A Stanislaw Lem Reader by Peter Swirski

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By Peter Swirski

A sequence of interviews and demanding dialogues with the past due Stanislaw Lem whose writings were translated into over forty languages and feature offered over 35 million copies. in case you merely recognize him as a novelist, A Stanislaw Lem Reader is a wonderful advent to Lem's philosophy, clinical hypothesis, literary feedback, and social concept, whereas final completely obtainable to readers unusual with any of his works.

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We can say that a star is a ball of incandescent gas and proceed to enumerate its physical parameters. But if we wanted to approach it really close to examine it with our own eyes, the only sensible answer at this point is that we would turn into gas in the monstrous radiation and temperatures of the star. This is of course a form of incompatibility. Our sensorium is designed to deal with objects which do not stray too far from the scale delimited by our own bodies and temperatures. If we wanted to know how our sensorium would behave in the vicinity of the temperature of 100 million degrees, which is the temperature accompanying the explosion of the hydrogen bomb, the answer is that we would turn into gas the instant of the explosion.

Lem: My last thoughts? I am a staunch adherent to the maxim that literature, much as philosophy, should never bore its readers to death. Reading should never be a matter of struggling through a jungle of words and concepts, with difficulty and discomfort, in order to grasp what should come naturally. All things considered, I also respect thinkers of courage. I do not know whether it qualifies as a courageous act, but one reason that I like Russell so much was that he had the intellectual and moral integrity to call Hegel -- without pulling any punches -- a complete idiot.

Lem: What you are saying is very much to the point. The Earth is twelve thousand kilometers in diameter. Take a very big apple of a diameter of twelve centimeters, which will make it the equivalent of a scale of 1:10,000,000. The Earth's crust, that is, its lithosphere -- the hard shell on which we live -- is more or less equivalent in thickness to the skin on the apple; all the rest is the other "spheres," buried underneath. Theoretically the extraction of the so-called thermal energy on an industrial scale is quite possible: you simply dig a hole, fit a pipe, boil the water, and carry away the steam.

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