Last Post for the Semester

In Bharati Mukherjee’s book, “Holder of the World,” one of the characters is an “asset-hunter.” Essentially her job is to seek out things that have value. This sounds specific, but I somewhat doubt it. An asset-hunter is simply someone searching for what is valuable. Don’t we all do that?

The following is a video from TED (one which a “steve thomas” posted a comment on about a month ago) that, I think, deals with the relationship between our self and what we determine has value. Plus, it’s a talk given by Adam Savage — so it’s bound to be good.

I really don’t want to try to sum up a semester of stuff in one blog, so I’m just going to talk about this value thing a little more. My current object is to memorize the Galaxy Song from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. Why? Well, why not? I suppose that would be the existentialist answer. But I think it’s a bad answer, because there are reasons — it’s not arbitrary that Adam is trying with such fervor to create replicas of the two birds. He chose to recreate the Dodo, but why not some other dead critter? He could have chosen from any number of extinct animals, yet he picked the Dodo. Part of his decision was undoubtedly formed by what information is available. He isn’t bombarded by images of extinct marine mammals, so he doesn’t construct a marine mammal.

But there is another factor that I think Mukherjee hits on. She says often that there are no accidents. I take this to mean that she believes in fate, and since the novel is essentially a romance story that makes complete sense. But not really. Here is my perspective:  Just because something is “accidental” doesn’t make it any less meaningful. You may meet the love of your life through a freak series of events (traveling from Boston to London to India to transform from a Puritan housewife into “Precious-as-Pearl,” the Salem Bibi), but you may meet through no contrivances at all.

Because if the universe isn’t going to provide us with contrivances — wouldn’t it be impossible for us to find love? Doesn’t the whole romance-destined-to-be mentality box some of us into a place with No Space? Are those who never find true love so hated by the universe that they are doomed to be alone? It seems like Mukherjee dropped the ball by following that common ideology of love. I can really suspend my disbelief that Hannah went through all of what she did before coming to love — yes, I can suspend my disbelief of the contrivances and plot devices. What I can’t accept is that she still, even with the story of the asset hunter, attributes value or love to a kind of fate. Fate is about the end of the matter, but the important stuff (as Adam points out at the end of his talk) is never the thing itself. Is the point of reading a book to finish a book or is the point of reading a book reading a book?

Well, for a class it could be to finish a book…

~Hopefully that suffices for an end of the semester blog~

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