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The book reminds me of the philosophical challenge of "the box." If one could enter this "box" where one could feel no pain or misery, and only experience sensations and feelings of joy and happiness, is this something worthy of pursuit? In the final analysis, individuals have to end up choosing, in this paradigm, whether the desire for pleasure and joy, without any of the essence of human interaction or "reality," is something that overwhelms the painful condition of being human. In the final analysis, I think that I fear too much the element of outside control in going "into the box." While the condition of consciousness carries with it much pain, much sorrow, and much in the way of hurt, it is distinctly mine, distinctly individualistic, and something that helps to define my identity. The desire to be the author, to some extent, of my own narrative is what I place primacy. This would be why I would have to reject the Community offered in Lowry's book, as it seeks to eliminate individual distinction, personal memory, and authentic narrative. For me, this is a license for a great level of central and external control, denying me the essence of my own identity and sense of self.
Certainly, if we were not human it would be quite simple to live in such a community. A utopia where nobody has to experience pain, and where the concept of "Sameness" is applied as a way to avoid complexity is certainly plausible, but not when you have thoughts, emotions, stages of development, and choice.
It would be very horrible to live in a place where you cannot explore your full emotional, psychological, and physical potential. It is impossible to apply "Sameness" to such a complicated race such as ours. I, personally wouldn't be able to make it in the community depicted in "The Giver".
You can see where the community in the book would seem nice in some ways. There are lots of times when I would not mind having decisions made for me. And imagine not having to worry about finding a job or deciding what you want to do. That would be very nice.
But the rest of the stuff that goes along with that security is terrible. I can't imagine living in a society where there is so little love. In our society, love is the basis of our families and our families are in some way the center of our lives. I would not like to live in a world where families did not share that bond.
The community in the book "The Giver" controls every aspect of humanity. I saw a couple of inconsistencies in the way the community ruled though that impresses upon me that all was not as fair as it seemed. In one part of the book the daughter expresses that she would like to be a birth mother. She is reminded that it is a lowly position. In another section the father does not like the night shift as a nurturer because it has less status. What this indicates to me is that no matter how perfect things may seem there are always going to be discrepancies where human beings are concerned.
I find that having someone take away all choices also means taking away the things that enable one to prepare for harm or danger. In the instance of the plane flying over, the people were panicked. They did not know what to do and had to rely on the Giver for his memories. I believe that being able to protect oneself and make decisions are a very important aspect of humanity.
On a personal level, I found the release of people and the limited time that they had to experience life to be sad. Life has so many wonderful experiences mixed in with the tragic. I would rather live in an imperfect world with love and hate, than in a world with no emotions.
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