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The Giver

  1. Apr 4, 2003 #1
    I read a book, "The Giver" by Louis Lowry. It was a very interesting book, because it was about a perfect utopia that solved all the problems. For example, these people could only see in black and white. The book never mentioned a single color until the very end of the book (for certain reasons). Also, people where assigned jobs, spouses, everything. And for them, being different was strictly prohibted. Pointing out differences was considered a serious transgression. In fact, babies born with abnormalities where killed. But the people didn't think it at all bad. For us it is but for them it wasn't because it was a anisotropic matter.
    Anyway, what are the characteristics you think could create a perfect community? Will there always be some sort of paradox involved? If so why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2003 #2
    Perfection is for those who can't handle reality. More precisely, it is for those who can't accept reality. That is the paradox of utopia, you never quite get there, but the journey is the reward anyway.

    From this point of view, acceptance is the central feature of utopia. Acceptance not in the sense of shrugging your shoulders and just accepting a burden, nor do mean acceptance in the sense of being overjoyed either. Just acceptance as in, "that's the way it is" and then responding appropriately. The first thing any utopia would have to accept then is itself and its own humanity.

    Stories about Utopia are prehistoric and they all share certain basic features. Utopia is supposidly a peaceful place of abundance. Abundant art, food, culture, depth of feeling, color, etc. This is not what your description of the "The Giver" sounds like. It sounds more like what is commonly called a dis-topia. :0)
  4. Apr 4, 2003 #3
    Well if you want a utopia,how about this idea.the U.S.A. in all mans history has the best form of government.it stops a dictatorship,distributes the power between all 3 branches,and gives us all or freedoms.if you ask me,as humans we could'nt do any better if we tried,thats why it still works,its not perfect but it works.for example even the right to bare arms gives kids the ability to get them and kill,or anyone,the murder rate is still low considering how many americans own weapons.but with it the people stop the government from taking over the people and putting a dictator in power,plus we stop anyone from trying to attack us on our own soil,because were all armed.so it protects us all from anyone taking our freedom.so what you do is,because the last state to ever enter the union was alaska or hawaii,so if all the countries of the world petitioned the U.S.A.to become a state,our business community would go into these counties and bring modern product like technology,food,and other things to help the fedreral government foot the bill for turning the new state into a state,because at the same time what the government is doing is putting in the new state government to take power in the new state.and to do that,the new government officials are the poeple who live in the former country as leader,but because by amending to the constitution that any new state that jions the union be given immidiate citizenship,so all the leaders in the former country can run for the new government position and are voted in by the poeple,because they know them already,then the world would become all free!
  5. Apr 4, 2003 #4
    Let Freedom Ring! You get your choice of MacDonald's or Burger King, Bush or Gore! Who could ask for anything more!
  6. Apr 4, 2003 #5
    I like to think that ~making things better~ is something which mankind will always strive to do. So in what sense do you define 'reality' - and why can we never achieve a selfless utopia?
  7. Apr 4, 2003 #6
    Wuliheron always strikes hard and shoots right between the eyes. Bravo! All Hail Wulieron!
  8. Apr 4, 2003 #7
    Yeah, my teacher had me read "The Giver", when I was in the 5th grade. I don't remember everything about it, but I like the story.

    As far as the questions, that you asked:

    1) Love, faith, and hope. But the greatest of these is love. (1Corinthians 13:13).

    2) That depends on what kind of paradox you're talking about. If you mean some not-understood characteristic, then possibly. But if you mean something that is self-contradictory, then I don't think so.
  9. Apr 4, 2003 #8


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    I think Wuliheron had it somewhere in his post - a utopia would require all those within it to either have the same opinion of what utopia was, or the capacity to experience wherever they are as their utopia. That pretty much leaves me out. I like the idea of chafing worldviews. I don't like the way things are now, with those differences leading to war etc., but too much uniformity would drive me nuts.

    I was going to post something about "utopias" in the ET intelligence thread. Utopia could be a great danger to a species. If we advance technologically to the point where we can devote all our resources to solving societal problems, could the ease we create cause us to lose our drive? If everyone was happy and secure, would we risk just fading away?

  10. Apr 4, 2003 #9
    And what happens if Utopia turns out to be a place where you just be yourself without a care in the world for anyone or anything - because they can (in this utopia of mine) literally look after themselves? (especially theories about existence - perhaps such a future-Utopia will totally comprehend existence, and will have no more requirement/desire to discuss existence). Perhaps the fun in the finding is gone, but wouldn't you prefer to reap the joys of having such knowledge?
    My utopia is better than yours. We can go anywhere we want, at any time, and sleep where we find a vacant spot. After all, we are welcomed by all. And all are welcomed by us. That's what I'd call Utopia. Maybe we need to define what it means.
    Come with us then. :wink:
  11. Apr 4, 2003 #10
    Reality is the paradox of existence. As for why we can't achieve a selfless utopia, Because I say so. Call me selfish if you want, but as an imperfect being I want nothing to do with achieving perfection. :0)

    Yuk!!! I don't want to go anywhere I want, any time, etc. I like where I am right now and hate vacations, it gives the rest of my life meaning and encourages me to look within for answers.

