"One group of us believed it would be best to dispense with Human-born males altogether." p. 259 What about the male is so genetically prone to violence and hierachy in opposition to the female? In On Human Nature we learn that males naturally create hierachys while women create families in prisons but why? A leader can have more offspring so the urge to be a leader and have a hierachy makes sence but why is this so limited in females that producing them will be ok but a male to a human cannot be controlled. Also why if all children are created solely by the construction of genes by the Ooli does it make a difference whether the child is created in a human or Oankali womb? If the child is merely a mixture it should be able to placed in any womb without changing the fetus. Is the mother or the egg play a larger role than the Oankali may reveal then? Is the novel implying it is actually the mother who turns the son hierachal?
"He was Oankali enough to be listened to by other Oankali and Human enough to know that resister Humans were being treated with cruelty and condescension." Akin is essentially an experiment by the Oankali, to gain information and learn the ways of the Human resisters. He is caught in between two worlds not really knowing where he fits in. Akin feels disconnected from humans, but also disconnected from the Oankali. He has a purpose, but is not told what it is. Instead, he is left to figure it out on his own, which is very confusing for him. Here, the "nature vs. nurture" debate is very applicable. The Oankali are a very intelligent species, and they seem to be very knowledgable about personality development. This being said, it confuses me that they would assume Akin would remain unconditionally loyal to them when he is not being raised in their world. How much of our personalities come from the environment we were raised in (nurture) as opposed to pure instinct (nature)? This being said, how can this question about human nature be applied to Akin, since he is both human and Oankali?
As I was reading the second book, I was very interested in the way that Akin came to view the resistors. I was really surprised in how he eventually came to sympathize somewhat with the humans. I feel that this is very similar to how Lilith came to sympathize slightly with the Oankali. Just as Lilith learned so much about the Oankali, Akin learned so much from the humans. The knowledge that both Lilith and Akin gained seemed to make them sympathize with the opposite species. If all of the resistors were given the chance to learn more about the Oankali, would they be more open to living with them? If more young Oankali were put in the position that Akin was, would humans have more of a chance to live the way they want? What is it about learning that evokes these feelings of empathy for the opposite species?
“That’s all I can expect, I guess.” A sigh. “Shall I thank you for making him look this way – for making him seem Human so I can love him?... for a while.”“You’ve never thanked me before.“…no.”“And I think you go on loving them even when they change.”(Butler, 254). In Adulthood Rites there seems to be the beginnings of a resounding tolerance of the humans to the “construct” children, even those that are less human in appearance. In this passage we see that Lilith is consciously saying that she can love them while they’re cosmetically human in appearance, however Nikanj realizes that Lilith loves her children even after they become more like the Oankali in cosmetic appearances. The resister societies outside the Oankali tribes also become taken with the “construct” children. Aside from the woman, Neci, who wishes to cut the tentacles from Amma and Shkaht the other villagers accept the “construct” children into their homes and care for them, hold them, and feed them. The captors even seem taken with young Akin. This makes me wonder if this is solely in reaction to having been without children for so long that the humans are willing to lower their standards, or if it was something that wasn’t truly important to them to begin with.
"Nor is there an iota of evidence that social classes differ in any way in their genes except insofar as ethnic origin or race may be used as a form of economic discrimination" (Lewontin 36). I would be interested to see how this argument could be applied to another contemporary topic of social identity. The idea of the "gay gene" that being gay is something one chooses and is not simply born with. There have been studies of whether or not this "gene" even exists, some researching claiming to have found it while other completely debunking the notion. What shocks me is how scientists can attempt to research and find this gene without any idea of potential social outcome. What if suddenly there was a gene that made you gay, how long before science, serving a social institution, would develop a way to find a "treat" it as if it was any other disease? If we understand the dangers of eugenics why do continue to allow science to pursue it in any way? Why do we desperately want to prove ourselves superior to "others"?
“So in this view, it is really our genes that are propagating themselves through us. We are only their instruments, their temporary vehicles through which the self-replicating molecules that make us up either succeed or fail” (Lewontin 13). The idea that genes are only using us as “lumbering robots” (13) to propagate themselves through is a very hard one, for us as humans, to grasp. It is also one that seems a little extreme, and it takes me to the classic argument of nature vs. nurture. How much does our upbringing really affect who we become as adults, and how much do genes affect it? The Oankali also subscribe to this idea of all nature and no nurture, and it causes problems with the humans and their emotions. Human emotions are a very relevant thing, and the childhood of a person has a significant impact on their emotions as they grow. It seems like Lewontin looks past the impact of the early childhood a lot in a very similar way to the Oankali. If indeed an upbringing has a large effect on people, how can Lewontin argue that our biology is the best way to look at human society?
As I am reading I keep coming back to an idea mentioned in class last week about gender and creating a female society. There a quotation early on in the second book where Tino says "It's primitive! You live like savages!" (Butler 280) and then in the same conversation goes on to say "Five men [...] no wonder you haven't built anything" (Butler 281). I think it's interesting the idea of ambition and the drive to industrialize being tied with the male gender. The females are more concerned with companions and the day to day labor in this society and clearly the Oankali find this to be more desirable. Some of the resistors have even created guns which are really no need to the human Oankali settlements. Tying this to evolution, the push for modernization, house, bigger and better weapons is important for survival of the fittest. Men are biologically stronger and naturally more aggressive in general from hormones. Yet when evolution is no longer the means to change the species and it can be left up to choice, the decision is not to progress at least in the traditional ways. It is not a lack of ability but desire to make buildings larger and weapons bigger and this itself is progress even though it seems to be moving backwards or primitive.