Shevek to Keng (HUM415)

“You don’t understand what time is…. You say the past is gone, the future is not real, there is no change, no hope. you think Anarres is a future that cannot be reached, as your past cannot be changed. So there is nothing but the present, this Urras, the rich, real, stable present, the moment now. And you think that is something which can be possessed! You envy it a little. You think it’s something you would like to have. But it is not real, you know. It is not stable, not solid– nothing is. Things change, change. You cannot have anything…. And least of all can you have the present, unless you accept with it the past and the future. Not only the past but also the future, not only the future but also the past! Because they are real: only their reality makes the present real. You will not achieve or even understand Urras unless you accept the reality, the enduring reality, of Anarres. You are right, we are the key. But when you said that, you did not really believe it. You don’t believe in Anarres. You don’t believe in me, though I stand with you, in this room, in this moment…. My people were right, and I was wrong, in this: We cannot come to you. You will not let us. You do not believe in change, in chance, in evolution. You would destroy us rather than admit our reality, rather than admit that there is hope! We cannot come to you. We can only wait for you to come to us” (Le Guin 349-350).

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