The Left Hand of Darkness

I’m re-re-reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. So much wisdom and foresight and humanity, it should be required reading if anything ever should be. And I come across this passage which seems so pertinent in today’s world:

“His speeches were long and loud. Praises of Karhide, disparagements of Orgoreyn, vilifications of ‘disloyal factions,’ discussions of the integrity of the kingdom’s borders, lectures in history, ethics and economics, all in a ranting, canting, emotional tone that went shrill with vituperation or adulation. He talked much about pride of country and love of the parent land, ….I decided that he wished to arouse emotions of a more elemental, uncontrollable kind. …He wanted his hearers to be frightened and angry. His themes were not pride and love at all, although he used the words perpetually. As he used them, they meant self-praise and hate. He talked a great deal about truth also, for he was, he said, cutting down beneath the veneer of civilization. It is a durable, ubiquitous, specious metaphor, that one about veneer or paint or plyofilm or whatever, hiding the noble reality beneath. It can conceal a dozen fallacies at once. One of the most dangerous is the implication that civilization, being artificial, is unnatural, that it is the opposite of primitiveness. Of course, there is no veneer. The process is one of growth and primitiveness and civilization are degrees of the same thing. If civilization has an opposite, it is war. Of those two things you have either one or the other. Not both.”

Related posts

Transitioning to Teaching Languages with Comprehensible Input

Teachers often discover CI after several years, even many many years, of using other methods. Old habits are hard to break. A question that often comes up s how to transition from former methods to one that stresses Comprehensible Input. Where to find help?

Read More →

Cours d’anglais en groupe à l’UTLA

Lower Intermediate classes and Advanced classes

Read More →

Listen!!! Then Listen Some More! Then Listen Again!

There is an urgent need for better ways to teach students to listen. While we all know that listening is one of the four focal …

Read More →

Want to learn more about CI?

Join us in France for our annual conference

Scroll to Top