The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues (...) full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care only for truth, and their truth is pitiless. Those some humanitarians care only for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.This week, I finished reading Allegiant, the third book in Veronica Roth's trilogy. For those who have not yet heard of Divergent (adaptation in process) and its sequels, it occurs in a vaguely future environment. The main character, Beatrice, grows up in a city divided into five factions:
--Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton (emphasis mine)
- Candor, the honest
- Erudite, the scholars
- Amity, the friendly
- Abnegation, the self-sacrificing
- Dauntless, the brave
When Beatrice goes in for her faction test, the results are inconclusive--she is a Divergent, with characteristics of multiple factions. Without spoiling the rest of the books, I will say that each book reveals further flaws of the system, though not as many as I would have liked.
What would a society of people devoted to telling the truth--with no regard to other people's feelings--be like? The Abnegation, for example, don't even share details of their own childhood with their children. because that would be selfish. And once Dauntless have grown too old to face physical challenges, they are left behind.
Even though dystopias have reached saturation, the unique set-up of this book provides plenty of food for thought.