Monday, August 2, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 17

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

So I totally started this post yesterday, but I could not think of a single book I've read that has changed my views on something. This is not because I've read so few books, but because I've read so many. The local library loves me (probably in part because I sometimes don't have time to return books, thereby racking up large amounts in overdue fees). I'm starting to think the librarians know me by sight. Our living room is only not called a library because of the presence of our computers, dining room table, and currently our bed (it's too hot to sleep in our bedroom, unfortunately, so we dragged our mattress into the living room where we have a window unit). I guess other people would have just bought a second window unit, but when you have to pay an additional $75 a month for the privilege of being able to sleep at night, I'll drag that mattress anywhere. But I'm getting off topic.

Well, let's examine my choice of reading materials in a given month:
Historical fiction, romance, wedding books (which should stop after September), etc.

There's not a whole lot of non-fiction or classical lit to be had, except what I was forced to read in school. Unfortunately, since they were "required" reading, I honestly couldn't tell you too much about any of them. Maybe, and this is a big maybe, the book One River by Wade Davis changed my views about what to do about isolated indigenous populations in the rainforest a tiny bit. It's always been my opinion that progress requires wealth (which to me equates with currency) and certain rights, but reading this book showed me that some indigenous populations may be happier not being found. If all you know in life is that food should be shared with the rest of the community or that a psychedelic trip is not only legal but essential to a religious experience, etc. then who am I to walk in and tell them otherwise. Aren't most people happy with what they have until someone tells them to someone else has more?

Should they have the right to modern technology, especially health care? Do the women have just as much right to be equal members of society (which is not to say that they aren't already)? All of these rights I assume are a necessity to the rest of the world, what if they're just the product of our society? What makes us "civilized," and them "savages?" Just our mind-set. I've had this same problem while reading accounts of early settlers and missionaries in the United States or traders and missionaries in the Far East. What was wrong with just leaving them be to pursue their own culture or religion? Were they really better off in the long-run with the Western notions of wealth and power, did it make any difference at all? Clearly I have more questions than answers. But it's a question that has bothered me and that this book made me question.

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