Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cat's Cradle

Since choosing a chapter title from my favorite Kurt Vonnegut novel to be the name of my blog, I've been meaning to reread Cat's Cradle to see if it actually deserved that high honor. I am very happy to say that it does indeed. I've probably read this book a dozen times or more, and this most recent time was a pleasure. I'm not going to recap the book; if you haven't read it, I only recommend that you do so. But I will share my thoughts on a couple of the Bokononist themes of the novel.

Boku-maru is the ultimate form of worship under Bokononism, which is outlawed in the island nation of San Lorenzo. In the chapter called "Aspirin and Boko-maru", Julian Castle explains to the narrator that the only things that keep the House of Hope and Mercy in the Jungle functioning are aspirin and boku-maru. I chose this as the name of my blog for two reasons. First, I thought it sounded catchy. Secondly, without really knowing what direction this blog would take, I felt like it might become something that would keep me going, a sort of a constant in my rather rapidly changing life. While that prediction was admittedly a bit grandiose, I do think that it ultimately proved a fitting title.

Related only as it's another theme of Bokononism, the granfalloon was something that stands out to me now as completely relevant. In essence, a granfalloon is a false karass, a group of people with no spiritual connectivity but some surface-level reason to identify with each other. (For example, "You went to Yale, too? Let's be friends!") I couldn't help but think that Facebook is one giant, modern-day granfalloon.

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