Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 15, 2013

Opening our eyes to a free lunch

One of my favorite lines from last time's first installment of Richard Powers' Generosity: An Enhancement, pronounced by Thassadit the "liver" in exasperation with Milton Friedman's famous declaration of conservative market-driven economics:
"My father was an engineer. He always liked the English expression: There's no free lunch. That's crazy! There is only free lunch. We should all be nothing but clouds of frozen dust. This is what science says. All lunch is free. My father was a scientist, but he never understood this one simple scientific fact, poor man."
In the existential economics of personal well-being, Thassa knows, Richard Dawkins is right: we are the lucky ones. We get to live. We must learn to open our eyes, to keep them open, to open them again every morning.

We're reading Powers because it strikes yours truly as raising some of the most profoundly meaningful questions we face: questions about the very possibility of meaningful human experience as we move forward into our increasingly engineered, digitized, hive-minded, televised, entertained future, questions about our own authorship of the meanings of our lives, questions about fact and fiction and (sci-) fiction becoming fact...

May I suggest that anyone who's having trouble with the density of this novel might consider giving a tandem listen to the excellent audio version available at audible.com.

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