The Giver

  • Thread starter RuroumiKenshin
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  • #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?
 

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  • #2
wuliheron
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what are the characteristics you think could create a perfect community? Will there always be some sort of paradox involved? If so why?

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)
 
  • #3
chosenone
183
1
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!
 
  • #4
wuliheron
2,135
0
Let Freedom Ring! You get your choice of MacDonald's or Burger King, Bush or Gore! Who could ask for anything more!
 
  • #5
Originally posted by wuliheron
Perfection is for those who can't handle reality.
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?
 
  • #6
Manuel_Silvio
121
0
Wuliheron always strikes hard and shoots right between the eyes. Bravo! All Hail Wulieron!
 
  • #7
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by MajinVegeta
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?

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.
 
  • #8
Njorl
Science Advisor
285
17
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?

Njorl
 
  • #9
Originally posted by Njorl
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
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?
or the capacity to experience wherever they are as their utopia.
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.
That pretty much leaves me out.
Come with us then. :wink:
 
  • #10
wuliheron
2,135
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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?

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)

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.

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 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 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!"
 
  • #11
drag
Science Advisor
1,100
1
Greetings !
Originally posted by wuliheron
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)
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.
 
  • #12
wuliheron
2,135
0
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.

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.
 
  • #13
Originally posted by wuliheron
Reality is the paradox of existence.
I see.
As for why we can't achieve a selfless utopia, Because I say so.
I see.
Call me selfish if you want, but as an imperfect being I want nothing to do with achieving perfection. :0)
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.
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.
Well; having the freedom to go where you like allows you to stay where you are. Thus, you'll never be forced to leave.
 
  • #14
Psyber freek
20
0
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?
 
  • #15
wuliheron
2,135
0
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.

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.

Well; having the freedom to go where you like allows you to stay where you are. Thus, you'll never be forced to leave.

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.
 
  • #16
M. Gaspar
679
1
Utopia

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.
 
  • #17
Originally posted by Psyber freek
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?

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.
 
  • #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?
 
  • #19
wuliheron
2,135
0
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.
 
  • #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?
 
  • #21
wuliheron
2,135
0
Some say acceptance enhances utopia, some say it is utopia, I say it is both. If nobody accepts utopia, than it is not utopia. If nobody believes their acceptance of utopia enhances it, then again it is not utopia by definition. Exactly what physical requirements are needed for utopia is still something scientists, philosophers, and theologians are attempting to figure out. :0)
 
  • #22
M. Gaspar
679
1
Not MY Utopia

Acceptance of what is sounds like a great path to stagnation.

I prefer to be moved by the energy of "creative discontent".

The Utopia you (and others) describe is for people who want to COAST!

Making things happen is MY Utopia...and I'm living it HERE.
 
  • #23
IOW, utopia is undefined, relative, anisotropic, and all of the above.(i've always wanted to say that )
 
  • #24
wuliheron
2,135
0
IOW, utopia is undefined, relative, anisotropic, and all of the above.(i've always wanted to say that)

Wishes do come true! Acceptance is no more stagnation than happiness is stagnation. People often tend to create negative scenarios about things they have never tried before. Oh, if I were perfectly happy I'd just sit on a rock and do nothing! Bunk! Happy people tend to do more, likewise accepting people do more. Why? Because their minds are not distracted with silly negative scenarios. :0)
 
  • #25
M. Gaspar
679
1
Wuli...

...ya mean, like the scenario that has me not "trying acceptance on"?

For me, "acceptance" suggests an internal statement like "Oh well, that's just the way it IS." with no inclination to do what it takes to have it OTHERWISE.

This, again, would not be MY Utopia. And I don't think we're "here" for that. Will will repeat myself by saying that those who wish for Utopia want to get to the finish line without running the race.

Can you get things done and be accepting. Sure. But if you're "accepting"...there are things your not working on...including ONESELF!

I also don't make it my personal goal to be "happy" as much as possible. I'm "here" to make a difference, and sometimes I'm not too "happy" with my efforts (in the face of countervaling forces)...or my results.

Overall, however, I am "happy" to be "in the game"...which would not be taking place in the Utopia you and others have described (I think).
 
  • #26
wuliheron
2,135
0
For me, "acceptance" suggests an internal statement like "Oh well, that's just the way it IS." with no inclination to do what it takes to have it OTHERWISE.

That's called resignation, not acceptance. I accept my friends, for example, flaws and all, but still might try to help them change for the better. I can accept the world, flaws and all, and still want to make it a better place. I can be happy with my friends and the world, and still want to make them better. I can love my lover, and still want to love them more.

All of these things are possible only because I can accept.
 
  • #27
M. Gaspar
679
1
Wuli...

So, Utopia "is" a "place" where people are AWARE OF "flaws" in others, themselves and the world, but continue to feel affinity and compassion...even as they might seek to help.

OK. Then Utopia's in New Jersey.

However, I thought Utopia was a "perfect" place where people always get along, never cheat each other, etc...in other words, where all the darker aspects of human behavior have been completely removed from the equation. That's why its considered "idealized" and "impracticle."

In a spiritual discussion, I might say that the darker side of each human being is there so that we can be tempted to do "wrong" then have the OPPORTUNITY to CHOOSE to do "right."

Then, Utopia may be a "state" where all humans are always aware they they are making spiritual choices and, moreover, always CHOOSE to "do right."

Good luck with that.
 
