At the time of climate change and crises of capitalism we need to drop our sense of entitlement to comfortable life or even to life at all. Nature will not spare us just because we are humans. When the meltdown of economic and environmental systems occurs, we are all going down: humans and non-humans, women and men, spiritual or not. We have almost run out of time.
Victor Pelevin, my favourite contemporary Russian author, has a novel called “The Sacred Book of the Werewolf“. I love it in part because, like Kill Bill, it is a rare creation by a male author, which manages to capture the female warrior spirit.
It starts with the main character, a Chinese Buddhist Were Fox who lives in present-day Moscow, consoling herself: “What else (or What the fuck) did you expect from life, A Huli?” A Huli is her name, supposedly meaning Fox A in Chinese. It is also a swear phrase in Russian, meaning “What the fuck?”
Victor Pelevin is a prominent contemporary Russian author, with books translated into a multitude of languages. To me, his novels act as a series of Dhamma talks (Buddhist sermons, if you will).
I have also always thought that Pelevin’s novels can be broadly divided into two groups: “This is how to do it” and “This is how not to do it” groups. For instance, “The Clay Machine Gun” and “The Sacred Book of the Werewolf” are “How to do it” stories, with the protagonists reaching his and her (respectively) destinations. “Babylon”, on the other hand, is the “How not to do it” story, as the protagonist ends up enslaved by the world he has created.
One of my favourite novels by Pelevin is “Life of Insects”, which tells the tales of a number of characters, all of them “How not to do it” stories bar one. One of the most interesting quotes from the positive story for me is “Don’t break the bucket”.
I have a problem. Some women push my buttons. Some men anger me, but in the context of feminism it is different. I usually dismiss men’s offensive actions and words as expressions of patriarchy. I take action, when I can – for instance recently I complained about the BBC radio 2 broadcasting misogynist statement when discussing a proposed Paternity bill. Complaining about the BBC to the BBC is like trying to stop a tide single-handedly. However, if no one does anything, nothing changes, as we know. In addition, I hope that statements such as “women of child-bearing age should only be employed by striptease bars” broadcast completely unopposed on the national radio service (for which we the listeners pay annual subscription) will raise more than one objection.
But coming back to women. I have noticed recently that very often I end up in deadlocks with women over silly issues. Once I was engaged in a debate about capitalism with a woman to the point when I completely forgot that I was supposed to be doing something completely different for work. The mysterious aspect of these “quarrels” is that more often than not the women have more in common with me than not: they are intellectual, independent and strong-willed. I suppose it is slight differences that unnerve me.