Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
It’s interesting how the lens of three decades of life experience can sharpen the focus of certain stories—and even parts of stories. When I first read Woman on the Edge of Time not long after it was published (1976), I was barely into my 20s and already a reliable cog in the corporate machine. At that time, I enjoyed Marge Piercy’s story of a 37-year-old Chicana woman in New York whose already-complicated life takes a twist for the bizarre when she begins to communicate with an ambassador from the year 2137, but I found little to identify with personally beyond the yearning for a more egalitarian, utopian world. I read the book again when I was around the age of the main character, Consuela Ramos, and found considerably more to love—and ponder. I had naively thought when I first read the book in the late 70s that sexism, racism, and ethnocentrism were on the wane—outmoded concepts that were slowly but undeniably going the way of other counterproductive human behaviors like burning witches at the stake or equating nonconformity with insanity. Silly me. The 80s and 90s taught me otherwise, so that by the time I dipped into Woman in the late 90s, I realized how prescient some of Piercy’s observations were. And when I reread the book yet again recently, I finally found the story far richer and more nuanced than in any of my earlier readings.
I am a gay single mother in my 50s who, after a severe depressive episode, has seen the inside of a mental institution. The short-term unit at McLean is a country club for harmless sadsacks compared with the more Cuckoo’s Nest setting Connie finds herself in, to be sure, but it’s a nuthouse all the same. So during this reading I found myself especially attuned to Connie’s treatment by “the system”—the way her story of the actions that led to her second commitment are ignored and read as denial and evidence of illness; the emphasis on orderly obeisance and lecturing over individual therapy and understanding; the easy assumption that “noncompliance” is dangerous and must be crushed. To be fair, I did not encounter frightened, uncaring staff during my brief stay, but it is still true that patients rarely if ever see actual doctors. At best they see counselors in group settings, but most interactions are with nurses, technicians, and pharmacists—just as they were in Piercy’s 1976 hospital.
Those insights were critical in this recent reading of the book. The first time I read the book (I was a kid, remember!), I tended to believe that Ramos was indeed schizophrenic, and that she had created a very inventive but allegorically instructional alternative world to hide out in to escape the roughness of the real world. After the second reading I had no doubt that she had in fact been communicating with and visiting the world in 2137, and that her brave actions at the end of the book played a critical role in averting a disastrous future. But after this latest most recent reading, I have a different conclusion: it doesn’t matter. The book works either way, because it is above all character study, a deeply introspective look at community, evolution, survival, identity, and connectedness. Past reviewers have called the future world a “feminist utopia,” but this is hardly accurate. What they seem to be responding to is the idea that this future shows a world in which capitalism is not the driving force. It’s true: men are not in charge. But neither are women. Everyone is on charge, in turn. It’s not even socialism but communal living taken to a grand scale and extreme. It’s a world where everyone matters and is listened to, which is why it is important that Connie is not just some average housewife or middle management executive or a neurosurgeon: Connie is the epitome of the voiceless, ignored part of society—the people we brush off as “nuts” and consider less worthy of our full attention. This is not to say that Piercy is suggesting that everyone wearing a foil hat is tuned into reality and we are all fools for thinking them crazy; rather, she is contrasting what can happen when one set of people assumes graceless power over another and refuses to listen, to allow them to contribute or make their own sometimes-bad choices. It’s about what could happen if we accept totalitarianism.
As an aside, I was amused to see that several reviewers considered the book dated—not the “present” period, mind you, which they accepted as a quaint period piece, but the imagined future of 2137. What we all forget too easily is that in the time since this book was written we have been barraged by a high-tech cinematic view of the future that almost invariably depicts our fate as increasingly electronic, automated, and conformist. Woman was written after the original-Star Trek series but predates the movies, the spin-off, and flashy movies like the Star Wars, Alien, and Terminator franchises. And the book helped spawn a generation of the alternative cyberpunk view of the broken, dystopian future that gave us Bladerunner and Mad Max. But realistically, none of us knows what the world will be like 125 years from now. Would we have imagined in 1887 that we could cruise down a highway at 80 mph talking to loved ones around the world through an earpiece? That our conversations at busy intersections and streets would be monitored and captured on camera without our knowledge? That pilotless drones would crisscross vast territories collecting data and firing weapons aimed by people on different continents? To think that we have any more insight into what will still be “normal” in 2137 is hubris.
Change For The Better Sayings and Quotes
Change can be scary. It doesn't matter if you are going through a small change or a big one, doing something totally different than you are used to can be terrifying. But looking to things like quotes about strength and famous sayings can give you the inspiration you need to get over even your hardest obstacles. Embracing change might be exactly what you NEED, but taking those first few steps can seem almost impossible. Without the support of family and friends, as well as knowing and accepting that change might be a little foreign at first, we would be stuck in the same place forever.
It's often said that change is the only constant in life. Yet humans are evolutionarily predisposed to resist change because of the risk associated with it. Despite this resistance to change, it is more important than ever. Napoleon once said, "One must change one's tactics every 10 years if one wishes to maintain one's superiority. Organizations and people that don't embrace change are bound to lose ground and stagnate.
There is a saying, our biggest enemy is ourselves. In most situation, the courage to accept change is subject to our own mental power, the more we resist, the bigger the problem. The only thing permanent is change, it is inevitable, if you do not innovate and change, be it in business or attitude, you will be out of business or finds yourself in an unpleasant situation. For instant, Nokia was once the king of mobile phones, because it refuses to change their corporate structure when iPhone was launched, they eventually died a slow and painful death, whereas Samsung Mobile took a different approach, Samsung decided to embrace change and re-organize their strategy. I hope these quotes help others in life, make a difference and embrace change today. Running away from your problem without making the necessary changes will eventually see you facing the same situation in a different scenario. This video has some of the greatest advice, motivation, and inspiration from the best speakers of our era.
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Part 2. Quotes About Change That Are…
Famous quotes about change - Best change sayings
Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old change for the better quotes, change for the better sayings, and change for the better proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources. To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill. Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw. Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay.