virus: Utopias

Reed Konsler (
Tue, 9 Mar 1999 10:02:27 -0500

>Reed, I guess you're going so deep I'm getting the bends. BTW I didn't
>mean the blinking light is scary in a voodoo way. I mean it's scary in a
>futuristic visions of humans as automatons way. We would respond to
>man-made signals as opposed to thinking things out for ourselves, as the
>ideal waitstaff would. Be patient with me, Reed. Sh*T, maybe I better
>stop reading Brave New World over and over again...

Wow. Yes, I think _Brave New World_ is a key vision...I reread it last month with particular concentration on the viewpoint of Mustapha Mond. The characteristic which makes Huxley's work more powerful than _1984_ (common comparision between these dystopian visions) is it's resonanting ambivalence. The artist embraces his or her pain...from whence does art derive when there is no pain?

Dawkins points the way. In the endless quest for a deeper understanding of _Unweaving the Rainbow_ we take a step up from physical and emotional pain into the frustrations of the unknown mysteries of the intricate details. Where Huxley's vision fails is that his faith wavered; he looked into the future and his fears overcame his hopes, but thankfully only by the narrowest of margins. Blessed be Ford, indeed...for he has freed us from so much toil, pain, and anger. We have the tools he gave us in our hands, those blinking lights. We hold them, you and I. Shall we use them for good or ill? Norene, what do you want to write across the sky? Your hopes, or you fears?


There are many people...the majority, who do not yet enjoy the fruits of liberity. People have starved to death today, been hacked to death with machettes, machinegunned in nameless places. Women have been raped, men beaten senseless after watching their wives and children killed. These things are real, and they are not reasonable. This is evil. We must each oppose that evil in every way we can imagine... and one critical way is through what Richard describes as "goodwill". We need faith that our common vision will carry us through the darkness. Most certianly we need this faith in the darkest times, when all evidence seems against us.

And when we have succeeded...struggle will not end, life will not end. It will just shift up an octave. We will unweave the rainbows and reweave them according to our own design.

And that will be a beautiful light.


Another book I like is B.F. Skinner's _Walden 2_.  The key passage, in my
memory, is a description of the leader of the advanced community alone
in his office, shaking with anger and rage.  The message is that, as educators,
we aspire to give our children a better life than we had...with the hope that
they will be better people than we are.  But, there is a tension there...we can
never be the perfect exemplars of our future vision becuase we each bear the
marks of our history.  It is our duty to do our best to point the way and to
avoid vomiting our pain and anger into the next generation...each of us
can be born again only in some metaphorical senses.  We cannot be materially
born again and have any choice about who we will become.  Choice is the
privelidge of experience.

This is the core lesson of the parable of The Fall from Eden.


  Reed Konsler