Extreme Books: The Painted Bird (Kosinski)

Recently I came across a list of ‘incredibly tough books for extreme readers’. One of those lists of books you have to read. Being fed up with the 1001-books-to-read-before-you-die list for some time now, this was a nice new challenge.

Having read nine out of the fifty books mentioned, some of which truly excellent books, I picked out a few to start with. If those also happen to be great books, I can always decide later on to read all fifty of them.

So I’ve just finished book nr 10 of the list.
“The Painted Bird” by Jerzy Kosinski (1965).

I do get why it can be seen as an extreme book. The meticulous description of extensive suffering, pages full of ghastly rapes, torture, etc etc – all against the backdrop of fierce discrimination and stupid peasantry. Horrible. But written so compelling, that it was hard to put down the book, although I did find myself staring into the world perplexed when forcing my eyes away a couple of times.

The beauty of the book, is that there is not a single inch of pity involved. The descriptions are vivid and without meta-story, without overall judgement. There is just a little boy trying to make sense of everything human beings do to each other and particularly to him. Trying to figure out what this so-called ‘God’ has to do with it all, and finally being relieved that there is a truth after all, and it’s hero is called Stalin.

Just a tip for those who think about reading it, don’t read the introduction.

Lyotard & My Fear for New Humans

Why is the idea of a possible future in which non-humans are capable of doing what humans can (referring not to the enormous amount of unbelievable irrelevant things, but: reflexive thought) so frightening?

Shouldn’t I be just as frightened about my human neighbour when it comes to my being, my ability to ‘earn a living’?

Isn’t every newborn baby a much bigger threat?

But this is a non-issue. Robots who have human capabilities are to be considered humans, a new breed of humans. The fact they are not born as human beings are born nowadays, that they are not confined to nutrients as we are, does that make it impossible to call them humans?

According to Lyotard, accomplishing these kinds of robots is the ultimate goal for human beings, as it secures human thought even after the Pure Event, after the solar explosion. Interesting thoughts, on a Friday afternoon…