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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Station Zero
Philip Reeve
Progress: 220/282 pages
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition
Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Vess
Progress: 749/997 pages
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry
Robert Chandler
The Uncertain Land and Other Poems
Patrick O'Brian
Progress: 8/160 pages
The Heptameron (Penguin Classics)
Marguerite de Navarre
Progress: 152/544 pages
The Poems and Plays of John Masefield
John Masefield
Progress: 78/534 pages
Poems Selected
Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes
Progress: 4/50 pages
Selected Poems
U A Fanthorpe
Progress: 18/160 pages
The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse
Mick Imlah, Robert Crawford
Hainish Novels & Stories, Vol. 2
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 133/789 pages

Jonathon Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Russell Munson, Richard Bach

According to this book:
1. The point of life isn't merely mundane daily survival.
2. It's actually the pursuit of absolute freedom.
3. Sufficient freedom will give you magic powers.
4. This is because reality is just a projection of thought.


According to me:
1. OK - you can impose whatever purpose you want on your life.
2. Absolute freedom isn't possible. All societies are a trade-off between mutual benefits from working collectively and giving up freedoms that are harmful to others. Becoming an outcast isn't a solution; you still have to complete basic survival tasks and you're excluded from any social activity - you're not completely free to do what you want at all times.
3. No, it won't.
4. Because actually, reality is reality and no amount of practice will allow you to break the rules of reality.


Even taken (as probably intended) as a fable that exagerates in order to make it's message clear, it's still an unrealistic repetition of the survivor bias fallacy that if you persevere hard enough you can acheive your dreams, whatever they may be. The psychology goes like this: You've succeeded at something. You attribute this solely to your own efforts, ignoring all other possible contributing factors (e.g. privileged background, educational opportunity, patronage, physical appearance, etc, etc). You assume that the only reason others don't succeed is because they give up. So you tell everyone to pursue their dreams and persevere, like you did, because that's guaranteed to work.


This is of course, not possible; it's not anyone's dream to be a refuse collector, but all modern societies need them far more than some guy who flies small planes for a living, as you will know if your refuse collectors have ever gone on strike. We cannot all be artists or scientists or actors or astronauts and none of us could if all of us tried to be...society would collapse and we'd all starve, instead.