Originally Posted by Fledchen
I finished this last night, and I'm not sure what I want to say about it. I can say, for sure, that it got me thinking. I was expecting it to be mostly a tirade against dependence on technology, but it seemed to me to be more of a tirade against dependence on other people's ideas. I am left with the weird feeling that if the story (which is an indirect experience) caused me to re-evaluate how I think about things, that these changes are somehow less valid than if I'd been led to that re-evaluation through my own direct experiences.
But that seems silly and maybe a little pretentious. I can't think of anything to say about the story that doesn't seem pretentious when I read it back to myself! I think I am sorely out of practice in reading things critically.
That was a very interesting comment. Thank you. I think I can understand what you mean. I noticed (mostly from reading - but I sort of knew Forster's view-point beforehand, too) that he puts much value into first-hand - and first and foremost, physical
- experience. As we see in the story, only Kuno seeks out a true first-hand experience, while Vashti urges her listeners/viewers to seek inspiration (ideas) second-hand. It's rather like looking at a number of paintings of a sunrise and then create a painting based in that experience - rather than experienceing a real sunrise. I'm sure Forster would have wanted and expected the experience of the real sunrise.
I don't think you should feel your experience is less valid, though. It's one thing not to experience something physically which you could easily do - another to experience this story. In this case, I'd say the story is the original source 'idea'. I don't think the story is less valid than real sunrise - so to speak
As for myself. I've found this story was more or less the first time I've seen really interesting and valid arguments against the idea of the Internet. Oftentimes it's just 'technology is bad' kind of arguments - and really, what can you do with that? The Internet has opened up a new world to me, but everything has it's negative sides, too. This story showed me better than anything possible negative side effects. Not that it will necessarily happen - but this story opens up ideas in my mind.
All in all, this story was - somewhat - mindblowing - especially because it's so old. I've read a great deal of Forster's writing some 18-20+ years ago - but not until now do I really 'get' what he was about. And I'm quite impressed - and also because it's given me new ideas, suggested some new ways of thinking. There's little enough writing that does that.