. Ini and Aevi were entranced by his description of a curriculum that included fanning, carpentry, sewage reclamation, printing, plumbing, roadmending, playwriting, and all the other occupations of the adult community, and by his admission that nobody was ever punished for anything.

It was surprising: people seemed to have been waiting for him. They included him, welcomed him, invited him as bedfellow and companion. They took him about with them, and within three decads he learned more about Abbenay than he had in a year. He went with groups of cheerful young people to athletic fields, craft centers, swimming pools, festivals, museums, theaters, concerts.

Bedap had made many friends, an erratic and disaffected lot, and some of them took a liking to the shy man. He felt no closer to them than to the more conventional people he knew at the Institute, but he found their independence of mind more interesting. They preserved autonomy of conscience even at the cost of becoming eccentric. Some of them were intellectual nuchnibi who had not worked on a regular posting for years. Shevek disapproved of them severely, when he was not with them.

General Havevert, the President, got away safe in his famous armored airplane, but some lesser generals were caught and emasculated, a punishment the Benbili traditionally preferred to execution. The retreating army burned the fields and towns of their people as they went Guerrilla partisans harried the army. The revolutionaries in Meskti, the capital, opened the Jails, giving amnesty to all prisoners. Reading that, Shevek's heart leapt. There was hope, there was still hope...He followed the news of the distant revolution with increasing intensity. On the fourth day. watching a telefax broadcast of debate in the Council of World Governments, he saw the loti ambassador to the CWG announce that A-Io, rising to the support of the democratic government of Benbili, was sending armed reinforcements to President-General Havevert.




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