Thursday, July 3, 2008

Book Review: Lord of Light

Lord of Light is a classic science-fiction work by Roger Zelazny. The setting is a future colonized planet. A few people have figured out how to make themselves immortal, and are worshiped by the rest as gods. The "gods" keep technology to themselves because they think the general population isn't ready for it. The main character, Sam, has been brought back from Nirvana in order to fight for the general public against the "gods" in order to make technology accessible to everyone.

The reason I decided to review this book is the following quote:

Being a god is the quality of being able to be yourself to such an extent that your passions correspond with the forces of the universe, so that those who look upon you know this without hearing your name spoken.

This is what we are aiming at. Recovery from materialism is not really about renouncing wealth, the 4000-square-foot house, the luxury car, and so forth. Most people who want those things don't really want them for themselves. They want them to impress their friends, or themselves. These things are success symbols, and that's OK. Nothing is wrong with these things per se. The problem is that some people want them mainly to prove to themselves that they've made it; they can't really "be somebody" without those things.

The real goal of recovery is to be yourself, instead what you think you are or what you think you should be. Only after you do that can you really decide if you want the McMansion and the Lexus. And it will be you making the decision instead of the theoretical conception of yourself that you carry around with you.

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