Being furloughed, Kat’s found time to do stuff she’s struggled to do previously, such as reading.
Nothing quite comes close to the joy and escapism of immersing yourself in a good book, and I’m now on a mission to find ‘The New Best Book’ I’ve ever read! Currently, this title, believe it or not, goes to Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. I was backpacking around India at the time, so had lots of free time to do as I pleased, so I did tend to carry a good many books throughout my travels.
For those looking for some mental stimulation, I’ve recently finished a book entitled, The Pig that Wants to be Eaten: and 99 other Thought Experiments, by Julian Baggini. The title piqued my curiosity, and the source of that actual chapter within the book is from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams (of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame) who I’m a big fan of.
Basically, each chapter presents a scenario or situation, with a moral or philosophical dilemma, followed by a section in which different ways of thinking or dealing with possible solutions to the situation are posed. It’s like ‘an enjoyable workout for the mind’, as the London Review of Books states, and it certainly is!
Here’s a snippet from a chapter called ‘The experience machine.’
‘Robert had been sitting in front of the consent form for two hours and still didn’t know whether to sign it or shred it. His choice was between two futures.
In one, his prospects were bleak and the chances of realising his dreams slim. In the other, he would be a famous rock star, guaranteed to be kept permanently happy. Not much of a choice you’d think, but whereas the first life would be in the real world, the second would be entirely within the experience machine.
This device enables you to live the whole of your life in a virtual reality environment. But crucially, once in the machine, you have no idea that you are not in the real world, nor that what is happening to you has been designed to meet your needs. It seems you are living an ordinary life in the ordinary world, it’s just that in this life, you are one of the winners for whom everything seems to go right.
Robert knows that once he’s in the machine, life will be great. But, something about its phoniness makes him hesitant to sign the form that will take him to this paradise.
(Source: Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick.)’
What would you do?
This book certainly produces some really interesting discussions and could be great for a ‘brain workout’.
Give it a go! And out of interest, I’d love to know what you’d do in Robert’s situation. Drop Rambutan a line with your thoughts.