Categories
Uncategorized

Vikings : Documentary on Viking Life and Culture

http://www.marineinsight.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/VikingShip.jpg

Vikings

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=upE1gy_Qsfs]

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=9C9c_dEhzbE]

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=KfR1T-Npl5I]

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=76AlJZuywXo]

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=DOi3ic3LYHM]

Categories
Uncategorized

First Out of Africa – The totally isolated Tribe of the Andaman

File:Great Andamanese couple.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2d/Andamanese_languages-map.jpg

Territory of the Andamanese peoples in the late 19th century

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=p6I6L8b6mQs]

The term Negrito refers to several ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia. Their current populations include 12 Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, six Semang peoples of Malaysia, the Mani of Thailand, and the Aeta, Agta, Ati, and 30 other peoples of the Philippines.

Genetically, Negritos are the most distant human population from Africans at most loci studied thus far (except for MC1R, which codes for dark skin).

They have also been shown to have separated early from other Asians, suggesting that they are either surviving descendants of settlers from an early migration out of Africa, commonly referred to as the Proto-Australoids, a term first used by Roland Burrage Dixon in his 1923 book Racial History of Man, or negroids, or that they are descendants of one of the founder populations of modern humans.

The Proto-Australoids’ were an ancient hunter-gatherer people descended from the first major wave of modern humans to leave Africa 50,000 years ago. Characterised by gracile body types, they are thought to have had dark skin colour approaching black and wavy or curly black hair. They had long heads and broad, flat noses just like the inhabitants of Modern day Oceania and Africa.

The proto-Australoids are thought to have begun their exodus out of Africa roughly 100,000 years ago. They are thought to have used a simple form of watercraft to cross the narrow span of water between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

From there it is hypothesized that they followed a coastal route through south Asia into Southeast Asia. While some individuals made a short oceanic voyage into Australia (50-60 thousand years ago), giving rise to the Australian Aborigines, others continued their coastal migration north into East Asia.

Proponents of a proto-Australoid population wave theorize that remnants of this early founding population may be found today in Southern portion of the subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Some have proposed connections to the Ainu of Japan. Genetically, they have been tentatively associated by some authors with mtDNA haplogroup M and Y-chromosome Haplogroup C, the earliest Homo Sapiens lineages thought to have migrated outside of Africa.

Negritos may have also lived in Taiwan, where they were called the “Little Black People”. Apart from being short-statured, they were also said to be broad-nosed and dark-skinned with curly hair. The little black population shrank to the point that, up to 100 years ago, only one small group lived near the Saisiyat tribe.

A festival celebrated by the Saisiyat gives evidence to their former habitation of Taiwan. The Saisiyat tribe celebrate the black people in a festival called Pas-ta’ai.

The word “Negrito” is the Spanish diminutive of negro, i.e., “little black person”, referring to their small stature, and was coined by early European explorers.

Occasionally, some Negritos are referred to as pygmies, bundling them with peoples of similar physical stature in Central Africa, and likewise, the term Negrito was previously occasionally used to refer to African Pygmies.

Many on-line dictionaries give the plural in English as either ‘negritos’ or ‘negritoes’, without preference. The plural in Spanish is ‘negritos’.

According to James J.Y. Liu, a professor of comparative literature, the Chinese term Kun-lun means Negrito.

Great Andamanese is a collective term used to refer to related indigenous peoples who lived throughout most of the Great Andaman archipelago, the main group of islands in the Andaman Islands; and also to their present-day descendants, living since 1970 on Strait Island.

The Great Andamanese were originally divided into ten major tribes, with distinct but closely related languages comprising one of the two identified families of indigenous Andamanese languages, the Great Andamanese family.

The Great Andamanese were clearly related to the other four major indigenous groups in the Andaman islands, but were well separated from them by culture and geography. The languages of those other four groups were only distantly related to those of the Great Andamanese and mutually unintelligible; they are classified in a separate family, the Ongan languages.

Once the most numerous of the five major groups in the Andaman Islands, with an estimated population between 2,000 and 6,600 the Great Andamanese were heavily decimated by diseases, alcohol, colonial warfare and loss of hunting territory.

Only 52 remained as of February 2010, and the tribal and lingusitic distinctions have largely disappeared, so they may now considered a single Great Andamanese ethnic group with mixed Burmese, Hindi and aboriginal descent.

