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Jonas lived in a world that had been emotionally and intellectually sanitized to such an extent that there could be no pain, because there was also no pleasure. This utopian community had done everything possible to remove anything unpleasant from their society--war, fear, hunger, pain, conflict, divorce, competition--and in doing so, had also removed everything that might bring joy, satisfaction, intellectual and/or emotional fulfillment. There was no pain, but there was also no pleasure. There was no divorce, but there was also no love. There were no painful memories in the individual and collective consciousness of the community members, but there were no happy memories for them either.
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