Why Everyone Should Explore Doris Lessing's Often Overlooked "Space Fiction"
Totally on accident, the first Lessing I read was the first book of her “space fiction” epic, Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta. Coming to the novel without expectations—I literally found a copy in a hallway and recognized the author’s name—it stands up as a compelling piece of work; one that shows Lessing’s unique voice and prowess as a novelist even as she was deviating from what had made her name well known.
Like Margaret Atwood, another very literary writer whose novels flirt with the label “science fiction” even as the author dismisses it, Lessing’s work doesn’t have much in the way of spaceships or ray guns or whatever people thought science fiction was in the ‘70s. Time magazine’s Paul Gray said that Shikasta was closer to the Old Testament than it was to Buck Rodgers. Hence, much like Atwood insists that “speculative fiction” is a more fitting genre than sci-fi, Lessing calls the “Canopus” series “space fiction.”
Social contracts are written into our biology. As is the justice they need. The arc of our evolution has long bent towards the justice of “laws” fittest for team survival. We bred ourselves, by artificial selection, to internalize and feel strongly about social rules.
"An article I read this week had me thinking about Bloom’s Taxonomy and what learning really is. It led to me coming up with a new graphic for Bloom’s Taxonomy, this one a Paint Palette. I like thinking about Bloom’s in the form of an artist paint palette because each color has equal importance. For an artist, the greatest beauty comes in the mixing of colors. Using a multitude of shades and blends on a canvas. I think the same can be said of learning."
Learning to learn: losing yourself in passionPosted on August 30, 2013 by Ally — 14 Comments ↓
Have you ever noticed that, when we’re younger, school and learning seem like a chore, and yet when we’re older, we wish we could just spend all of our time consuming information and advancing our knowledge?
Perhaps this is because our minds have matured with age, or simply because we always want to do things once we don’t have to. Or, maybe it’s because once we’ve been through certain experiences, we’re more capable of identifying our true passions.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who also happens to be an entrepreneur named Josh. (Whether he knew it or not, picking his brain was actually a part of my mission to learn more about entrepreneurship and running a business.) I was interested to hear that, once he started a company, even though it was based around his passion for social media, a large part of his work days consists of administrative and management-related tasks. In explaining this, he said the following:
“I work hard during the day, but at night I get to plan the future and expand my knowledge.”
There was my answer. As human beings, we may not always be able to spend all of our lives doing exactly what we want to be doing, but as long as there is something that we “get” to learn about in our off time, the drive will never fade.
How is it, then, that we come across this special subject? First, let’s figure out what passion actually is. According to Merriam Webster, passion is an “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” When I hear this definition, a few things come to my head: social media, relationship building, and innovation, to name a few. What comes to yours?
If there isn’t anything that instantly comes to mind, try doing a few of these exercises:
Ask yourself, “What would I do with my life if money didn’t matter?”Talk casually with your friends and colleagues and observe what makes you go on for hours.Wander into a bookstore. What section do you immediately go for?
-Allow your brain to follow its own course. The things you don’t have to try to think about are usually the ones you end up giving the majority of your thoughts to.
Finding, and subsequently losing yourself in, your passion may not be easy, but when it does happen, it sure is worth it. Is there topic that you constantly find yourself coming back to in your reading and conversations? One that, once you start reading about it, the hours pass like minutes? Identify it, roll with it, and lose yourself in it.
And in case you needed one last bit of inspiration, I leave you with Josh’s words:
“Let’s say, you’re sitting in a coffee shop, minding your own business, and the person at the table over starts talking about a specific subject. You may only hear a word or two, but it’s enough. It registers. And before you realize it you’ve stopped everything you’re doing. Focusing on your own task/conversation/activity suddenly becomes impossible. Your heart beats super fast because you’re doing everything in your power not to compulsively jump in, ask questions, correct them, and find out who they are.”
The following is excerpted from Clive Thompson’s book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better, out now from the Penguin Press. Is the Internet ruining our ability to remember facts?
I’m very excited to say that my new book, “Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science”, has just been released!
The book is about networked science: the use of online tools to transform the way science is done. In the book I make the case that networked science has the potential to dramatically speed up the rate of scientific discovery, not just in one field, but across all of science. Furthermore, it won’t just speed up discovery, but will actually amplify our collective intelligence, expanding the range of scientific problems which can be attacked at all."