The Great Andamanese are classified by anthropologists as one of the Negrito peoples, which also include the other four aboriginal groups of the Andaman islands (Onge, Jarawa, Jangil and Sentinelese) and a few other isolated populations of East Asia. The Andaman Negritos are thought to be the first inhabitants of the islands, having emigrated from the mainland tens of thousands of years ago.

Until the late 18th century, the Andamanese peoples were preserved from outside influences by their fierce rejection of contacts (which included killing any shipwrecked foreigners) and by the remoteness of the islands. Thus the ten Great Andamanese tribes and the other four indigenous groups are thought to have diverged on their own over the course of millennia.

Today only two tribes (Jeru and Bo) remain in significant number; the Kari tribe was on its way to extinction. There are still a few people (all elderly) with partial Kora and Pucikwar descent, but they identify themselves as either Jeru or Bo.

However, the cultural and linguistic identities of the individual tribes have largely been lost; their members now speak mostly Hindi or a mixed language, a Great Andamanese creole.

Although the Great Andamanese on Strait Island still obtain some of their diet from hunting, fishing and gathering, they now consume rice and other Indian food, and are dependent on support by the Indian government for survival. They now practice some agriculture, and have established some poultry farms.

Negrito

Proto-Australoids

Great Andamanese people

Categories
Uncategorized

Birth of Civilization

The earliest civilsations in the Middle East. Map by S.H. Perrin

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=rKuwTKEXNwY]

History of man from nomadic hunter-gatherer to the invention of written communication.

Categories
Uncategorized

Stories Of The Old Testament

https://erobison.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/books-of-the-old-testament.jpg

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=UDvgU2JF8tY]

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=vVmbXxWeimg]

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=cx5QWrbekYc]

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=9aSdJMIlR-I]

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=PFJK-sPNip0]

Categories
Uncategorized

A Story of the Stone Age

A Story of the Stone Age by H. G. Wells

“A Story of the Stone Age” is a short story written in 1897 by H.G. Wells. The story was featured in three parts between May and August 1897 in The Idler magazine, and was later released in collected editions. The story is set during the Stone Age, and tells of a caveman named Ugh-lomi, who kills his rival, the de facto tribal leader Uya. Whilst in exile, Ugh-lomi becomes the first man to combine stone and wood to fashion an axe. He uses this weapon, along with his wits, to claim the position of tribal leader for himself.

A Story of the Stone Age

Categories
Uncategorized

Stories from the Stone Age

Image

Stories from the Stone Age

Screenshot:

Image
Image
http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/9558/storiesfromthestoneagesml9.jpg

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=-7bqi70B3tE&list=PL7B3FB937EAFF781D]

Stories from the Stone Age

History Documentary published by Others in 2003 – English narration

Information

An exploration of the revolutionary period of prehistory that began when humans abandoned the nomadic hunting and gathering existence they had known for millennia to take up a completely new way of life – the decisive move to farming and herding the ration of permanent settlements and the discovery of metals setting the stage for the arrival of the world’s first civilisation.

Stories from the Stone Age ask some intriguing questions. Why did some of our ancestors never become farmers at all?
Why do some still continue hunting and gathering despite their contact with farming people and advanced technologies?
How and why did our paths become uniquely shaped after emerging as a species from a single genetic family in Africa?

Based on extensive research, Stories from the Stone Age takes us on a journey where we get to live alongside our ancestors as they cross between the Old and the New Worlds and into Civilisation. The series utilises detailed re-enactments and short interviews with key archaeological experts.

1) Daily Bread

Daily Bread begins 15,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, when the world became warmer and wetter. Landscapes were changing everywhere, and plants and animals were flourishing. It was a hunter-gatherer’s paradise. In the Middle East, the nomads were about to change the world forever.

2) Urban Dream

Shows the early Europeans 12,000 years ago, living a hard life in nomadic bands. For hundreds of generations they had followed the wild herds, depending on them for survival. But they were about to face a new challenge.

3) Waves of Change

The Stone Age was a turning point for our species. This program examines how the arrival of metal revolutionised the European economy. By the period’s conclusion, the seeds of the world as we know it today had already been sown.

