Having just re-read Spider Robinson’s Melancholy Elephants and posting a link to it on Facebook, I had a realization as I searched for a title to tag the link with to entice people to read it. I chose “Society must be able to forget.”
Immediately my brain lurched forward with that thought, is that true? Sure it’s true for art, or intellectual property, but that makes it a maxim. Is it true? Universally applicable? What if when we say “those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it” we are making the argument for the true nature of mankind’s existence? What if we need to repeat our mistakes, what if we need to repeat history. An existence of perfect memory could be an existence of perfect actions and perfect sterility.
Or maybe I need to be wary of caffeine-fueled inspiration at 0900.
Dave read a book!
A fiction book!
Last night I finished reading “Variable Star”, by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson. And by finished, I mean yesterday morning I was less than half-done. After I’d done laundry and dinner and such I picked it back up and didn’t really put it down till I was done at 0100. I really wanted to go to sleep earlier, but there was just no good place to stop in the last half-dozen chapters.
Most people that know me are rather shocked by all this. It’s been a good long time since I’ve read any fiction. A good part of starting to read fiction is finding a new way to destress. Finding a way to have my life not revolve around work all the time. And possibly improving my vocabulary a bit. I know the creative part of my brain has been atrophying for a good chunk of time. I can feel it. It’s like trying to use muscles to do something way beyond their capability. I try and I can feel my brain fire back with a “503 Service Unavailable”. Dialtoning every time I try to explain something is getting rather old.
So I picked up “Variable Star” after listening to Spider Robinson’s excellent podcast (including some chapters of the book as well as other essays) as well as (albeit non-fiction) the 2 volume abridgment of Arnold J. Toynbee’s “A Study of History. It currently hurts to read this, but it’s time I start pushing my brain again.
And the upside of it all is I get to become an even bigger geek in the process.