Saturday, March 1, 2008

Our Heroine Is Kind Of A Coward

Ok, so, I'm reading a science fiction novel. Real, honest-to-goodness science fiction. (I KNOW, it's weird to me too, it's not normally my thing.) It called The Golden Age, about an interplanetary Utopian society. The author is John C. Wright, who converted from secular atheism to Catholicism, and for whom I have recently developed a soft spot.

I'm totally enjoying it, and I'll write more about it later, but I did want to comment on the state of the story thus far. The book asks the reader to consider this question: pleasure or truth? That's a great question, right? It's a version of the only question worth asking. Is it better to be well-regarded; popular; loved; successful; rich; immortal, even, with unlimited access to every lawful pleasure; than to have the Truth without them?

Since I already know a little about Mr. Wright's philosophy, I'm confident of what he thinks is the answer. But what is particularly interesting to me, is reading how this dilemma plays out in the Utopian world Wright has created. I mean, if his hero chooses Truth, he essentially loses Paradise. And, unlike the author, the hero has no religion, no, "Not this life, but the life hereafter" philosophy. If he does what I think he will do, I wonder: would I be so brave in the same circumstances? See headline of post, if you have any doubts.

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