Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Greater Good

Poul Anderson, Brain Wave (London, 1977).

The feeble-minded who are wandering about are neither neglected nor rounded up into reservations and are certainly not final-solution-ed, but they are identified and gently guided toward the emerging colonies that will suit them. The colonies in turn are watched and guarded from interference. As far as I can see, this extra effort is made entirely for the benefit of its recipients.

Of necessity, Brock, a former farm employee, now leads a community, one of the "colonies," on the farm where he had been an unskilled manual laborer. The colony committee evacuates nearby towns to give Brock's community elbow room free from the proximity of superior or incomprehensible neighbors. The evacuations are not forced. The town dwellers no longer care where they live. (Relevant Chinese saying: "A rich man thinks of his estates. A sage thinks of the universe.")

When Brock, with some defiance, tells a civilized visitor that his people have been taking what they needed from the towns, he is told that that was the idea and that they are free to move into the towns. The visitor knows Mr Rossman who had owned the farm and who has a friendly interest in Brock's community but who certainly does not want his farm back. Civilization will occasionally help in ways that will look like luck. In fact, a suitable wife for Brock is en route to the farm...

The advanced civilization will similarly help average IQ races throughout the reachable universe.

Near where I live, a Community Association administers some fields for the benefit of the wildlife and of members of the public wanting to follow the footpaths through the fields. Small organisms never suspect that their environment is protected by greater intelligences although, of course, those (human) intelligences never intervene in the lives of particular organisms - who make their own destinies.

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