Is freedom the most important topic in Gariffo’s novel?

Use this forum to discuss August 2018 book of the month "World, Incorporated" by Tom Gariffo.
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Quinto
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Re: Is freedom the most important topic in Gariffo’s novel?

Post by Quinto »

Freedom is the predominant theme in this novel and for the majority of the citizens it is sadly a privilege rather than a right.
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Post by Cher432 »

Every action that Agent Silver takes has to do with freedom. When he is directed by World inc., his freedom is missing, but as time progresses we see him gaining more autonomy. As one of the commentors above has said, it reaches a point where he can even contemplate the choice of ending his own life on his own terms.
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Post by Echo Haapala »

I think freedom plays a major role in this book. I think the author was really creative in showing how Agent Sliver evolved towards the end with his freedom of thought. He really started to think about the people he was sent to kill and the reasons why they were his missions and what consequences it would have on him and others if he completed the mission.
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Post by Nditah »

Such novels often have "freedom" as theme or sub-theme. It seems as the years go by, human rights may need redefinition.
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Post by NuelUkah »

Well, I think freedom is the most important theme because the book in a way shows how the present government sees the citizens. Don't they see us as consumers to be exploited?
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Post by Sdejardine »

I think the word freedom in this novel has many layers. There is freedom like we know it today. But, then there is freedom as we may know it in the future. Is enslaving a robot, a violation of freedom? We may think we know the difference, but maybe not. Freedom of being able to walk down a street without being violated by bots who know your spending habits no longer exists. Freedom to really have financial independence also seems to be a thing of the past. All of these violations of freedom as we know it today seems to be a very important, underlying, topic of this book. It may not seem like a huge part of the story until you look deeper into the book.
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Post by joycechitwa »

Ummmm, in some covert way, its true that freedom is a very major theme in the story. But your question about whether the freedom is real or an illusion is the make or break factor. If at the end of the day your consumer pattern (and by extension your life) is controlled by mega corporations or else you are eliminated, really, how free is that?
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Post by Job Njoroge »

Freedom is not freedom if it curtail another's freedom. What we do with our freedom is what is important. However we are never entirely free there are many interests that must be taken into account when making a decision.
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Post by edith38 »

When the person is nothing more than a consumer than no, decisional freedom is not possible. While the consumer has a choice between the things offered to them. However, somebody makes the choice of what to offer.
Another question is, can anybody truly be ONLY the consumer. Whenever a human (or any other decision-making lifeforms) are involved with other thinking creatures they become more, even in Graffo's dystopia.
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Post by Kibetious »

Freedom will obviously be the central theme since I do not see if there is any other theme that can be as important as it.
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Post by Kibetious »

Sdejardine wrote: 28 Aug 2018, 11:55 I think the word freedom in this novel has many layers. There is freedom like we know it today. But, then there is freedom as we may know it in the future. Is enslaving a robot, a violation of freedom? We may think we know the difference, but maybe not. Freedom of being able to walk down a street without being violated by bots who know your spending habits no longer exists. Freedom to really have financial independence also seems to be a thing of the past. All of these violations of freedom as we know it today seems to be a very important, underlying, topic of this book. It may not seem like a huge part of the story until you look deeper into the book.
This is very deep and the question that arises here could be food for thought for everyone as well. Perhaps as of now, it may not be bad to enslave a robot but we never know what the future holds since it is possible that such questions will be raised, especially with the emergence of cyborgs.
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Post by Braunsucre »

Yes, I totally agree, freedom stands out as the fitting theme.
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Post by Cassandra Keeney »

I think that freedom is one of the many themes, and free-will. I think that the choice Silver makes to end his own life demonstrates his freedom. I do question, however, if it is the main theme of the novel. I think, and it is seen in a lot of dystopian novels, that the notion of free-will would be a better way to characterize it. Though they seem similar the two concepts are quite different.
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Post by jjmainor »

Ben Franklin said something like those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither...and that's what we've seen play out in this book. For the most part, people are happy with this system because they don't have to worry about the boom-bust cycle of the economy - the megacorporations ensure near stability! The corporation make sure people have sufficient educational opportunities, and then jobs because the more people work/make, the more they'll spend in the company stores. In general, this is why it's so hard to get people to push for major change in the US...because our lives have gotten comfortable. The only ones who seem interested in upsetting the current status quo are the (former) politicians hiding in DC...the ones who lost out the most under this system without a federal government.

The attitudes in the book can be applied to a lot of aspects already in our lives...how many people really have a problem with the intrusiveness of the TSA at the airports? How many are glad for it because it makes them feel safer in the air? Look at the opiod epidemic...when crack cocaine was the drug tearing apart people's lives, empathy lacked because it was something that affected black America...not white America; but this current epidemic hits white America in just about every neighborhood and income bracket...now we're looking at addicts as people who deserve pity...and we're looking at what needs to be done to prevent overdoses - to keep those addicts safe.

Heck, go back to the World Wars! The United States public was staunchly isolationist right up until the morning of Dec. 7 1941, because WWII was a European affair...it wasn't our problem. Americans were safe from Hitler, so we weren't moved to get involved until the war came to our soil.

That's the society Sliver inhabits, one in which people have grown so complacent, they don't care how many freedoms they gave up. They don't care how many assassinations the corporations carry out because they're not affected. That complacency is a bigger danger to our freedoms than the corps themselves, and I feel like that's the message underlying this book.
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Post by Swat3737 »

Yes, I think freedom/free will is the primary theme of the novel, and the author really made me question my own thoughts on it. Especially when Sliver was talking to the Shredders about Rex's reprogramming, and how it was important to keep Rex free. I loved that part. I have Alexa, I'm not concerned about her free will though I do anthropomorphize her. But in the future with AIs connected to humans, who knows how it will all work?
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