Technical Specs

Video Codec: XviD MPEG-4 codec
Video Bitrate: 1876 KB/s
Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Video Resolution: 688 x 384
Audio Codec: MPEG-1 Layer 3 (MP3)
Audio BitRate: 128 KB/s (CBR)
Audio Channels: 2 Ch
RunTime: 00:52
Framerate: 25 FPS
Number Of Parts: 3
Part Size: 744 MB
Encoded by: gavin63
Subtitles: No TV Cap
Source: DVB

Related Documentaries

America’s Stone Age Explorers

Cannibals of the Stone Age

Sex in the Stone Age

Gobeklitepe:The.Worlds First Temple

Stone Age Apocalypse

Stone Age Atlantis

America’s Stone Age Explorers

Ape Man

Journey of Man

Stone Age Columbus

The Ascent of Man

The Day we Learned to Think

The Great Leap Forward

Treasures from the Past

What is Human

Categories
Uncategorized

Aratta and rta

Asha (aša) is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic language ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.”

The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.” Avestan druj, like its Vedic Sanskrit cousin druh, appears to derive from the PIE root dhreugh, also continued in Persian d[o]rūġ “lie”, German Trug “fraud, deception”. Old Norse draugr and Middle Irish airddrach mean “spectre”, “spook”. The Sanskrit cognate druh means “affliction, afflicting demon”.

The significance of the term is complex, with a highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of ‘truth’ and ‘right (eousness)’, ‘order’ and ‘right working’.

Its Old Persian equivalent is arta-. In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard-. The word is also the proper name of the divinity Asha, the Amesha Spenta that is the hypostasis or “genius” of “Truth” or “Righteousness”. In the Younger Avesta, this figure is more commonly referred to as Asha Vahishta (Aša Vahišta, Arta Vahišta), “Best Truth”.

The main theme of the Rig Veda – “the truth and the gods” – is not evident in the Gathas. Thematic parallels between aša/arta and ŗtá- do however exist, for instance in Yasht 10, the Avestan hymn to Mithra: there, Mithra, who is the hypostasis and preserver of covenant, is the protector of aša/arta. Rig Vedic Mitra is likewise preserver of ŗtá-.

The correspondence between ‘truth’, reality, and an all-encompassing cosmic principle is not far removed from Heraclitus’ conception of Logos.

Mesh (Mitra) and ṛtá (arta)

Muṣaṣir

Atar

Asha

Assyria

Ashur

Aratta

Urartu

Mount Ararat

Ararat plain

Ararat Province

Ildtilbederne

Categories
Uncategorized

The Super Rich

Super-rich woman in money coat

Extravagant: Advisor to the super-wealthy, Charles Shaker (centre), flaunted his wealth by buying a £330,000 bottle of champagne at a Monaco club. Most of Britain's super-wealthy work in finance

Late breaking:

Forbes has just announced it is updating its Billionaires rankings in real time now. The latest counts show that over the last month the number of billionaires whose net worth equals that of the 3.5 billion poorest people has fallen to 66.

The 67 People As Wealthy As The World’s Poorest 3.5 Billion

The Super Rich and the Rest of Us

The Super Rich Are Richer Than We Thought, Hiding Huge Sums…”So where is all this wealth going? Alot of the money is held in offshore tax havens — far more than previously known.”

The Super Rich Are Richer Than We Thought, Hiding Huge Sums, New Reports Find

Oxfam International, a poverty fighting organization, made news at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year with its report that the world’s 85 richest people own assets with the same value as those owned by the poorer half of the world’s population, or 3.5 billion people (including children). Both groups have $US 1.7 trillion. That’s $20 billion on average if you are in the first group, and $486 if you are in the second group.

Oxfam’s calculations of the richest individuals are based on the 2013 Forbes Billionaires list. I decided to take a closer look at this group of 85 in search of trends. That’s when I realized that they are by now a much wealthier group. The rich got richer. And it was quite fast and dramatic. For example, while last year it took $23 billion to be in the top 20 of the world’s billionaires, this year it took $31 billion, according to Luisa Kroll, Forbes wealth editor, writing on Forbes.com.

As a result, by the time Forbes published its 2014 Billionaires List in early March, it took only 67 of the richest peoples’ wealth to match the poorer half of the world. (For the purpose of this blog, I will put aside the conversation about the importance of income inequality versus impoverishment. This has recently been skewing strongly toward recognition of the importance of income distribution and its inequality, most recently with the publication of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty.)

Each of the 67 is on average worth the same as 52 million people from the bottom of the world’s wealth pyramid. Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, with a net worth of $76 billion, is worth the same as 156 million people from the bottom.

Who are the 67? The biggest group—28 billionaires, or 42% of them—is from the United States. No other country comes close. Germany and Russia have the second-highest number, with six each. The rest are sprinkled among 13 countries in Western Europe, APAC and the Americas.

