Change often follows when we step out of routines and follow new adventures. It’s a bit like hitching your wagon to a new star and it happened to me recently when I read Robert Heinlein’s Starship Trooper. Since I rarely read science fiction, I was delighted when friends, Malcolm and Liz Bugler gave me this NY Times bestseller to celebrate my new US Citizenship.
Starship Troopers promotes militarism with the same passion that I try to inspire peaceful resolutions. Heinlein served in the US military in many capacities over a lengthy period. His book idea came about when he spotted a news ad for US to suspend nuclear weapons testing. Heinlein even gathered groups to support nuclear weapon tests, in similar ways that I gather roundtables to reflect for peace plans.
This book clarifies and defends Heinlein’s military and political views in much the way Flight of the Raven defends my views for peaceful change in the high arctic where I lived for two years, while writing that novel. Hopefully I will soon submit it for publication, and will expect some to disagree that change comes far faster from peace than from war.
In the MITA Brain Based Center – we look for ways to learn from opposing views – yet rarely do we get these views wrapped in vibrant prose of boot camps or bug holes! Nor do we find many leaders like Heinlein, who offer concrete plans for visible change and improvements. This novel was not only fun to read – but it showed me new ways to approach peace, that can only be seen by viewing its opposites.
Starship Troopers inspires us to:
1. Look to the future and create more far flung ideas to step out of ruts we’ve grilled into our brains.
2. Look back and build forward to bridge past with future targets – just as Juan planned his intersteller war with “the Bugs”
3. Reflect on your beliefs and add feet to insights as Juan Rico did and then act from that launching pad.
4. Avoid casualties in conflict, through peaceful plans, much the opposite of Dubois who argues that violence solves more problems.
5. Choose carefully to follow a dream, as Rico did when he chose military school over Harvard. Which would you have chosen if both opened to you?
6. Invent what you need for change, the way Heilkein invented a power armor exoskeletons for military pursuits.
This book’s bold creations won top awards and it’s no wonder it became a New York Times Bestseller. It even inspired a related wargame in 1976. It’s famous “drop” and “bug hunt” provided themes for other science fiction for TV, film and other books.
My problem lies with what looks like race wars, and militarism that this book promotes. Yet, I learned a great deal about the human brain and how it operates creatively from reading Starship Troopers. By the way – do you think Dubois is really Heinlein in disguise?
Either way, this book inspired me to look for new ways to create and invent components of change, even when that work invites criticism from some who disagree with my approaches or results. You?
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