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Thread: Re-starting Civilization

  1. #1

    Post Re-starting Civilization

    For those not familiar with either the novel or the film (ther original, to hell with remakes) The Time Machine is set in late 19th or early 20th century London. A well-to-do gentleman invents a time machine and travels to A.D. 802,701 where he finds, to shorten the story, a race of humans called Eloi, numbering about 100, who have none of the trappings of civilization as we know it, civilization having been destroyed by nuclear war (in the movie). One building, no art, no books, no empathy (they do nothing as one of their own drowns). The earth is a paradise, there is no shortage of anything, the Eloi get all they need from the land and appear to eat mostly fruit; they are never violent or jealous towards one another. They are more suited to a roll as cattle, and in fact are used as such by a race of subterranean humans called the Morlocks. The time traveler destroys the Morlocks and returns to his own time, recounts the story to some of his friends at a dinner party, only one of whom actually believes him, and then gets back in his time machine to go back to the Eloi.

    The friend asks the maid if he took anything, and she replies three books, but cannot remember which. He asks her, which three books would you take to re-start civilization.

    So my question to you, which three books would you take to re-start civilization?

    I would select Symposium by Plato, one of the Socratic Dialogues that deals with genealogy, the nature and purpose of love, and the way we know things.

    I would take Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, emphasizing the beauty that is the individual and the sharing of the individual.

    Lastly, I would take The Shepheardes Calender by Edmund Spenser, a poetic work on the pastoral, the appreciation of beauty, and the aspiration of community.

    I would avoid anything with a mention of organized religion, the concept of god, government, money, or violence. Imagine a chance to do away with all that corrupts.
    Last edited by harris; 07-Jul-2009 at 12:01. Reason: added some details

  2. #2


    #1... the Declaration of Independence... it's not really a book, but I believe it lays down some very basic principles on how a civilization should conduct itself.

    #2... the Honor Code of the USAF academy... again, not a book... but can you really criticize "We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does."

    #3... Plato's "Republic"... which covers the concepts of Justice, the theory of Universals, and forms of government.

    Definately no mention of religion... which I believe is the #1 source of violence on our planet today.

  3. #3


    The Basic Works of Aristotle
    Sun Tzu's The Art of War
    Homer's the Iliad

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by stonemask55 View Post
    homer's the iliad
    woot! Best book evar!

  5. #5


    You sure books about war and how to organize a government are what you want to teach to a people who have never known anything but peace and voluntary cooperation?

  6. #6


    It is not human nature to be peaceful or cooperative... history has taught us that much. Man is only concerned with his own survival... thus why governments were instituted in the first place.

  7. #7


    As Darkfinn said

    1.the declaration of indepence

    2.The king james verison of the bible

    3. Farhenit 451 (there's a reason why all the books were gone, let's make sure that NEVER happens again.)

    Also Darkfinn, regardless of wither you bring religion with you or not. At some point it will start yet again as it did before hand. History does pretty much repeat itself, not exactly the same way but close enough.

  8. #8

  9. #9


    SAS Survival handbook

    The local daily newspaper from the last day of the last civilization to inhabit the planet.

    The english Dictionary.

  10. #10


    The Once and Future King by T.H. White

    The Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ( might technically be cheating but it is a book)

    Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

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