seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

On Orson Scott Card

I have been greatly enjoying a trip through Orson Scott Card's Enderverse. I only read Ender's Game last year, having long heard it was really good but just never getting around to it until the movie was coming out. I thought it was quite good and the sequel, Speaker for the Dead was even better.

I have had trouble explaining why these books speak to me, so I wanted to highlight two passages in Ender's Shadow - the fifth book.

"Second, you seemed to be listening to me, that to find out useful information, but to try to catch me in a logical fallacy. This tells us all that you are used to being smarter than your teachers, and that you listen to them in order to catch them making mistakes, and prove how smart you are to the other students. This is such a pointless, stupid way of listening to teachers that it is clear you are going to waste months of our time before you finally catch on that the only transaction that matters is a transfer of useful information from adults who possess it to children who do not, and that catching mistakes is a criminal misuse of time."
Ben silently disagreed. The criminal misuse of time was pointing out the mistakes. Catching them-- noting them-- that was essential. If you did not in your own and distinguish between useful and erroneous information, then you were not learning at all, you were merely replacing ignorance with false belief, which was no improvement.


Bean longed to be able to talk these things over with someone--with Nikolai, or even with one of the teachers. It slowed him down to have his own thoughts move around in circles -- without outside stimulation it was hard to break free of his own assumptions. One mind can think only of its own questions; it rarely surprises itself. But he made progress, slowly, during that voyage, and then during the months of Tactical School.

I just find that Card has a much better understanding of the possibilities and limits of our brains than most writers. I love reading as characters explore their own weaknesses and blind spots.


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