Why the Culture Wins: An Appreciation of Iain M. Banks – Sci Phi Journal


36 bookmarks. First posted by xmarquez november 2017.


Many years ago, a friend of mine who knows about these sorts of things handed me a book and said “Here, you have to read this.” It was a copy of Iain M. Banks’s Use of Weapons. I glanced over the j…
livros  ficção-científica 
6 days ago by guictx
That’s what the Culture is, it’s like the evolutionary winner of the contest between all cultures, the ultimate basin of attraction
attractors 
10 days ago by zryb
Given all these options, how do you choose? More fundamentally, who are you? What is it that creates your identity, or that makes you distinctive? If we reflect upon our own lives, the significant choices we have made were all in important ways informed by the constraints we are subject to, the hand that we were dealt: our natural talents, our gender, the country that we were born in. Once the constraints are gone, what basis is there for choosing one path over another?

This is the problem that existentialist writers, like Albert Camus, grappled with. The paradox of freedom is that it deprives choice of all meaningfulness. The answer that Camus recommended was absurdism – simply embracing the paradox. Few have followed him on this path. Sociologically, there are generally two ways in which citizens of modern societies resolve the crisis of meaning. The first is by choosing to embrace a traditional identity – call this “neotraditionalism” – celebrating the supposed authenticity of an ascriptive category. Most religious fundamentalism has this structure, but it also takes more benign forms, such as the suburban American who rediscovers his Celtic heritage, names his child Cahal or Aidan, and takes up residence at the local Irish pub. The other option is moral affirmation of freedom itself, as the sole meaningful value. This is often accompanied by a proselytizing desire to bring freedom to others.17

Because of this, there is a very powerful tendency within liberal societies for the development of precisely the type of “secular evangelism” that Banks described. It acquires a peculiar urgency, because it serves to resolve a powerful tension, indeed to resolve an identity crisis, within modern cultures. It often becomes strident, in part due to a lingering suspicion that it is not strong enough to support the weight that it is being forced to bear.
Essay  Modernity  Philosophy  Politics  Literature  Books 
12 days ago by ejb1569
Many years ago, a friend of mine who knows about these sorts of things handed me a book and said “Here, you have to read this.” It was a copy of Iain M. Banks’s…
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12 days ago by pelles
Many years ago, a friend of mine who knows about these sorts of things handed me a book and said “Here, you have to read this.” It was a copy of Iain M. Banks’s…
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13 days ago by loganrhyne
RT : Why the Culture Wins: An Appreciation of Iain M. Banks
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14 days ago by rjw1
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14 days ago by burritojustice
Many years ago, a friend of mine who knows about these sorts of things handed me a book and said “Here, you have to read this.” It was a copy of Iain M. Banks’s…
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14 days ago by dainiusblynas
Many years ago, a friend of mine who knows about these sorts of things handed me a book and said “Here, you have to read this.” It was a copy of Iain M. Banks’s…
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14 days ago by anglepoised
Many years ago, a friend of mine who knows about these sorts of things handed me a book and said “Here, you have to read this.” It was a copy of Iain M. Banks’s…
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15 days ago by indirect
A particularly cogent summary of the subversive Banks's works. I especially like the off-hand observation that '"Getting to know someone," in our society, involves asking them about the choices they have made in life, not the circumstances they were born into.' This implies a great deal about how to evaluate cultures' values.
books  culture  politics  scifi  writing  philosophy  worldbuilding 
16 days ago by dogrover
Many years ago, a friend of mine who knows about these sorts of things handed me a book and said “Here, you have to read this.” It was a copy of Iain M. Banks’s…
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16 days ago by adrianhon
Many years ago, a friend of mine who knows about these sorts of things handed me a book and said “Here, you have to read this.” It was a copy of Iain M. Banks’s Use of Weapons. “In Thailand, they have this thing called the Dog. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
17 days ago by subsonik
Many years ago, a friend of mine who knows about these sorts of things handed me a book and said “Here, you have to read this.” It was a copy of Iain M. Banks’s Use of Weapons. “In Thailand, they have this thing called the Dog.
Pocket 
19 days ago by iiska
RT : Why the Culture Wins: An Appreciation of Iain M. Banks
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9 weeks ago by wolverian