Re: poly: Egan's Diaspora

From: CurtAdams <>
Date: Wed Mar 18 1998 - 22:37:47 PST

In a message dated 3/18/98 7:52:22 PM, you wrote:

>There is no discussion of how large societies implement these
>philosophies against the possible dissention of members, no
>attention to resource constraints and the costs of actions,
>nor any sense that there are selection effects so not all abstract
>philosophies will be equally represented farther down the road.

>In general, what's good and bad about Egan is what's good and bad
>about hard science fiction. Wonderfully thought-out speculation
>on hard science bundled with laughable assumptions about social

In fairness to SF writers, the scientific literature on these
topics ranges from mediocre (resource constraints) to absent
(memetic selection). When you start looking at hypothetical
far-future scenarios, it's all essentially absent. These are
hard problems, and it's no surprise SF writers can't afford to
spend much time on them. After all, even if they did, they
might have nothing useful - such is science.

On a vaguely related note, I have become quite disenchanted with
communicative art. Art tries to alter the emotions of the
audience; I believe its primary origin lies in the use of art
as horizontally transmitted sexual selection elements.
Communication serves to provide more accurate information
about the world. These two aims are not really connected
(other than that a certain amount of entertainment can keep
an audience around for a communicative message.)

More typically, communication and art are quite at odds. A
successful story/movie is essentially forced to be non-
interactive, include a love story, fit within the technical
constraints of the medium (e.g. 30 minutes for a sitcom),
and be written from a small number of points of view. I
find this highly unrepresentative of the real world, in
which I interact intensely with the world, do not experience
love stories in most projects, deal with problems which not
only don't get resolved in 438 pages but indeed may surpass
my own lifetime, and deal constantly with thousands of
people with far more depth than any fictional character.

As a result, I'm turning to music and decoration for my
artistic existence. I find it rarer and rarer that I read
fiction, watch TV, or go to movies; and rarer yet that I
enjoy them. Nowadays it seems I want to put on music and
read astronomy far more than read SF.
Received on Thu Mar 19 06:39:00 1998

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