Wednesday, 11 September 2013
The Incorporated State And The United Protectorates
"'...you won't find find many people who wish to leave. They wouldn't be able to see the Teamster Hour on Mars...'"
- Poul and Karen Anderson, The Unicorn Trade, New York, 1984, p. 59.
"'...the Incorporated State has naturally produced a, uh, gullible type of citizen. His life's so thoroughly regulated that his main freedom lies in fantasies, which the sensies and the advertisers are quick to supply. Maybe for the average Earthling, those hackneyed old show motifs are more real and meaningful than his own life.'"
- Poul Anderson, Beyond The Beyond, London, 1973, p. 149.
Fantasies realer than life? Once, when I was waiting in a hospital, two porters walked past. One showed his colleague a tabloid newspaper headline. The colleague smiled in appreciation of the story, whatever it was (we call news reports "stories"), then asked this crucial question, "Wha'? In real life or in t'soap?" So - first he appreciated the story, then he checked which of the two parallel narratives it belonged to, "real life" or fiction.
On the other hand, social conventions like money, laws, rights, obligations, contracts and personal and family names are creations of human minds; they do not exist in the physical reality shared with other species and with inanimate objects. Thus, human beings are protoplasm with a creative imagination? However, everything outside ourselves is not fiction. We encounter both external reality, in the universe studied by science, and internal reality, when we understand the workings of our own and others' minds.