Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
Hundreds of millions of dollars ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a hacker named Neo reached into his bookcase and pulled out a leatherbound volume with the title "Simulacra and Simulation" -- a collection of essays by the French postmodernist philosopher Jean Baudrillard. But when Neo opened it to the chapter "On Nihilism," it turned out to be just a simulacrum of a book, hollowed out to hold computer disks.
Descartes, of course, is a recurring presence in these anthologies, since, like Neo, he attempted to discover what man can be certain about, even if, as he put it, a "malicious demon of the utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me." Plato is invoked as well, particularly his allegory of the cave, in which prisoners are convinced that shadows on the cave's walls are the sole reality until they are freed by philosophical inquiry and led upward into the sunlight. [more]