Jun 18, 2009

The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk

The Fifth Sacred Thing

On the one hand, an honestly exciting little theodystopian adventure ran through this novel in certain parts, and it certainly didn't drag too badly. On the other hand, as a sticker from Obvious Octopus, puts it:



5th Sacred Thing is basically (ecological, peace-loving, San Francisco-style, freelove) utopia vs. (drug addicted, classist, Christian, patriarchal) dystopia. If you are a teenager of a certain mindset, you'd probably find this all deep and moving and meaningful and worth quoting at some length to more practical types. If not, you'll probably find it as startingly unlikely in its conclusions as I did, even though I am as staunchly left leaning as anyone you're likely to meet.

It's just too damn "flowers in the barrels of guns, we can use love power to bring down the war machine" for me, I guess. Sure, I would love to see a world in which everyone is granted human dignity, in which prejudices based on race and gender and sexuality have been washed away, in which people truly love and work with their neighbors for the good of all. I'd also love to spend my days freely traveling the world in the company of someone beautiful and intelligent. What do these two wants have in common? They could, technically happen, but they ain't gonna.

But, as I said, there is a good adventure yard here. I could even see it being an influence on something like Octavia Butler's (far superior) Parable of the Sower. Bird and Madrone are worthwhile characters, people that we care about and are interested in and they slip in and out of the cracks left in a rotten society and try to heal the wounds. But, oh, god(s and goddesses), how I hate hippie sex scenes.

8 comments:

B.E. Earl said...

Probably what you would expect from a woman calling herself Starhawk.

downtown guy said...

Well, this is the first thing on her website:
"Welcome! I'm Starhawk, author of many works celebrating the Goddess movement and Earth-based, feminist spirituality. I’m a peace, environmental, and global justice activist and trainer, a permaculture designer and teacher, a Pagan and Witch. To see how it all weaves together, follow the many strands of my web."

So, yes.

Olman Feelyus said...

Ack.

She's making money, though.

downtown guy said...

Oh, I'm sure professional hippies make a good living.

Bex said...

It makes me sad that you dream of travelling the world with a lover but have already given up on it ever happening. Giving up on our dreams before we even begin to seek them out is the entire problem. I have the same dream and it's what I'm doing right now - we had to get a bit creative figuring out how to fund such a life-long adventure, but we're making it work and it's amazing. You may believe that non-violence is impractical, but no lives are being saved by cynicism either, my friend.

downtown guy said...

It was a throwaway line in a review, not a deep down dream. I've traveled, I will again.

More to the point, non-violence against armies out to kill you is generally ineffective. And many lives have been saved by planning for troubles and understanding that often times people don't give a damn about their neighbors.

paosirdjhutmosu said...

"More to the point, non-violence against armies out to kill you is generally ineffective. And many lives have been saved by planning for troubles and understanding that often times people don't give a damn about their neighbors."

YES! I agree. I found this blog post by searching for "The Fifth Sacred Thing". In the comments of a Pagan blog (I'm a Pagan, but a very,VERY different kind from Starhawk, not so much feminism and Goddess, more ancient Egypt and many goddesses and gods, and definitely NOT "flowers in the barrel of guns".)
I pointed out more-or-less what you said (but less clearly and in reference to Gandhi) and someone responded, "Ever Read Starhawk's 'The Fifth Sacred Thing'?" I had heard of it but not much, so here I am. I suspect the commenter was being sarcastic, but I can't tell. Thanks for the review. :)

paosirdjhutmosu said...

Sorry for the clunky formatting, I wish I could edit it. Also,the hummus trap thing made me chuckle. :)