‘The Gold of Cuzco’ by A.B. Daniel (Book 2 in the ‘Inca’ series)
This story was better than the first, which is a promising sign for the final book in the series. The language used did not have out-of-place words, which kept me more invested in the story world than in the first book.
‘A Betrayal in Winter’ by Daniel Abraham (Book 2 in the ‘Long Price’ series)
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Philosophical ideas are playing a part in my big project. It was mainly to give me something to differentiates the nine countries and one ‘independent state’ that are part of it, and provide the opportunity to put ideas out there (I doubt mine will be anything new, but nothing ever is supposedly).
Firstly, some definitions of philosophy, so we know what we’re talking about:
1. The rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
2. Any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, which are accepted as composing this study.
3. A system of philosophical doctrine: the philosophy of Spinoza.
4. The critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.
5. A system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.
Let’s throw a question out there to get some views and opinions. My discussion will link closest to definitions 1 and 5.
As writers create their story worlds, we’ll start with:
Why is the world the way it is?
As I have mentioned in previous posts, evolution is a topic of interest. This is due to so many factors existing throughout all history that it can only be described as Chaos Theory, where so many things play a part in plotting the future course of events it is practically impossible to figure out why things are the way they are.
I flicked past a Sir David Attenborough show entitled ‘Life in the Undergrowth’. I stayed on the channel because I heard the word ‘Peru’, which was the basis of my most recent book. He described how in their forests, there is a path of tree growth called ‘The Devil’s Path’. Only one type of tree grows in this ‘path’, and any other tree species that tries to interrupt the path dies. It was found recently that this one tree type is a magnet for ants, who use its growths (a Venus Flytrap-like item) to make nests. Another tree type trying to grow in the ‘path’ is attacked by the ants, who eat through its stems and inject their fluids to kill it quicker. That way, the one tree type of the most use to the ants in the future continues to create offshoots, allowing the ants to increase their numbers.
That, in a nutshell, is what evolution is; a conscious effort by a group to sustain an agreed method of survival into the foreseeable future.
If lifeforms as small as ants can do it, it has to apply to larger lifeforms also. Humanity has shown many pretty dastardly ways of acting as ‘a group to sustain an agreed method of survival into the foreseeable future’, which has included world wars, crusades, genocides, gang wars, and abandonment or otherwise of unwanted children.
Though they are distasteful events, each of those events occurred because groups of varying size decided this was what needed to be done to ensure their survival. World wars were fought because two different sides had two different opinions on the idea of ‘master race’. Crusades were fought when religious ideologies fought over geographical locations. Genocides were fought for the purpose of removing the threat to survival posed by one’s enemies. Gang wars could be considered genocides with less people involved, but are usually associated with drugs and gangs desiring to be the biggest supplier. Abandonment or otherwise of unwanted children happened due to honour codes and/or societal opinions, or due to the events before or during a pregnancy prompting the decision.
And some of the decisions made by groups may have been to preserve a trivial trait. The overwhelming stereotypes of the Swedish population are Sven and Inga, attractive people with blonde hair and blue eyes. Having never been to Sweden, I cannot categorically confirm its truth. But a stereotype is created out of a trait being the most common of a group, which prompts the idea that a group of people in the past agreed that these traits were the best way to ensure survival. Blonde hair and blue eyes is not a guarantee of the pinnacle of evolution.
The idea of what traits we choose as the agreed method of survival is even more complicated today. There is a greater appreciation for the mental aspects of people, though other aspects of them may not be desirable. Stephen Hawking is a prominent example of a great mind, but a physical body very few would want. Autism is a new focus in the modern day, and became known to me once my son was diagnosed with it. It has been proven that a great many people with the ‘disorder’ may actually be more talented or intelligent than the average person due to their one-eyed focus on one particular thing. Examples of autistic people are Stephen Wiltshire, who can draw unbelievably detailed cityscapes from memory, and Temple Grandin, a lady who helped redesign farm layouts to improve the life of animals. Both have websites, at http://www.stephenwiltshire.co.uk and http://www.templegrandin.com, and Temple actually had a movie made about her (Clare Danes played Temple). Their talents show that what is usually considered a ‘disorder’ can be the complete opposite, and it is unsettling how such people would have likely been outcast in the not too distant past.
I could keep going, but it proves that so many things need to be considered just to understand ourselves, before we even begin to understand why the wider world is the way it is. With so many species of animals, and their ways of evolving to where they are today, it is practically impossible to know everything that happened in the past to lead us to this point in time.
Many different groups of many different species made a conscious effort to sustain an agreed method of survival into the foreseeable future. In an extremely large nutshell, I believe that is why the world is the way it is.