That the biggest group of the super rich comes from the U.S. should not be a surprise, as the country holds almost a third of the world’s wealth (30%), significantly more than any other country, according to the Global Wealth Databook, from Credit Suisse Research Institute. However, Europe, with a slightly bigger chunk of the world’s wealth (32%), produced substantially fewer of the richest. That is due to less dynamic economies, which do not equal the U.S. in how they foster innovation, on which many of the newest U.S. fortunes are based.

When comparing the ratio of the richest to the percentage of the world’s wealth held by each country, it is Russia that comes out the most lopsided, with its holdings skewed to the super rich. As a country, Russia holds only half a percent of the world’s wealth, and yet it has 9% of the 67 richest.

The 67 fortunes come from three main industries: technology (12), retail (12) and natural resources-based sectors such as oil and gas, mining and steel. The geographical split by industry illustrates the state and progression of the various economies. Almost all technology fortunes are recent and from the U.S. (Microsoft MSFT +2.39%, Oracle, Facebook). Retail is dominated by second- or third-generation Western Europeans. The majority of the rich whose money comes from natural resources are from emerging markets, with most of them from Russia.

The majority of the 67—40, or 60 %, to be precise, are self-made. This rarified group of people thus shows that there is wealth mobility over time in the highest echelons, among both individuals and countries. Had there been less global mobility, the majority of the richest would necessarily have inherited wealth and come from the countries with the oldest fortunes, which are in Western Europe.

Already back in the late 1980s, when Forbes first started to compile its Billionaires list, Western Europe stood apart from the rest of the world, with the majority of its fortunes inherited. That did not provide a long-term edge. Today, just 13 of the 67 come from Western Europe.

Of course, part of the reason behind the high number of self-made fortunes of the 67 lies in economic upheavals, such as the fall of communism or the opening of countries like India, which has allowed for the creation of huge new fortunes over the last couple of decades. And while they are self-made in the sense that they have not been inherited from family members, at least some of them are based on privatizations of formerly state-owned assets, making them the inheritors of their peoples’ wealth.

There will be more mobility among the richest individuals if more of the world’s richest give away their money to philanthropy, expecting future generations to start anew. Out of the 67, eight have signed a giving pledge, promising to leave the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. All but one, Indian billionaire Azim Premji, are from the U.S.

That amount pledged to charity comes to at least $150 billion, assuming half of their fortunes are given away. That means that these eight people have pledged to give to philanthropy what some 309 million people (average members of the group of 3.5 billion poorest) today have.

Presumably, this philanthropy, which has been increasingly systemic—meaning that it aims to create long-term change instead of alleviating immediate needs will in the long run help more than 300 million people.

Turning fortunes over to philanthropy will also drastically change the makeup of the richest, making room for more of the self-made. It has to be noted, however, that not every region of the world is on the same wavelength in this respect, with family legacy in business especially important in Europe

Hunger Statistics

Hunger

Every year, authors, journalists, teachers, researchers, schoolchildren and students ask us for statistics about hunger and malnutrition. To help answer these questions, we’ve compiled a list of useful facts and figures on world hunger.

842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. This number has fallen by 17 percent since 1990.

The vast majority of hungry people (827 million) live in developing countries, where 14.3 percent of the population is undernourished.

 Asia has the largest number of hungry people (over 500 million) but Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence (24.8 percent of population).

 If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.

Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year.

One out of six children — roughly 100 million — in developing countries is underweight.

 One in four of the world’s children are stunted. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.

 80 percent of the world’s stunted children live in just 20 countries.

66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.

WFP calculates that US$3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age children.

WAR

After a decline following the end of the Cold War, military spending increasd, only slightly falling in 2012

World Military Spending

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

James Madison, Political Observations, 1795

Inequality

Trickle-down economics is the greatest broken promise of our lifetime

File:Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.svg

SOS_AT_Maslow Pyramid_130524

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

MASS CLASS

Mass class

Categories
Uncategorized

Suicide is painless

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=2-BtquTKw78]

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=-iwC7cL-jbk]

Is suicide the best thing a human can do for the environment?
Should environmentalists commit mass suicide to save the Earth?

You could argue that any given person would do more good for the environment by devoting their life to convincing their fellow humans to convert their standard of living to a sustainable bare-bones existence. If the person who cares about the environment commits suicide while everyone you might have influenced goes on with their parasitic First World existence for the rest of their lives, then that doesn’t help much.

