13 January, 2011

So many Mary Sperlings.

Mary Sperling was a character in Heinlein's novel Methuselah's Children who, for the safety of life, gave up her liberty- her SELF, to join the collective of the Little People:
The first planet they discover has humanoid inhabitants who seem friendly and advanced - however, they are merely domestic animals belonging to the planet's true masters, indescribable beings of equally indescribable power. When humans prove incapable of similar domestication, they are expelled from the planet and sent to another world.

The second planet is a lush environment with no predators and mild weather. Its inhabitants are part of a group mind, with the mental ability to manipulate the environment on the genetic and molecular level. They have no independent personalities; anyone who join the group mind ceases to exist as a unique individual. This becomes evident when Mary Sperling, second oldest of the Families, who has always been fearful of death, joins the group mind in an attempt to become truly immortal. The Families are further horrified when the group mind, in a mistaken effort to be helpful, genetically modifies the first baby born on the planet into a new, alien, form.
I have never forgotten the revulsion her character brought forth in me when I first read this book so many years ago, and viewing the picture this morning from the Drudge Report, seeing how they all just stood there as this became a political event, instantly brought forth the thought- Mary Sperlings!


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