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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

The Medusa Chronicles
Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter
Progress: 20/336 pages
Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth
John Garth
Progress: 190/398 pages
Hainish Novels & Stories, Vol. 2
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 133/789 pages
The Essential Shakespeare
Ted Hughes
Progress: 75/259 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Bruegel: Defining a Destiny
Amy Orrock, Jennifer Scott
Progress: 79/128 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 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.