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Literature Archives for June 2008

The single most important truth about mankind

June 4, 2008, Literature
Last edited on June 4, 2008

"I'm not sure that if I hadn't met people from Tarnover I would believe you. If I can judge by them, through . . ."

"Be assured they're typical. They've been systematically steered away from understanding of the single most important truth about mankind. It's as though you were to comb the continent for the kindest, most generous, most considerate individuals you could find, and then spend years persuading them that because such attitudes are rare, they must be abnormal and should be cured."

"What most important truth?"

"You tell me. You've known it all your life. You live by its compass."

"Anything to do with my reason for getting interested in you in the first place? I noticed how hard you were trying to conform to a stock pattern. It seemed like a dreadful waste."

"That's it. One charge I made against Freeman which I won't retract: I accused him of dealing not in human beings but in approximations to a preordained model of a human being. I really am glad he decided to give it up. Bad habit!"

"Then I know what you're talking about. It's the uncertainty principle."

"Of course. The opposite of evil. Everything implied by that shopworn term 'free will.' Ever run across the phrase 'the new conformity'?"

"Yes, and it's terrifying. In an age when we have more choice than ever before, more mobility, more information, more opportunity to fulfill ourselves, how is it that people can prefer to be identical? The plug-in life-style makes me puke."

"But the concept has been sold with such persistence, the majority of people feel afraid not to agree that it's the best way of keeping track in a chaotic world. As it were: 'Everybody else says it is—who am I to argue?'"

"I am I."

"Tat tvam asi."

John Brunner, The Shockwave Rider, 1975, pp. 233/234.

Tolles Buch. Am Anfang bin ich nicht gut reingekommen, aber nach vierzig, fünfzig Seiten hat sich das gegeben, und im Gegenteil hat das Buch angefangen, mir sehr zu gefallen.

Fettered with too great a range of possibilities

June 4, 2008, Literature
Last edited on June 4, 2008

"I recall a point made in one of the Disasterville monographs. I think it was number 6. Stripped of the material belongings which had located them in society, a lot of refugees who formerly held responsible, status-high positions broke down into whining useless parasites. Leadership passed to those with more flexible minds—not only kids who hadn't ossified yet, but adults who previously had been called unpractical, dreamers, even failures. The one thing they had in common seemed to be a free-ranging imagination, regardless of whether it was due to their youth or whether it had lasted into maturity and fettered them with too great a range of possibilities for them to settle to any single course of action."

"How well I know that feeling. And wouldn't an injection of imagination be good for our society right now? I say we've had an overdose of harsh reality. A bit of fantasy would act as an antidote."

John Brunner, The Shockwave Rider, 1975, p. 233.

Ich hab's zusätzlich mal ins Deutsche übersetzt:

"Ich entsinne mich einer Sache aus einer der Disasterville-Monographien. Ich glaube, es war Nummer 6. Entledigt aller materiellen Besitztümer, die Ihre gesellschaftliche Stellung bestimmt hatten, sind viele Flüchtlinge, die ehemals verantwortungsvolle Positionen von hohem Status innehielten, zusammengebrochen zu wimmernden, unnützen Parasiten. Führung ist auf jene mit beweglicherem Geist gefallen — nicht nur Kinder, die noch nicht verknöchert waren, sondern Erwachsene, die zuvor unpraktisch, Träumer oder gar Versager genannt worden waren. Die eine Sache, die sie gemeinsam hatten, schien eine freilaufende Vorstellungskraft zu sein, unabhängig davon, ob dies an Ihrer Jugend lag oder ob sie in die Reife überdauert hat und sie eingeschränkt hat durch eine für sie zu große Welt an Möglichkeiten, als daß sie sich auf einen Weg für Ihr Tun hätten festlegen können.

"Wie sehr ich dieses Gefühl kenne. Und würde nicht eine Dosis Vorstellungskraft unserer Gesellschaft im Augenblick gut tun? Ich sage, wir hatten eine Überdosis rauher Realität. Ein bißchen Phantasie würde als Gegenmittel wirken."

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