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The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story - Chpt 6

 
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Zarathustra
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 3:47 pm    Post subject: The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story - Chpt 6 Reply with quote

[I know it's due today. I promise to have something by late afternoon!]
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche


Last edited by Zarathustra on Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no worries! thus far this read is going great! Big Grin
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Zarathustra
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I'm going to have to turn it in tomorrow. Work has taken an unexpected upswing this week, so I've been swamped. Luckily, only 3 appointments tomorrow, so I should have time. Confused
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about being late. Once you look at my posts in the other chapters, you’ll understand what took me so long. Besides being busy at work, I knew that I had to get a handle on the first 5 chapters before I could dissect this chapter. This series is the best writing of my favorite author. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time today settling chapters 1-5 in my head and on paper. I hope I have enough energy left to do this one justice.

So . . . the mental union of Morn and Angus was accomplished last chapter. The zone implant makes her will his will. Their hate and their fear is joined in such a way, to such a degree, that Angus is starting to glimpse something beyond these two primal motivators. There is something in Morn, and possibly within himself, that goes beyond hatred and fear. The possibility of a spiritual kinship between someone so ugly and someone so beautiful has started to undo Angus, started to undermine his reality.

But now, in this chapter, Donaldson goes further. At the beginning of chapter 6, we learn that their physical well-being is tied together, too. “Several hours passed before he came to the realization that he’d hurt himself as well as her.” He was telling the truth when he said he needed her for crew. His explanation for what he had done to her was fundamentally true. She did need a zone implant, she did need rescuing, and he did need her help in return. These bare facts made strange sense of their collapsing worlds. As explanations, they were so insufficient, but undeniably real nevertheless. By beating her, he had delayed the moment they could travel safely because she couldn't crew for him. And remaining stationary increased the danger of being caught. Her injuries injured him.

But, like all of this, the Real Story goes deeper than bare facts of survival. Donaldson is dealing with the fundamental union between people, the shared co-being of our being-in-the-world. The ways in which even people as unlike as Morn and Angus are fundamentally connected.
Quote:
“He’d increased the risk to himself for the satisfaction of beating her. And he’d hurt himself in another, subtler way as well. She was his. Wasn’t she? Like his ship, she was in his command. . . . So why was he afraid of her looks? Beauty only made it better—only increased her humiliation, demonstrated his power more completely. Anything that marred her took something away from him.”


So he is puzzled: he possessed her, so why should her beauty scare him? It couldn’t hurt him. And yet, he was driven to mar her beauty; he considered his gentleness a pathetic reaction of fear. So he’s once again caught in the paradox of his fear, a paradox brought on by his larger transformation. In joining Morn to him mentally and physically, in making her his world (like his ship), his fears are shifting to include her fears. He is internalizing them, identifying with them. By possessing her, he is allowing her to posses him.

As if she held the control of an implant in his brain, her plight causes him to treat her wounds. He takes her to sickbay. “Another step” out of his character. Another step down the shared road of Morn’s fate and Morn’s need. His own actions stun him.

But his surprise turns to visceral trembling. Fear melds into uncontrollable anticipation as he rapes her. It’s still there in the background; otherwise, he wouldn’t be glad that she was bruised. He wouldn’t need her marring to make her bearable if he’d been brave. But something that is neither fear nor hate emerges as he orgasms. “His orgasm was so intense that he thought for a moment he’d broken something.” This wasn’t revenge, this wasn’t pity. In Angus’s sick world, this was good.

Her revulsion was good, too. He needs her to hate him, in order to make sense of reality. But his reality is changing (against his will). After his orgasm, “He could no longer tell whether he was exited or afraid.” The “goodness” fades as she challenges him.

Quote:
“Does that make you feel like a man?” . . . “Do you have to destroy me to feel good yourself?” . . . “It’s because of men like you I became a cop.”


He hides his shaking hands and tries to face her inexplicable defiance. He challenges the purity of her indignation by accusing her of something similar: “I though it was because you like guns. Muscle. They make you feel like a man.”

Again, Donaldson is trying to show their fundamental common ground. Angus reminds her that they share a heritage of killing; she’s just as bad as he is. In addition, her cop’s sense of duty wasn’t as pure as she claimed. In the following pages, we get a “lengthy” (at least for this book) explanation of Morn’s character, a flashback to her youth as a daughter raised by retired cop grandparents, and learn that Morn’s career began in shame.

