The burden of thought

FB_IMG_1710242521019 Re-reading - for reasons of my own - my much-lauded review of Crowley's Beasts, I find I will repeat what I said in my review of Heart of Darkness: that the book puts forward, perhaps more as a gentle suggestion befitting the collapsing society it portrays than as a lesson for all times, that people grow weary of the burden of speech, indeed the burden of direction or thought. I don't like that as an idea; perhaps when taken as a warning it is valuable.

This is a more general though often more blurred pattern of SciFi/Fantasy: most characters don't need to think for themselves very much; they are supporting characters in someone else's heroic journey. The opposite - the Hero as entirely responsible for getting the right result and unable to delegate responsibility - is most forcefully put in the seminal Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality; or, if you prefer - and very likely you don't - in La Cummings ramblings about how during the run-up to the Brexit referendum, almost all the politicians nominally leading the effort sloped off to the Shires every weekend, leaving the true hard core to actually get it done.

And this - you knew, I hope, that I'd get somewhere in the end after this lengthy intro - leads me to the Libertarians. Whose chief virtue is Freedom and Independence and so on. Which they - and I - hold to be primary. And they begin almost every discussion with the assertion that what everyone wants is Liberty. Yet while it is true that everyone hates petty restrictions on whatever they happen to want to do at that moment, I think the vast bulk of the population doesn't want Responsibility For Their Own Lives; far from it, they flee from such. Which neatly explains the popularity of such as Trump.


* Nature: Why the world cannot afford the rich. I was going to write a post on this drivel, but perhaps a drive-by as a ref is all it deserves. Or perhaps Will Kinney's take? While I'm here, Online images amplify gender bias is also bollox, due to it taking "bias" to mean "non equal numbers of male and female" rather than "doesn't reflect reality". Continuing the sequence of fuckwit ideas, we have Public AI as an Alternative to Corporate AI by Bruce "I know security but am strangely clueless in the wider sphere" Schneier.
* On Christmas Day: Spiers and Boden, Carol, on Spotify.

1 comment:

Tom said...

My experience with humanity leads me to a different conclusion--that most people are doing the best they can but find it difficult to find energy and time to really examine the premises for their daily actions. They made conscious (or semi-conscious) decisions that led them to where they are, but they are reluctant to re-examine them unless and until they lead them to really bad outcomes.

You should read some Joel Shepherd. Sci-fi, fantasy--all his characters have real back story and real agency--sometimes to the point of excess, but well worth it overall. Start with Sasha.