Thursday, February 24, 2011

Alice in Wonderland And Philosophy

I was early for robotics on Tuesday so I went to the library to (hopefully) find EE-related stuff rather than stay by myself in the room. While I didn't find anything directly related to my EE, I did find this book: Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy; curiouser and curiouser. It's a series of essays edited by William Irwin (series editor) and Richard Brian Davis.

It's actually an interesting read. While I have read books inspired by Alice in Wonderland (such as the King in the Glass... at least, I think that's the name); I haven't actually read the book, or even thought about it in a vaguely literary way. I suppose it's because I never did manage to make sense of the disney movie, which I probably saw when I was too young to comprehend.

But this book does introduce a lot of interesting ideas (such as Alice in Wonderland being a metaphor for a drug trip, although I agree with the author that that is probably an overeading), notably, the concept of jam-yesterday-jam-tomorrow but never jam today. It makes a lot of sense as to why experiences (such as school) seem so unpleasant now but are fun/enjoyable before we start school, when we finish school.

Another, more important 'lesson' I took away was the idea of a social contract. A social contract is simply an unspoken agreement between members of society to behave a certain way. Because Alice is not a member of Wonderland, she continually rejects and breaks their social contract. I was reading it when I realised that this was how I could tie my new EE topic together. I was looking at the idea of repeated betrayal in two characters, but couldn't really really see what was going on. But now I realise, that they are, in effect, breaking the social contract between them and society. With this focus, I can probably do an EE that (hopefully) will not have to change again.

I feel like reading Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass now, but I guess it'll have to wait. EE calls.

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