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Ursula LeGuin's best work
is a short piece that plays
with our gut-level perception
that a perfect society is
impossible. She describes an
idyllic place named Omelas, A joke from usenet:
repeatedly harping on how it If an imperfect utopia is an omelas,
all seems like a fairy tale. then a small imperfect utopia
Finally, she adds one last must be an "omelette".
element to the scenario: a
suffering child locked away It took me a while to get it,
in a closet, and *then* it all but the word "omelette" is
seems much more realistic. probably the source of
LeGuin's word Omelas (just as
"Earth" was mutated into
Once I considered "Urras" in the Dispossesed):
myself one of "The Ones Who
Walk Away From Omelas", but You can't make an omelette
I've long since wandered back without breaking a few eggs.
(Though LeGuin says
that it's just
from a highway
sign: "Salem, O"
From Brian Eno's "A Year With Swollen Appendices":
At lunch discussing comparative philosophical systems.
Bono maintains Judaeo-Christianity shows good results.
I say it's a question of what number and type of casualties
you're willing to tolerate (arrange various philosophies
along such axes). Some systems produce only total
losers and flat-out winners -- the banana republic
model -- while others attempt a 'spread it evenly'
approach -- welfare-stately. Is 'scapegoatism' -- a big
feature of many 'primitive' societies -- a way of trying
to visit all current psychological distress on to just
one person? And, if so, how do we feel about that kind
of deal -- where one person suffers enormously in lieu
of everyone else? Is this the basis of torture and The
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