Analysis, with its reduction from complexity to simplicity, is traditionally a useful way of doing science. [...] Qualified reductionism therefore has its place, but when it pretends to offer an exhaustive account of nature, then misrepresentation and confusion result. [David Peat ]
Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. [St. Augustine ]
rated as a fairly pessimistic literary work, that is, as far as the Human race is concerned...try reding it immediately after you have finished reading George Orwell's 1984, and you might actually find Huxley's Brave New World somewhat relieving!... We do not need to be reminded of Einstein (see MieNet's Quotes Pages & Time in Fiction & in Life) to feel how relative it can all be in life!...
Within this context, I should tip you also to try Ayn Rand's Anthem, if you haven't read it yet. This is a beautifully written, thought provoking book dealing with loss of individuality and freedom as central themes.
I can't resist adding one more title to this brief list: Huxley's Brave New World Revisited, a book published in 1956, though just as significant today, perhaps even more so nowadays. Since most people I've mentioned this book to have been unfamiliar with it, let me first warn you that Huxley's Brave New World Revisited is neither science fiction, nor fiction of any sort.
It is, however, all the more worthwhile reading, whether or not you are a science fiction fan, whether or not you have read Brave New World or 1984. Though admittedly simplified in many ways, as Huxley, himself states, this book offers a magnificent reflection on the Human race, especially with respect to possible outcomes involving our political and social establishments. Huxley's expository prose, which contemplates aspects of his Brave New World (and Orwell's 1984, as well), reads as pleasantly as his fiction, while it provides us, third Millennium citizens of the World, plenty of good food for thought.
There has been a movie made after Orwell's 1984,as well, I should mention. Regardless of the technical or artistical quality of the film, itself, the merits of which are by no means at stake here, from a Human viewpoint, I remember having found the movie even more distressful than the book, This having been mentioned, let's quickly move on to a curious detail regarding Orwell's 1984.
Do you know that the original title of the book
was 1948, the time when the book was written? The last two digits were switched around per request of the publisher, who did not believe a book called 1948 would catch the public eye.
Orwell's fantasy tale Animal Farm must of course find a place on the current list, too. If you haven't read it yet, save a couple of hours or so for the experience. Even if you are a slow reader, you'll cover Orwell's pages in no time: not only is the book short, but it also reads quite smoothly. Orwell's all animals are equal, just some animals are more equal than others (cited from memory) remains as actual today as when he wrote the book!
Though of totally different natures, and naturally as unproductive to compare as it would be to analogize strawberries and bannanas, Orwell's Animal Farm does bear one interesting common aspect with an altogether unrelated, though likewise short, entertaining and resourceful narrative: Saint Exupéry's The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince).
In both fantasy tales, the masterly ingenuity with which all imagery is employed stimulates a concurrent two-sided reading in parallel: the delightful fable, itself, on the one hand, and on the other, the deep and abundantly fertile allegoric content that brings about as much contemplation and insight as one is ready for – on personal, intrapersonal, and
interpersonal levels (Exupéry) and on social, intrasocial, and intersocial levels (Orwell), in adition to all political implications thereof (by political I mean most especially the underlying nims and give-and-takes of power and control, which all politics is about when we get down to the nitty-gritties of it).
All in all, very much in Saint Exupéry's style, what's important is invisible to the eye:
neither book has been truly read if what the reader derives goes no further than that which the strings of words denote.
My preference?... You can conclude, yourself, as I tell you that I've so far read The Little Prince in six different languages and am about to tackle it in the seventh. Neglecting here the issue of literary merit, not only do I feel (culturally and personally) closer to the human Exupéry, but also I believe that the fundamental aspect in any society being the human caliber that it comprises, this is what should require primary care and attention.
Our civilization has been remarkable from a scientific and technological viewpoint – the science fiction literature that we've been discussing in these sections being but a natural outcome of our achievements, blended here with the astonishingly creative imagination that we, humans, are endowed with.
But what of Human Nature, itself?... Science has scarcely touched this area. Philosophy?...Psychology?...Anthropology?...you may argue. Yes, invaluable breakthroughs have been achieved also in these realms, not to mention the highly enriching multipilcity of views and models available, most especially in Philosophy. (These, I concede, may just as well have a consternating effect, when one is not willing the necessary immersion, out of which clarity ensues.) An underlying need to abide by the scientific method, however, has at the same time imposed a series of retraints and blinders in the domains of the so-called Human Sciences.
Religion should perhaps have come the closest to aiding genuine Human development. But religions have hardly evolved, in comparison...caught, in our early days, in a political struggle (please see above what I mean here) for survival, for a due place amongst the institutions crystalizing within human society...part, if not
most, of their energies thus diverted, from the Human beings that they were to guide and aid, toward their own institutional survival...
Human growth, the refinement of the Human Heart/Soul, appears to have primarily relied on the hands of laudable autonomous initiatives.
The third Millennium society most ironically finds itself in possession of enough knowledge and power to control atomic energy, but this society is yet to show that it can genuinely be benefic to itself...not to mention to its natural habitat and all its dwellers...
Though generalizations are never fair, pretty much the same could be said concerning the individual level, as well – a good majority of us seemingly insufficiently motivated toward cultivating both unconditional kindness and adequate firmness, toward whether the self or all we share the Universe with.
Meanwhile, the world population increases...
We take to the stars, much like the old sailors braved the seas half a Millennium ago, whilst our most needed voyage of discovery (if I may borrow from Marcel Proust) consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes, ready to look and see, both within and beyond (check MieNet's Quote Collection for the accurate citation).
Before you take it that I resent our scientific achievements...no, by no means I do! However modestly, I do scientific research, myself. My research bearing a wide interdisciplinary nature, I am therefore very grateful to every breakthrough and contribution that I have been able to profit from in science, whetever its realm. In addition, as a regular world citizen, I am once more grateful to science for all the many comforts I am able to enjoy on a daily basis, starting with the very page that we are currently sharing.
What is striking to me, even alarming, and thus my attempt to share here, is the enormous and ever-increasing discrepancy between the Scientific-Technical and Humanistic-Social aspects of our lives.
Many of the authors mentioned on these pages (MieNet's Book Section) have revealed such concerns in their writing, Many have inspired me to ponder, to question, to observe beyond what we tend to take for granted; some have also inspired me to try a fresh look within. I share nothing new. Yet, it remains relevant.
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