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Ignorance IS bliss?

  1. Nov 22, 2005 #1
    Would something straight out of The Giver, an equalized, perfect, emotionless society, be "wrong"?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2005 #2


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    Can you please elaborate on this? What is The Giver? What exactly is meant by equalized, perfect and emotionless? What do you take to be "wrong"?
  4. Nov 22, 2005 #3


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    Are you referring to this, the children's book by Lois Lowry? If so, you might want to give us some plot summary and rudimentary details regarding how their society is set up, if you wish us to evaluate it.
  5. Nov 23, 2005 #4
    I'm sorry, let me be more specific.

    In The Giver, everyone has a role in society, which is decided by a Comittee, and everything is fine. No pain(Pain neutralizers), no colors, no hills, no valleys, no rivers, nothing but sun, no extreme emotions(No HATE or LOVE[They said that love was a meaningless and overgeneralized term]), very few variations in daily life, no sex(A "pill" that removes sexual urges is given to all, who take it once a day), no disease, no real entertainment, no pursuit of knowledge or happiness, no true uniqueness. There are "birthmothers", who give birth to test-tube babies(i'm guessing), and they have 3 children, 1ce a year, then work in Labor for the rest of their life. The children are all nursed until the start of the next year, when they have a gathering of all age groups under 12. At these gatherings, the 11s become 12s and so on. The babies are named at this gathering and given to a predetermined family unit, and are raised by the family unit. However, babies judged "inferior" are Released, or lethally injected and disposed. However, noone cares, because of a lack of knowledge of death. The baby grows to be a 3, where they are being taught how to speak and use proper grammar. They are STRICTLY taught, with a wand-type stick being used for infractions. They feel slight pain, but not much. At the age of 6, they learn about all the job opprotunities. At the age of 9, each kid gets a bycicle, and is to use only his/her bycicle. They also start doing community work, which helps the Committee choose who goes where. (Note: There is no true leader, however. A group of people lead, and they change who leads every so many years. They are under Sameness as well.) At the age of 12, age stops mattering, and the people are sent to their jobs. Jobs are chosen carefully, so this doesn't happen often, but if a person does not like their job, they can be Released. They work every day, and can get a Spouse. No sex, remember? The Spouses are chosen carefully, so they balance out. They can care for kids. Once they get old, they go to the Old Folks Home(forgot exact name, but something like that), and are cared for until the Grand Release, where they are released with all of their life story told. That is a happy time.

    Anyway, would it be right, or wrong, to give up uniqueness for sameness, happiness to remove sadness, and become a mostly emotionless society?
  6. Nov 23, 2005 #5
    I think it would be pointless/wrong because I would see no point of existance then. What would be the point of living?
  7. Nov 23, 2005 #6


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    I liked The Giver it is a great book. I think there are movies similar to that (Brave New World, Equilibrium, Logan's Run, 1984, etc). I'm not sure if this type of society would ever exist or become to exist. I think it would be practically impossible to implement and maintain
  8. Nov 23, 2005 #7


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    Well, issues of practical implementation may as well be ignored for our purposes, since he's only asking whether or not such a society would be wrong. Of course this is going to depend on the perspective of ethics that we view the society from. Personally, I tend to be a big advocate of individual rights, so any society such as this, in which a good deal of freedom is taken away for purposes other than keeping people from physically harming one another or breaking contracts, just doesn't seem right to me. I suppose that means that I think such a society would be wrong.

    Presumably, the engineers of the Giver world are taking some form of consequentialist position based on the pleasure/pain principle: maximizing the former and minimizing the latter. Even then, however, there seems to be a complete ignoring of the maximizing of pleasure, and all they're doing is minimizing pain. I suppose that if you think it's worth it to do that, then go ahead and live your life on lithium in handcuffs. I still don't think any society can ever rightfully force people to neuter their own humanity just to avoid hurting themselves.

    This is approached in the recent film Serenity. I don't know if any of you have seen it.
  9. Nov 23, 2005 #8
    I loved that book. I read it twice....>.< But at least I was able to understand it perfectly. But I disagree that this type of society is good. It creates a system that people have no choice or opinion. People lose their humanity. You may as well be a plant, and do the same thing day in, and day out. You have no freedom to move about. You are forever bound to your planter, where people come and water you everyday. You would have no trials or tribulations in life. An analogy would be like you having the exact amount of water in your plant vacuoles. There are never times where you wilt for a little bit, and you never have an over abundance.

    Plus, if they "released" (killed) people as often as they did, there population would probably fizzle out. Jonas's poor sister.....:cry:
  10. Nov 25, 2005 #9
    I certainly wouldn't want to live in that society.
  11. Nov 28, 2005 #10
    I am brave enough to say that this scenario is wrong because it is impossible. There could never be an equalized, perfect, emotionless society, because society is not culprit. Why? Because the components of that society, the people with changing DNA sequences even among a non-changing environment are bound to mutate eventually, causing disturbance in the equilibrium. "Life" will never change (or I should say always changes!) "It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness." - Leo Tolstoy
  12. Nov 28, 2005 #11
    note: the "unchanged/changeless" is also present in the "changing"... else how could there be the recognition of transiency?
  13. Nov 30, 2005 #12
    So the general consensus is that a "perfect" emotionless society would be wrong.

    Thank you.
  14. Nov 30, 2005 #13
    pain and pleasure complement each other, the wider their separated when you experience them makes life that much more relevant.
  15. Nov 30, 2005 #14
    Mmmmmm.... pleasure and pain.
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