Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Back To A Future

John C. Wright, The Golden Age (New York, 2003), Chapter 13, section 2, p. 210.

Phaeton, expressing his ambition to win peerless renown, anticipates the following response from the entity with which he is conversing:

"...that the desire for a life of glory was nothing more than selfishness and self-aggrandizement; that all human accomplishment was the outcome of a collective effort."

Even in such a multifarious society, will responses be so predictable and also so mean-spirited? Many accomplishments are collective. Humanity has built civilization. Any civilization, especially a highly technologized one, enables many individuals to accomplish great things, including many talented and creative individuals who do not seek renown but who rightly receive it.

I do not feel that Wright's plotting protagonists measure up to the dynamism and creativity of their own civilization.

7 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Even while first granting all civilizations were built "collectively" or cooperatively, there were still INDIVIDUALS whose solitary genius still made contributions which would drastically CHANGE things. Obvious examples being whoever it was who invented the wheel or "Hindu/Arabic" numbers.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
Yes, leadership is an important part of the cooperative process.
Paul.

Paul Shackley said...

Society consists of individuals who exist only because of social relationships. They are two sides of a coin.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Of course I agree! I'm trying to say that sometimes an INDIVIDUAL can make or do things that causes a society to go in an entirely different direction.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
That is certainly true. Someone who stands in the right place can move the world.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And thus becomes a causality nexus or vortex, to use terms from Poul Anderson's Time Patrol stories.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
Nexus certainly. Anderson's use of "vortex" is tantalizingly mysterious.
Paul.