Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Why I'm not Divergent, and neither are you- an uninformed opinion about a book I have not read

Why is the Divergent trailer asking me if I'm divergent?

 I thought the whole point of Divergent was that the people who live in that hellhole were the result of some genetic tomfoolery that left them incapable of having normal human emotions and responses.

 As I am not the result of genetic tomfoolery, I am capable of being by turns, Dauntless and cowardly, Erudite and ignorant, full of Abnegation and selfish, Candorous and deceitful, the picture of Amity and a vengeful, violent, angry piece of shit. Hell, I can be all of these things at the same time. It is entirely possible to be brave and cowardly simultaneously.

 I am a normal human being, the people in this weird dystopic vision of Chicago aren't. Therefore, I am incapable of being divergent.

 This is worse than the Muggle/wizard thing in Harry Potter.

 Because we are the people they were put into evacuated and walled Chicago to protect.

 They were put there for our benefit.

 This would be like asking wolves if they were wolf-like if dogs only existed in a fictional world where being wolf-like was a really big deal because all the dogs were put in a big kennel for the benefit of the wolves.

 Also, I have a question.

 If divergent people are the ones who have more than one of a set number of traits, why are they called 'divergent'? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to be called 'convergent'? Because all of these traits are converging onto one individual? Or the factions are converging to behave in a similar way?

 If you know anything about evolutionary biology, you've probably heard of convergent evolution. If you haven't, it's this really cool thing that happens in nature where totally unrelated species evolve to fill the same niche. They tend to look similar, act similarly and live similarly.

 Here's an example: sharks, icthyosaurs and dolphins.

 The superorder of Selachimorpha (and some others from the subclass Elasmobranchii), order of Ichthyosauria and family of Delphinidae all look very similar, have similar lifestyles and live in similar environments despite the fact that they're from different classes. Sharks are fish, ichthyosaurs were reptiles and dolphins are mammals.

 Yet look at them. They seem so similar.

 So how does the label 'divergent' make any sense? These people aren't splitting off, they're multiple factions coming together. And it's far, far more literal than sharks, ichthyosaurs and dolphins.

 Is this label explained in universe as trying to make them seem other and bad (even though they're plainly not ‘other’ in the slightest) or is this really just to make the teenage audience feel different and special, like good little pseudo non-conformists?

 As a side note, in Divergent, is Chicago still twinned with Birmingham? What happened there? I'd like to know.

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