    I don't remember writing that, but it sounds good to me. As I often tell people, "The moment I become perfectly humble I want the whole world to know!"
  12. Apr 4, 2003 #11


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    Greetings !
    Like Manuel_Silvio said - bravo !

    I was reading your posts in Ishop's thread
    and you talked there about the abundance
    of resources too. I agree with the point you're
    making that this allows for a more peaceful and
    stable community because our desires remain mostly
    satisfied and there're less causes for conflict.

    However, it is incorrect, in my opinion, to
    completely disregard the point people made about
    humans' nature. And acceptance can not take
    care of this either, because acceptance
    is a matter of will.

    As long as people interact there will be disagreement.
    Disagreement can lead to jelousy/anger/hate/fear/
    violence and quest for power.

    Like you said: "Perfection is for those who can't handle reality."

    Live long and prosper.
  13. Apr 4, 2003 #12
    Acceptance is not a matter of will, it IS human nature as I pointed out in the post. A baby crawls across the floor playing first a piece of lint and then a beam of sunlight while totally ignoring all the toys. That is acceptance, that is human nature.

    However, I don't fool myself into thinking every aspect of culture and civilization are ever going to disappear or that they should disappear. The journey is the reward. Virtue is its own reward. As the planet we all share nears ecological disaster extreme denial of this simple fact of life becomes counter productive. The harmony of nature is restored as disonance meets itself and cancels out.
  14. Apr 4, 2003 #13
    I see.
    I see.
    I don't call that selfish. I call it foolish. Why don't you want the best for yourself, or for anybody else? You don't have to be 'perfect' in order to have the desire to be so.
    Well; having the freedom to go where you like allows you to stay where you are. Thus, you'll never be forced to leave.
  15. Apr 4, 2003 #14
    While a utopia is probably impossible,(the environment in the Giver was not a utopia)we could probably make something close if we were to expand upon some of the priciples of the U.S. and other counties.

    While we're on the topic of the Giver, can anyone tell me what the last page is supposed to mean?
  16. Apr 4, 2003 #15
    For me, desiring to be perfect insures you never will be. A desire is the complimentary opposite of disatisfaction. Like up and down, the two cannot be seperated.

    To have that kind of freedom, I must first be free of desire. Often, we are our own worst enemies. Freedom is something that must be accepted as much as fought for. There are a huge number of children in the world, for example, who are slaves working in various factories. Often when freed they will refuse to leave.

    The entire concept of freedom is alien to them. They have no clue what it means. Likewise, freedom is an evolving concept for all of us no matter how free we might think of ourselves. What really matters, perhaps, is not how we concieve of freedom in any particular circumstance but how we accept our freedom. The same, of course, can be said for utopia. Once you accept existence for the miracle it is, you're already there and will actualize utopia in demonstrable ways.
  17. Apr 4, 2003 #16

    When people speak of -- or more specifically, WISH FOR -- Utopia, Nervana or Heaven, it seems to me that they want to get to the Finish Line without running the race!

    We're not here by accident, in a world of conflict and temptations. This plane exists as a CONTEXT for "avenues" of evolution, including personal, societal, cultural, mental and spiritual.

    The potential for "good" and "evil" exists in each of us, and the temptation to do ill affords us the opportunity to CHOOSE to "do the right thing". As individuals, it CAN BE a self-directed process, whereby, moment to moment, temptation to temptation, we use our AWARENESS of "the Game" (i.e., spiritual evolution) to make the highest choice and take the highest action.

    A Utopia would strip us of the opportunity and be totally counter-productive to the Universe's primary intention, which might be: to have a highly complex experience through which IT can evolve within Its current incarnation.

    If there were no "violence" in the Universe, it would come to a DEAD STOP. It's the dynamic tensions -- both physical and not -- that keeps things going.
  18. Apr 4, 2003 #17
    I believe Jonas and Gabriel enter a parallel universe. Or maybe they go back to the community in the future. I'm not very sure, but that's what I love about the book, the mystery.
  19. Apr 4, 2003 #18
    I highly applaud wuliheron's first post on this thread, but I have but one disagreement.
    First of all, I don't agree that in a utopia, you just accept things as the way they are. That is what happens in any other condition (in many cases). Secondly, people in a so-called utopia like in the book The Giver, have nothing else to compare their community to. So I guess the whole matter is anisotropic.(i do believe I have already said that before).
    Anyhow, a utopia is in a way self contradictory, or rather paradoxical in the sense that, at least from what I've ever read, people would be like androids. Just like in The Giver, everyone is assigned a life basically and they have no emotion. Love means nothing to them, hate means nothing to them. When comfronted with emotion, they act like they are paranoid. They have to make everything perfect; emotion only causes imperfection. Apperently, that's what the book implied. Could this be true?
  20. Apr 5, 2003 #19
    I didn't say one just accepts utopia, I said acceptance is the central feature of utopia. Acceptance is an attitude, an emotion. Without emotion the paradox of existence itself has no context or meaning, much less utopia.
  21. Apr 6, 2003 #20
    Well acceptance is sort of describes people who know different views of a utopia, right? Over all, I do believe you are right. Does emotion enhance utopia, or does it make it more prone to corruption?
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