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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Nietzsche and the Giver

"We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once."_Friedrich Nietzsche

*Please note: Sir Saint Thomas Moore, who gave us the word, Utopia, and wrote the classic on which all utopian epics sprung, did not believe it was possible. Paraphrased: "Humans will find a way to screw it up."

Is the above quote appropriate for a "utopia" where pain, joy, sadness, anger, love, and lust are regulated and medicated?

The Giver's society, as any middle-schooler knows, is actually a dystopia, of artificial weather- no color, no warm sun, no cold snow. True pain is scary and they have to have someone to take on the load or society is in turmoil.

There are rules against difference... mentions are later made about genetic tweaks, of trying and not quite succeeding, to eliminate recessive genes like "light colored eyes" and red hair.

There are rules against asking questions- a rather strange rule the protagonist receives is: "You may lie". He soon wonders how many people received the same rule in their training papers. For all the emphasis on truth, on being open, a lot of people seem to lie fluidly.
And that's where 99.99% of "The Community" following the rule about not asking questions and not being rude help keep everyone happy and satisfied.

I won't do a play-by-play.

How... very apt for our unquiet times. It doesn't surprise me, any more, to see what looks like a prophecy of the 21st century, written by people who thought the 60's-70's or even the 1990s to be heavily government-influenced and dystopian. (They were.) In these unquiet times, one is told to be patriotic, to question nothing, (Forgetting a portion of the Declaration of Independence that reads:
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

People are already asked, "politely" and with all-out rudeness, to leave. How soon before they're expelled, or worse because they didn't go along with the Status Quo"? 
It HAS happened. In the 60's, at Kent State, the Army murdered protesters who said that President Johnson and the Vietnam War were wrong, and peacefully made their positions.

Japanese and German-Americans were abused and locked up during World War II.

There's so much more, and I haven't scratched the surface- teeming as it is with maggots-

Who says, "ENOUGH is enough"?

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