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The Diamond Age

20 Jul 2010

A classic.

I re-read this in Mexico recently. What can I say–it’s a classic. A nanotech vision that is just totally awesome: books that do the teaching, sexually transmitted map-reduce functions, complete with the reducer spontaneously combusting, synthetic ‘governments’, free everything, temporary birthday islands with centaurs and enchanted caves, implantable weaponry, just whatever, really. An excellent sci-fi romp, well written, funny, and just generally good, as Stephenson is wont to be.

I noticed one thing, this time, that I had not before. There’s a brief mention in there, somewhere, about hypocrisy, and the meaning thereof. One of the greater ‘governments’, which is not really the right word, but no matter, are the neo-victorians, who are, well, victorian. There’s a conversation in which a few members discuss the merits of the concept of hypocrisy, namely, the lack thereof. By their standards, it’s better to have real values, be flawed, and break them, than to have no values and attack someone for being logically consistent in their own. What is hypocrisy but a way to morally condemn someone when you have no grounds for condemnation? Very good food for thought.