Categories
Uncategorized

Ursula K. LeGuin: The Dispossessed

http://stagenstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Ursula-K-Le-Guin.jpg

Ursula K. Le Guin

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=ovZ6qgTy3SE]

http://aratta.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/e63eb-ursula2bk2ble2bguin2b-2bthe2bflyers2bof2bgy2b-2ban2binterplanary2btale.gif

Ursula K. Le Guin

Le Guin was born Ursula Kroeber, and raised in Berkeley, California, the daughter of anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber. She graduated from Radcliffe College and studied at Columbia University. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of more than one hundred short stories, four collections of essays, seven volumes of poetry, and nineteen novels. Her best-known fantasy works, the “Earthsea” books, have sold millions of copies and have been translated into sixteen languages.

The Left Hand of Darkness, her first major work of science fiction, is considered epoch-making in the field due to its radical investigation of gender roles as well as its moral and literary complexity.

Le Guin has received the National Book Award, five Hugo Awards, five Nebula Awards, SFWA’s Grand Master, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Howard Vursell Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the L.A. Times Robert Kirsch Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award. She has also been a finalist for the American Book Award three times and once for the Pulitzer Prize.

leguin-the-dispossessed.jpg

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=ebb6V-4c0Xw]

The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed by Ursula K LeGuin

The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia

The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia is a 1974 utopian science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, set in the same fictional universe as that of The Left Hand of Darkness (the Hainish Cycle).

The Dispossessed looks into the mechanisms that may be developed by an anarchist society, but also the dangers of centralization and bureaucracy that might easily take over such society without the continuation of revolutionary ideology.

Part of its power is that it establishes a spectrum of well-developed characters, who illustrate many types of personalities, all educated in an environment that measures people not by what they own, but by what they can do, and how they relate to other human beings.

Possibly the best example of this is the character of Takver, the hero’s partner, who exemplifies many virtues: loyalty, love of life and living things, perseverance, and desire for a true partnership with another person.

However, in order to insure the survival of their society in a harsh environment, the people of Anarres are taught from childhood to put the needs of their society ahead of their own personal desires.

Shevek and Takver, as good Odonians, take work postings away from each other, and Shevek does hard agricultural labor in a dusty desert instead of working on his research, because he is needed there due to a famine.

The work is sometimes said to represent one of the few modern revivals of the utopian genre, and there are many characteristics of a utopian novel found in this book. Most obviously, Shevek is an outsider when he arrives on Urras, following the “traveler” convention common in utopian literature.

All of the characters portrayed in the novel have a certain spirituality or intelligence, there are no nondescript characters. It is also true that there are aspects of Anarres that are utopian: it is presented as a pure society that adheres to its own theories and ideals, which are starkly juxtaposed with Urras society.

When first published, the book included the tagline: “The magnificent epic of an ambiguous utopia!” which was shortened by fans to “An ambiguous utopia” and adopted as a subtitle in certain editions.

The major theme of the work is the ambiguity between different notions of utopia. Anarres is not presented as a perfect society, even within the constraints of what might define an anarchist utopia.

Bureaucracy, stagnation, and power structures have problematized the revolution, as Shevek comes to realize throughout the course of the novel.

Moreover, Le Guin has painted a very stark picture of the natural and environmental constraints on society. Anarres citizens are forced to contend with a relatively sparse and unfruitful world.

Le Guin’s title could be in reference to Dostoyevsky’s novel The Possessed, but hardship caused by lack of resources is also a prominent theme. Much of the philosophical underpinnings and ecological concepts came from Murray Bookchin’s Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971), according to a letter Le Guin sent to Bookchin.

Anarres citizens are dispossessed not just by political choice, but by the very lack of actual resources to possess. Here, again, Le Guin draws a contrast with the natural wealth of Urras, and the competitive behaviors this fosters.

Le Guin’s foreword to the novel notes that her anarchism is closely akin to that of Peter Kropotkin’s, whose Mutual Aid closely assessed the influence of the natural world on competition and cooperation.

Le Guin’s use of realism in this aspect of the work further complicates a simple utopian interpretation of the work. Anarres is not a perfect society, and Le Guin’s The Dispossessed seems to argue that no such thing is possible.

Themes

The story of The Dispossessed takes place on the fictional planet Urras and its habitable moon Anarres, the twin inhabited worlds of Tau Ceti. Urras is divided into several states which are dominated by the two largest ones, which are rivals. In a clear allusion to the United States (represented by A-Io) and the Soviet Union (represented by Thu), one has a capitalist economy and patriarchal system and the other is an authoritarian system that claims to rule in the name of the proletariat.