But just as Donaldson stresses their similarity, he asserts the distinctive part of her, too. She retreats away from Angus’s taunts, and goes someplace Angus can’t follow. “The place where Morn went would have made no sense to him.” Because he was (still) a coward, he couldn’t (yet) understand emotions other than fear. In Morn’s first flashback, we learn that Morn had a core of love, support, and dignity which were presumably absent from Angus’s childhood.

Even with long absences of her parents, and the resentment she learned feel, her parents were “risking their lives to protect humankind from violence and forbidden space.” She was loved and attended to; experienced warmth and affection. She was valued as an essential part of the future. Everyone she knew was a cop. They were believers. They esteemed their work the way they esteemed her. They spoke of her parents with fundamental respect and unquestioning validation.

Morn was expected to follow in their footsteps, though she didn’t feel the same conviction. Pain of abandonment turned into resentment. She hid this grudge for while, until her mother died. Then that resentment turned into shame. [The story of her mother’s death connects to other plot issues. Since those are spoilers, and the plot mechanics aren’t what I’m interested in, I’m ignoring that for now.] Her mother commits a selfless act of heroism, and saves the ship full of her family.
Quote:

“You know how people die in vacuum, Morn. It isn’t pretty. But it’s beautiful to me, as beautiful as your mother herself. She gave her life for her shipmates. If I die that way myself someday, I’ll die proud.”

I don’t have to point out the irony of Morn doing the exact opposite of her mother, and how this undermines her father’s death. It turns her life into a justification for shame, and his death into a pointless, futile bluff. [Remember, this is what she’s thinking after just being raped by Angus, after just being accused of being worse than him.]

By the time the story of her mother's death ended, Morn had decided that she, too, would be a cop. So in a sense, Angus was correct to doubt the purity of her service. It began in shame, an attempt to recant her grudge. On the surface, she dedicated herself to her training, but she kept any doubt or questions hidden. Only a man like Angus Thermopyle could dredge them up. Of course, her own actions dredged them up ,too.

Quote:
“But she’d killed her father. She’d brought what was left of her family to ruin. That struck her in the deepest part of her shame—in the part which believed she’d deserved to be abandoned; the part which believed her resentment had killed her mother.”

However, when she comes back to the present, she is still defiant. “Maybe I’m as bad as a traitor. But there are better cops than me—stronger—They’ll stop you. They’ll make you pay for this.”

Angus has a slightly different take. He believes the cops will try to stop him, but not for any righteous reasons. No, they were protecting their power and the UMCP’s money. Morn’s courage was built on a lie. And she was wrong for other reasons: he held the implant control. He would break her courage. This thought makes him erect again. Despite how this chapter began—with the realization that marring her mars himself—her show of inexplicable courage reignites his fear. He’s done beating her, but now he shifts his strategy towards breaking her spirit, making it his own. Though that process had already begun, he needs to complete it--needs to eradicate that final part which he doesn't understand. The part which gives her strength to resist him.

Despite her dark past, she “nevertheless possessed a strength of her own which had never been tested before. Her voice shook as she said, ‘If nobody else stops you, I’ll have to do it.’” Her defiance disturbs him and at the same time makes her desirable. He turns on the zone implant and makes her his puppet.

In perhaps the most disturbing scene of the book, Angus forces Morn to put a scalpel to her breast. “I can make you cut yourself. If I want to, I can make you cut off your whole tit.” . . . “Remember that when you think about breaking my neck.”

Her look of lost anguish almost causes him to turn off the zone implant and use physical force to possess her. But his instincts prevail. She might be stronger than she looks. “This idea took some of the stiffness of him. Angrily, he kept her under control.”
Quote:

“His organ was no longer as intensely eager as it had been a few moments ago. Down in the black bottom of his heart, he was disappointed. His cowardice had cost him something he wanted. But disappointment made him angry—and anger had its uses. Suddenly furious, he forced open her mouth and drove himself into her, gagging her fiercely until he came.”

Sorry, that part just had to be quoted. After 1000s of words about the deep meaning of this story, I just had to say: this book is fucked up.

But before you get distracted by the violence and start to think Angus’s brutality is the Real Story, Donaldson ends this chapter with Angus crying over his damaged ship. His cowardice had cost him something he wanted, indeed. It had caused him to damage his ship, his woman, his world. Peeking ahead one sentence, the next chapter begins with his course forever changed: “From that point on, he no longer hit Morn Hyland.”

Sorry about the spoiler!
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malik, fantastic work!! Not just here but the previous chapters too.
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