Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Monday, June 01, 2015

TEENAGE CYBER SOLIPSISM AND ISAAC ASIMOV'S PLANET "SOLARIA"

 
 
TEENAGE   CYBER   SOLIPSISM   AND
 
ISAAC   ASIMOV'S   PLANET   "SOLARIA"
 
 
By  Forrest  W.  Schultz
 
 
 
     I recently asked a prominent local pastor (who is also a book author and publisher) if he is concerned about the trend among today's teenagers of viewing each other on their i-phones or i-pads or computer screens (and "texting" and sending each other emails) instead of visiting each other.  He replied that he is VERY concerned about this!   I then asked him if he knew that this kind of thing was predicted sixty years ago by the prominent science fiction author Isaac Asimov in his novel The Naked Sun about the planet "Solaria", inhabited by super-individualists.  He said he was unaware of this.  I then told him that Solaria shows what might happen if today's cyber solipsism continues and is carried out to its logical conclusion.
 
     On this planet Solaria each person lives alone in his own large house on a large estate with all the work being done by robots, and where the people NEVER visit each other (except for some kind of dire emergency), but they do communicate with each other using a large screen where they "view" each other.  In the story one of them explains to a visitor from Earth, "We NEVER go and SEE each other.  We VIEW each other on this screen."  By the way, the Solarians are humans, NOT space aliens -- Asimov never has any space aliens in his stories.  They are the descendants of astronauts from Earth who traveled to this planet and established a society there.
 
     Here is how this planet is described in the topic "Solaria" in Wikipedia:
 
"By 5022 AD its inhabitants had evolved an isolationist culture in which its citizens never had to meet save for sexual contact for reproduction.  All other contact was accomplished by sophisticated telepresence "viewing" systems, with most Solarians exhibiting a strong phobia toward actual contact, or even being in the same room as another human.  All work was done by robots."
 
     Well, then, clearly the song about "people who need people" would never be a popular one on  Solaria!!  I guess that Jean Paul Sartre would have liked living there -- in case you have forgotten he was one of the twentieth century's most famous existentialists, his most famous slogan being "Hell is other people!".  I usually LOVE to do theological analyses, especially of stuff like this, but for some strange reason I am not in the mood for it right now, so I will let you the reader do that, giving the only clue (which should be obvious) -- in Solaria each man with his minimal dependence on others will find it easy to be his own god.
 
     OK, think about it.
 
     And, in a subsequent post I will tell you what the Solarians finally did, which is described in one of the sequels Asimov added (in the 1980s) to his Foundation trilogy.  This also is super-relevant for another thing happening right now here on Earth, especially in the USA.
 
Forrest W. Schultz
Grantville, GA, USA
 
June 1, 2015
  

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