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Inventions of NemesisUtopia, Indignation, and Justice$
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Douglas Mao

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691199252

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691199252.001.0001

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(p.222) Coda
Inventions of Nemesis

Douglas Mao

Princeton University Press

This coda studies the concepts of the experience machine and the metautopia. Both address what may be the most intractable of the problems that human beings themselves present for the utopian imagination: the variety of human desires and convictions about what is right and good. Can we conceive of an order of things that would really be utopian yet in which people would develop as they do in our own world — that is, in unpredictable, nonpreordained ways — and in which their desires and convictions would in some meaningful sense come from themselves rather than the algorithms of social engineers? To answer this question, the coda looks at one of Octavia Butler's stories in Bloodchild and Other Stories (2005), “The Book of Martha.” “The Book of Martha” sets the possibility that humankind may yet prove not an obstacle to justice but rather the way forward to that condition in which all and each have what they ought to have. Perhaps people can be not only the ends utopia serves but also the means to get there.

Keywords:   experience machine, metautopia, human beings, utopian imagination, utopia, Octavia Butler, humankind, justice, human desires, human convictions

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