Discussion Board

Topic: Evil in the Noosphere

From: Nicolas Brusco
Location: Boston University
Date: 04/17/2014

Hello Mr. Bear
I am in a Science Fiction writing class here at Boston University. Recently, we read your novel "Blood Music." I have one question for you. I noticed that on page 242, Bernard questions what the noocytes do with evil when they take people into the noosphere. However, his brief wondering is never followed up on, us readers never got an answer. My question is this, why did you leave the question of evil in the noosphere open ended? Was it to provoke thought from the reader? Was it because it was too complex a topic to address in the scope of the novel? Was there a different reason entirely?

Thank you for your time.
-Nick Brusco

Re: Evil in the Noosphere

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/17/2014

I'll answer with another question: is calling something evil a limited judgment? Are the balances and behaviors of biological beings better understood by the noocytes than by Bernard? They've undergone their own conflicts and history, their own development--but how far have they progressed in understanding the relationship between biological imperative and morality?

Re: Evil in the Noosphere

From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Islandia
Date: 04/18/2014

Just enjoy to say, that's a really good and evocative answer ;)

Re: Evil in the Noosphere

From: Nicolas Brusco
Location: Boston University
Date: 04/22/2014

If you are suggesting that the noocytes understand humans better than humans do, I would argue the contrary. Through your novel we see that the noocytes have a limited understanding of the macro scale world, and little understanding of the complex nature of human emotions. Unless they made major strides towards understanding morality towards the end of the book, I would argue that we understand evil better than the noocytes do. That is why the noocytes filtering people out of the noosphere is such a scary concept to me.

So I ask again, why did you choose to leave this question open ended?

Re: Evil in the Noosphere

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/22/2014

All valid points, but I did not say noocytes understood humans better--only that they understood the deep structure of living organisms. And by the end of the novel, the noocytes have recovered enough human data to reconstruct past worlds and create new and convincing thought universes. Would these virtual creations include evil as a necessary corollary to a total experience? Or exclude it as an aesthetic or moral aberration? Which brings us back to the problem of pain, and the problem of evil, to begin with. (In my version, the virtual worlds tend more toward a pleasant and enduring heaven... which might address your question.)

Re: Evil in the Noosphere

From: Pear_Lover
Location:
Date: 05/30/2014

Morals are illusory. It's a non-topic. Or, in other words, I'm callin bullshit. But, at the end of Greg's last response, there is some light.

I understand humans. And I'm not human. You can thank Blood Music in part for that. Nuff said.

Re: Evil in the Noosphere

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/30/2014

Happy to make your acquaintance, nonhuman!

Re: Evil in the Noosphere

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 05/31/2014

"Everybody's human."

Re: Evil in the Noosphere

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/25/2014

I paraphrase (from DRACULA) : "Everybody's human but me and thee, and sometimes I have my doubts about thee!"

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