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I was just going to chime in with Down And Out in the Magic Kingdom. There's a Utopia where there's striving, and existential pain.

But I shouldn't comment too much on it, because I got too bored to finish it. In the first page it is revealed that characters will survive until the "heat death of the universe." Given that premise, I quickly surmised that any dilemmas would be sort of, well, boring without the threat of imminent death. Based on that one small example I would say there is something necessary about the threat of death and lesser forms of tragedy, to maintain the needed literary tension to keep those pages turning.

Suggested reading:

Aristotle's Poetics for the ancient, and I think incorrect, theory for tragedy as catharsis.

Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy for the view that tragedy gives meaning to our ultimately meaningless striving. Based on the pre-Platonic view of life under the thumb of despotic Greek gods, i.e., fate. (Or so Nietzsche says.)

A little off topic, but Cormac McCarthy said that he "doesn't understand" fiction that doesn't have death in it. Why write it? he's saying. Or, from our perspective, why read it?

I'd stay subscribed even with a lower (or much lower) post ratio. I can't keep up as it is given the significant back-tracking necessary to keep a full handle on things. Eliezer, you have the core of what could be quite a wonderful ebook or paper book or popular book or some combination thereof with what you've got here, and whatever else might yet be coming.

I think I for one would quickly lose interest if this site were open to all comers, or even some comers; I read this blog for Eliezer, twacked out as he gets sometimes, and to a lesser extent, Robin. If there are other Eliezers out in the wings that'd be great but somehow I doubt they've just been waiting for OB to turn into a mob-rule forum to start posting here.


Go on.


I'd be interested to hear your comments on the election, also.