Saturday, April 21, 2012

The first novel that I've fallen in love with

Back in Jan, I mentioned in a post that I had ordered a book called Ender's Game to keep me occupied in my spare time.  Either I fell in love with the book or I've got too much time to kill because I've already finished the third book in the series and ordered the fourth.  Its a sci-fi novel series that starts with Ender Wiggin as the central character.

To me, the first book is about a brilliant kid who is put in a challenging position where he has to struggle every single day.  Not only does he have to fight against others intellectually but also with himself morally.  The story and the concepts are smart and the twists are powerful.  The way Ender's struggle comes to an end is just beautiful to read; a perfect ending.

The next book is called Speaker for the Dead and it really does take the series to the next level in my opinion by bringing philosophy into the mix.  It goes deep into the human mind and explores the various feelings of an individual.  The story starts digging deeper into human relations, motivations and even religion.  In essence, its still a sci-fi adventure but beautifully sprinkled with philosophy.

The third is called Xenocide and it dives head first into ethics, moral and nature of intelligence.  We humans are the only species in this planet with such advanced levels of intelligence.  We are not aware of any other type of civilization or society.  Our species has individuals governed by leaders and people who follow or rebel.  What if there is a completely different way of looking at life/society?  How would our morals and ethics be perceived by a completely different species?

The books don't attempt to completely answer philosophical questions.  In fact, whenever the books provide an answer, it also provides a counter-argument against it.  This is really where the book succeeds as a philosophical piece.  You see, all our lives we have been stuffed with answers, in our schools, colleges, at work etc.  But in the books, the various characters in their moral dilemma ask complicated questions which are hard to answer.

Let me try to explain why asking questions are more powerful than simply giving answers.  Say for example you  hurt someone.  Now, all our religions will immediately ask us to repent our sin and ask the victim for forgiveness.  But have you ever wondered why we should ask forgiveness?  The word "sorry" is not going to undo the suffering you have caused him.  Its not justice either because you barely suffered while the other person clearly did.  Are you asking forgiveness to simply feel better?  See how many questions raise from a simple situation?

When it comes to philosophy, asking questions will have a more profound impact on us than reading answers.  There are so many characters caught in tough situations and struggling over different questions.  They are all inter-connected and one thing affects the other which makes their moral dilemma even more complex.  Smart, complex and philosophical, I love it!

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