Could the Houyhnhnms be the answer to life?

I believe that Gulliver’s Travels suggests that humankind would be more successful if it were to behave and think the way that the Houyhnhnms do.

While reading the passage about how the Houyhnhnms use herbs and such to cure their slight illnesses I immediately thought of how Native Americas and other grounded cultures use natural methods to cure themselves. A peer mentioned the same thing! So clearly, we’re on to something. So, with that being said, what if the Houyhnhnms are supposed to represent the natives? What if he is trying to say that instead of immediately considering them savages and “backward” that they (the colonizers) should have at least tried to learn from them. I don’t know much about the Native culture, to be honest, but I assume that they weren’t as violent or had such strict power structures as the Europeans did/do, which makes me believe that that is why their lives were less complicated, more simple and meaningful compared to that of the Europeans. I think that’s what Swift is trying to get a stab at. I personally think, and hope that this is what Swift was trying to say, that without those superficial ways of living, that put so much value into meaningless things, we would have more time to take care of the things that do matter—such as taking care of the Earth rather than finding ways to make our lives easier while screwing up our own home. The Houyhnhnms lived live simply, and almost in complete harmony besides the Yahoos, which is why it makes me think of that.

 

-Luz Palacios

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