Further developing the analogy, there are oppositional left-wing parties in A-Io, one of which is closely linked to the rival society Thu, as were Communist parties in the US and other Western countries at the time the story was written.

Other parties represent various dissident visions of socialism, including Odonians, who contact Shevek with a note chiding him for betraying his beliefs by working at the university and accepting the government’s hospitality.

Beyond that, there is a third major, though underdeveloped, area called Benbili — when a revolution supported by Thu breaks out there, A-Io invades, generating a proxy war. Thus, Benbili comes to represent south-east Asia, an allusion to the Vietnam War.

In order to forestall an anarcho-syndicalist rebellion, the major Urrasti states gave the revolutionaries (inspired by a visionary named Odo) the right to live on Anarres, along with a guarantee of non-interference, approximately two hundred years before the events of The Dispossessed. Before this, Anarres had had no permanent settlements apart from some mining.

Although there are a wide variety of parties in A-Io, there are no opposition parties on Anarres, only an Odonian orthodoxy that rules without any overt enforcement or oppression, although free thinkers who go too far can end up in psychiatric institutions, as happens with Shevek’s childhood friend, Tirin.

The protagonist Shevek is a physicist attempting to develop a General Temporal Theory. The physics of the book describes time as having a much deeper, more complex structure than we understand it. It incorporates not only mathematics and physics, but also philosophy and ethics.

The meaning of the theories in the book weaves into the plot, not only describing abstract physical concepts, but the ups and downs of the characters’ lives, and the transformation of the Anarresti society. An oft-quoted saying in the book is “true journey is return.”

The meaning of Shevek’s theories – which deal with the nature of time and simultaneity – have been subject to interpretation. For example, there have been interpretations that the non-linear nature of the novel is a reproduction of Shevek’s theory.

Anarres is in theory a society without government or coercive authoritarian institutions, and the people of Anarres are explicitly anarchist. Yet in pursuing research that deviates from his society’s current consensus understanding, Shevek begins to come up against very real obstacles.

Shevek gradually develops an understanding that the revolution which brought his world into being is stagnating, and power structures are beginning to exist where there were none before. He therefore embarks on the risky and highly controversial journey to the home planet, Urras, seeking to open dialog between the worlds and to finish his General Temporal Theory with the help of academics on Urras. The novel details his struggles on both Urras and his homeworld of Anarres.

Shevek experiences hatred from some of the people on Anarres due to his journey to Urras to advance his research, and due to his idea about increasing contact with the home planet. So the story touches on the themes of how people suffer for pursuing their purpose in life (suffering for one’s art), and how they suffer for speaking out for change.

The book also explores the Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis, that language shapes thinking, and thus, culture. The language spoken on the anarchist planet Anarres, Pravic, is a constructed language that reflects many aspects of the philosophical foundations of utopian anarchism.

For instance, the use of the possessive case is strongly discouraged (a feature that also is reflected by the novel’s title). Children are trained to speak only about matters that interest others; anything else is “egoizing” (pp. 28–31).

There is no property ownership of any kind. Shevek’s daughter, upon meeting him for the first time, tells him, “You can share the handkerchief I use,” rather than “You may borrow my handkerchief”, thus conveying the idea that the handkerchief is not owned by the girl, merely used by her.

Reception

The novel received generally positive reviews. Baird Searles characterized the novel as an “extraordinary work,” saying Le Guin had “created a working society in exquisite detail” and “a fully realized hypothetical culture [as well as] living breathing characters who are inevitable products of that culture.”

Gerald Jonas, writing in The New York Times, said that “Le Guin’s book, written in her solid, no-nonsense prose, is so persuasive that it ought to put a stop to the writing of prescriptive Utopias for at least 10 years.”

Theodore Sturgeon praised The Dispossessed as “a beautifully written, beautifully composed book,” saying “it performs one of sf’s prime functions, which is to create another kind of social system to see how it would work. Or if it would work.”

Lester del Rey, however, gave the novel a mixed review, citing the quality of Le Guin’s writing but claiming that the ending “slips badly,” a deus ex machina that “destroy[s] much of the strength of the novel.”

The book won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1974, won both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1975, and received a nomination for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 1975.

It achieved a degree of literary recognition unusual for science fiction works due to its exploration of many ideas and themes, including anarchism and revolutionary societies, capitalism, individualism and collectivism, and the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.