Cultural Fugue in Stars in my Pocket
- Hi everybody!
I joined the list a few months ago and it has taken me this long to
gather courage to post a message myself. I was hoping that you could
help me with one small question that has been haunting me lately:
What exactly is cultural fugue in Stars in my Pocket (which is, by
the way, the best book I've ever read)?
Does CF actually exist, or is it just Family propaganda trying to
persuade worlds to join the Family instead of the Sygn? (Family
adherents are holding on to the traditions and values they have
carried with them from the old Earth, whereas the Sygn way of life is
freer and more open to change.)
So, is CF "Sygn's freedom to be whatever you like" lifestyle run
amok, or is it just "this is what will happen if you forget the good
old traditions and conventions" -style horror story made up by the
Family. (I hope I'm not being totally unintelligible here...)
Or is it something completely different? All interpretations are more
- Hi and welcome to the list,
> What exactly is cultural fugue in Stars in my Pocket (which is, byIt's something like a world-wide nuclear war, though probably with weapons
> the way, the best book I've ever read)?
of destruction that make nukes look somewhat sad.
"For a world to go into Cultural Fugue -- for the socio-
economic pressures to reach a point of technological
recomplication and perturbation where the population
completely destroys all life across the planetary surface --
takes a lot of catastrophe."
Marq Dyeth, that is. He also is talking with Clym and says about the CF on
Rat Korga's world: 'It wasn't something as primitive as atomics...?',
implying that atomics are a POSSIBLE, though primitive, tool of CF.
> Does CF actually exist, or is it just Family propaganda trying toAs I recall, CF affects both Family and Sygn worlds, as well as worlds
> persuade worlds to join the Family instead of the Sygn?
that are in Interplay. Can't find the cite. It sure seems to exist since
it's such a prominent part of the novel. Whether it is really triggered
by the human/native population or whether the Xlv have something to do
with it is not explained.
> So, is CF "Sygn's freedom to be whatever you like" lifestyle runWell, again quoting the book, both the Family and the Sygn are ways of
> amok, or is it just "this is what will happen if you forget the good
> old traditions and conventions" -style horror story made up by the
> Family. (I hope I'm not being totally unintelligible here...)
stabilizing societies and preventing cultural fugue, mostly on worlds
where it wasn't very likely to happen anyway.
Probably both sides propagandize that their method is the 'best'. Marq
seems to believe that his Sygn life is to be prefered over Family. (And
then there's the non-aligned but Sygn-leaning Web that binds the galaxy's
Hope this helps,
- Zvi wrote:
>It's something like a world-wide nuclear war, though probably with weaponsYes. It's an old trope in science fiction that the sorts of catastrophes
>of destruction that make nukes look somewhat sad.
> "For a world to go into Cultural Fugue -- for the socio-
> economic pressures to reach a point of technological
> recomplication and perturbation where the population
> completely destroys all life across the planetary surface --
> takes a lot of catastrophe."
that have threatened to wipe out human society and life on Earth in general
during the 20th century -- conventional world war, nuclear war, epidemics,
rampant toxic pollution -- might be a common, even universal hurdle which
all planetary societies need to face and eventually overcome if they are to
become stable space-faring civilizations.
I read CF as a kind of post-structuralist term for this general trope.
Where the idea is that some combination of the destructive means I
mentioned above, propelled by socio-economic ills such as uneven
distribution of wealth and privilege, bigotry, hatred, disregard for the
environment, overpopulation, religious intolerance, etc., can go critical
and wipe out a planet.
>Another Sygn-related question: duringI presume the Sygn die-hards would consider overt concern about an
>her description of Rat Korga's awakening from the healing tanks, Marq's
>friend recalls herself thinking, "What species is this?" Marq suggests this
>type of thought might be considered blasphemous by Sygn priests. Anyone
individual's species to be a form of racism/speciesism. Implied in the
very fact that it matters that much to her what species he might be, is a
sense she must be pre- judging and making stereotyped assumptions about
other individuals first by what species they are (rather than letting their
actions and words speak for them).
Seems related (difference in scale but not in kind) to the discussion a
week or two ago about terms for African Americans -- the question (similar
in form to "What species is this?") was asked: "What do we call them?", to
which some of us (in a Sygn priest neo-PC sort of way) more-and-less
rhetorically responded: "People".
It seems to me that the Sygn (among a multitude of other things) strives to
eliminate (esp. if harmful) consciousness of racial/gender/species
difference in interpersonal relationships. Recall also that the Family
first family, the Thants, when they have their little meltdown at the party
at Dyethshome, put aside polite convention and directly express their very
non-Sygn revulsion at the Dyeths' mixed-species "stream".
It's linked to the notion that the structural unit most significant (that
_signifies_ best in social context) for the Family is, well, the family
(implying overt concern with genetic and social heritage [read: race]);
while for the Sygn this unit of social significance/signifying is the
individual creating her social context dynamically, regardless of species
or race or gender (or height!).