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Doctorow (82-206) Agenda Item & Informal Reflection…

Agenda Item: "I've done some pretty shitty things in my day," he said. "This is the absolute worst. You helped me and I betrayed you. I'm sure glad I don't believe in God - that'd make what I'm going to do even scarier," (Doctorow 197).

The above quote comes right before Dan is about to kill himself at the end of the book. In a world like this one there is no real concept of God and religion in the traditional sense because the people are playing God every time they clone, backup and refresh. Dan can't believe in something that science has proven to be more powerful then. The whole book takes an interesting look at the question as to whether or not God will forgive suicide?

One of the big things that I think we learn from the book is that living forever and having infinite amounts of money will never lead to people being truly happy. People in this futuristic world don’t feel anything; pain, love, the pay-off of hard work and reward for taking chances. The whole idea that at Disney [land or world] everything is artificial really comes into play through out the book. I can attest that the novelty effect wears off after a while at the amusement park. The same thing happens to people living in this artificial society. Personally after I went there [Disney in Florida] I had no real desire to ever do it again. There are only so many times you can ride the teacups without getting sick.

In class we talked about the Magic Kingdom possibly being a metaphor for youth. You can also look at in the sense that the characters aren’t getting any older [Mickey, Donald etc]. There is this weird cult-like feeling that I associate with the Disney fanatics. The idea that anyone can join them if they are a big enough fan comes to mind. In regard to some of the cool innovations of the book I really liked the idea of finger clicking and beaming information into someone else’s brain.

It would be the most convenient way of explaining something that you had a great deal of knowledge about, but didn’t necessarily know how to verbally convey. In an earlier entry I gave props to the invention of the Cochlea cell phone implant.

Comments:

I commented on Rachel Prichard's blog entry on this reading. I wrote: Cloning should definitely be a last resort for the sheer fact that the book demonstrates how it can be abused. I don't even really know if I can justify it for practical means. Can you even fathom the wastefulness of cloning? It would be like printing out a piece of paper, but the ink smears a little on the corner and you print another one because you can't deal with imperfection.

I also commented on Jeremy Barrick's blog entry for this reading. I wrote: I loved this quote in the book Jeremy. I was considering it for my own agenda item at first. The universe gets older, but it doesn't ever die just like the information on a computer's hard drive. Now I can't in good conscience say that a hard drive will last forever as an embedded technological footprint, but it we can sometimes rescue files after it has been damaged. I think it would be great to have the ability to access memories on a computer, but not to put them into clones. If I had dementia or Alzheimer’s then maybe it would be an option.

Additionally I commented on DaniellaChoynowski's blog entry. I wrote: I thought of the deadheading on the airplanes as absolutely absurd. It reminded me of people that knock themselves out with sleeping pills so they don't have to deal with a long flight, car or train ride. I mean are people that distant that they would rather be comatose then interact with one another?

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Comments (1)

ChrisU:

As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, it's easy to become disillusioned with something once you find out how it works (especially if it works via mind control or brainwashing, a horrific possibility examined in other sci-fi tales, as well, like The Matrix).

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