I am reading (and watching and listening to) The Handmaid’s Tale. The premise is intriguing – a religious state trying to cope with the modern world. I know that the author names it a feminist novel but I think it has something to say about the objectification of all people. When a person – any person of any gender, race, religion, etc – is elevated (or discriminated against) due to one aspect of their personhood, society has a serious problem. I sometimes think of celebrities we celebrate for being good at sport or music – we have elevated them to “gods” for one aspect of their personhood and then we are surprised when the rest of them does not measure up.
While reading the book I have Kierkegaard’s words floating around my head:
The levelling process is the victory of abstraction over the individual. The levelling process in modern times, corresponds, in reflection, to fate in antiquity.
We place the individual below many things: community, rules, morality, even religion. And tell people that by surrendering themselves to the idea, they become somebody. Rather than telling them that by being you, you become “you”.
I think I will enjoy the book. It is a good distraction at the moment from life – an escape.