  • #28
wuliheron
2,135
0
I thought Utopia was a "perfect" place where people always get along, never cheat each other, etc...in other words, where all the darker aspects of human behavior have been completely removed from the equation. That's why its considered "idealized" and "impracticle."

That is one western interpretation of Utopia based on Aristotlian logic and Augustine's incorporation of it into Christianity. Unfortunately for Aristotle his logic does not describe the real world completely any more than Euclidian Geometry does. Real life is messy, nature is chaotic and often unpredictable and is much more complex than can be described using "perfect" circles and squares. Perfection is for those who refuse to face reality, but this does not mean Utopia is a worthless concept. It just means it requires a more realistic definition.

As I've already stated, the original ideas of Utopia in both the east and the west were of a place which is extremely fertile, peaceful, etc. (thus, ruling out NJ.) By these criteria then Utopia has existed to some extent in various places at various times. Chuang Tzu humorously remarked upon this once saying basically that in the good 'ol days people were honest, but didn't know how to lie. They were hard working, but had no clue what it was to be lazy. They were generous, but did not know what selfishness is.

In a spiritual discussion, I might say that the darker side of each human being is there so that we can be tempted to do "wrong" then have the OPPORTUNITY to CHOOSE to do "right."

Then, Utopia may be a "state" where all humans are always aware they they are making spiritual choices and, moreover, always CHOOSE to "do right."

I don't believe in free will or determinism for that matter, that's just another absolute along the lines of "perfection" based on Aristotlelian logic. Over the centuries the concept of free will has been used by societies to condemn and kill people. If that's spirituality I want nothing to do with it and it certainly is not my idea of utopia.
 
  • #29
M. Gaspar
679
1
Wuli...

I wish I knew how to "capture" your LAST PARAGRAPH as others do. I guess I'll figure it out eventually, but now I'm racing to beat NetZero in disconnecting me!

I totally don't get your point, but here's my take on the words you were using.

The Universe is a living, conscious Entity that's responsive to all of its parts.

It is here to "have an Experience."

Matter/energy, spirt and consciousness accrete through similar processes, Thus, they have -- since the time of the last "Big Bang" -- formed coherent chucks of stuff for the purpose of HAVING an interactive Experience.

In each incarnation, the natural processes of the Universe probably "freeze down" enough energy to form the "physical plane." THe purpose of the physical plane it to provide a context for the coherent chunks of matter/spirit/consciousness to engage in DRAMAS...where CHOICES RULE!

The Universe has NO PLAN. The Universe doesn't know everything that's going to happen. That what makes it an INTERESTING Experience for the Universe.

Our capacity to make choices and enjoy their consequences is simply part of the natural processes of the Universe. People call it "Free Will" like it was BESTOWED upon us, but as I say, its just a natural part of the System to keep things INTERESTING.

If some people choose to kill with a nod to Free Will, well, that's probably INTERESTING, too. However, if the Game includes "spiritual evolution" then we're probably "supposed to" choose the "highest" actions according to our best lights.

What say you?
 
  • #30
wuliheron
2,135
0
That's one interpretation, but what I am saying is what I say all the time. Existence is demonstrably paradoxical and you can interpret it any way you like. Instead of interpreting life or ourselves according to some sort of abstract principles and concepts that place limits on everything, the alternative is to just go with the flow, be spontanious in the moment.

Limits, logic, and other abstractions are wonderful tools, but they are only tools. Confusing the map with the territory is a mistake. A good musician lives the music rather than just reading and following the notes on the page. A loving parent lives the part rather than just reading doctor Spock. The same is true for the concepts of free will and determinism, just maps attempting to describe what is quite possibly indescribable.

From a rational scientific viewpoint free will may be an illusion and we could all be walking robots living meaningless, pointless lives. From a spiritual religious point of view, we could all be Gods possessed of free will and creating everything out of nothing. Both are just maps, bedtime stories that do not describe all that can be observed, the paradox of existence.

This is true also for utopia. Ask twelve people for detailed descriptions of a perfect society and you'll get twelve answers.
There is an old joke that an optimist is someone who believes this is the best of all possible worlds (i.e. utopia) and a pessimist is someone who's afraid they are correct. I'll settle for something a bit more realistic than perfection and a bit less extreme than such views of optimism and pessimism. :0)
 
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  • #31
M. Gaspar
679
1
I can see how certain points of view might "place limits" on living life. However, it is possible to speculate about what may be "true" about the Universe (or God), and still be able to "go with the flow"...as you encourage.

You visit this Forum -- as I do -- to kick around IDEAS. This is my idea of FUN...and I am grateful to have found this site.

I like jousting with more-informed and better minds than mine...tho I get a little bruised from time to time.
 
  • #32
wuliheron
2,135
0
I can see how certain points of view might "place limits" on living life. However, it is possible to speculate about what may be "true" about the Universe (or God), and still be able to "go with the flow"...as you encourage.

Yes, exactly. A few rare idiot savants can play the piano without taking lessons, the rest of us must start with the basics and then learn to allow ourselves to become lost in the process.

You visit this Forum -- as I do -- to kick around IDEAS. This is my idea of FUN...and I am grateful to have found this site.

I like jousting with more-informed and better minds than mine...tho I get a little bruised from time to time.

Mostly I visit it to practice expressing ideas. I just love to teach and often teaching is the best way to learn something better. Getting bruised is half the fun. Although occassionally someone just hands me what I need to continue polishing my philosophy, more often than not it is people arguing and bruising me that is the source of inspiration. :0)
 
  • #33
M. Gaspar
679
1
Wuliheron

Exactly.
 

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