Wednesday, 22 January 2014
"Clark wasn't a human being. He was an alien from outer space..." (p. 15)
As I said when discussing Greed, I do not think that this sort of language is an appropriate way to introduce a character in a novel. Need it even be said? Does anyone read these novels without already knowing where Clark is from? If so, then they can be allowed to realize Clark's significance more gradually and subtly than with stock phrases like "...an alien from outer space..."
I recently mentioned references in the TV series to two Greek myths, Prometheus and Pandora. Cassandra, the Greek prophetess who was always right but never believed, is also referred to both in a TV episode and in Curse, where Lex reads a book called Cassandra's Secret which argues that ancient civilizations collapsed because all their decisions were based on alleged divine messages in dreams, visions or auditory hallucinations whereas social complexity required internal reflection and rational thought which then duly emerged, banishing the "messages."
Civilization comprises cities supported by agricultural production of an economic surplus. I think that agriculture, architecture and administration require reasoned discussion and cooperation, thus that pre-rational consciousness would not cause civilizations to collapse but prevent them from starting. Richard Dawkins suggests that the Neolithic Revolution was caused either by the birth of language or by a linguistic revolution like the creation of conditional clauses.