the Blight not evil?

From: Wei Dai (
Date: Wed Nov 07 2001 - 02:02:22 MST

I've been expecting something like this, but it's still shocking to
actually see it. A reader review dated 10/21/2001 on for A Fire
upon the Deep says the reviewer is not convinced that the Blight is evil,
and explicitly compares the plot to the present day situation, implying
that he's not convinced the 9/11 terrorists are evil. Here's a quote:

> In the Westernized World, we tend to see good vs. evil
> as a basic tenant of life. Obviously Vinge is no
> exception and weaved this philosophy throughout this
> novel. Blight... Bad, Countermeasure... good (even
> though it plunged the known universe into a new "dark
> age"). Mr Steel... Bad, Woodcarver... good (even
> though she experimented on herself, her own people and
> offspring; and was singularly responsible for the
> creation of every Tine antagonist in the book). The
> book is guilty of simplifying complex issues and
> minimizing the importance of understanding the end
> results and responsibilities of any and all these
> actions.

What could explain the mindset that would produce this kind of thinking? I
think in some social circles there must be a kind of competition (which
historically may have served some useful purpose) to see who can be most
skeptical of popular beliefs and values and most tolerant of foreign
beliefs and values. This competition caused an arms race in which people
found increasingly more effective methods to train themselves to behave in
this very unnatural way. The end result is a group of people who are
overly skeptical and tolerant, and don't necessarily realize why they
behave this way. Would it help to point this out to them, I wonder?

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