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Fifteen Dogs (Quincunx, #2)
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Fifteen Dogs > Question #2: The Wager

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Very quickly, the philosophical premise of the book is laid out by the God’s wager: Give animals human intelligence, Apollo claims, and they’ll end up even more unhappy than humans. What was you initial reaction to this wager?


message 2: by Ashley (last edited Jul 11, 2016 01:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ashley | 116 comments Mod
For me, this was a very loaded suggestion. It implies so much about human interaction and our lives overall. That humans are unhappy, in general, and it's because we can intelligently communicate with each other? Dogs, or animals in general, lead happier existences because they can't communicate as humans do? It seemed so bleak, and my initial reaction was to take offence, and defend myself as a human. I'm happy! My life is pretty okay! But it really made me stop and think, about how communication affects our lives and relationships. About how a misinterpreted word, tone, or even lack of words, can make or break a mood/day/relationship. Would our lives be better if things were simpler. If we could only communicate basic ideas and needs? Perhaps, but we would lose so much, which we see with Prince's poetry and Majnoun's connection with Nira. So ultimately, the wager makes me sad, and contemplative.


Kate (arwen_kenobi) | 100 comments Mod
I was really, really curious. Like Ashley said, I consider myself pretty happy and content and don't feel burdened or anything with the weight of my consciousness. But, again like Ashley said, the fact that a misplaced word or tone can drastically alter the intended message (even reading something and saying things are two different things with two different sets of rules and etiquette) is definitely something that can be a big, big, problem.

All in all, I'll take the odd misunderstanding now and again over only being to communicate in broad terms.


message 4: by Eric (last edited Jul 12, 2016 07:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric | 16 comments I feel that the gods', especially Apollo's, definition of happiness vs. unhappiness was too black and white. Like my friends above I feel like I'm a pretty happy person but it's impossible to be 100% happy, even at that moment right before death. It's probably especially difficult to be 100% happy in a situation when you know you're about to die and you aren't ready yet. The wager was probably doomed from the beginning. But to bring it back to the original question, perhaps ignorance is bliss and the dogs would have been happier if they weren't aware of so much suffering?


Ashley | 116 comments Mod
Eric wrote: "perhaps ignorance is bliss and the dogs would have been happier if they weren't aware of so much suffering?"

I think the "ignorance is bliss" idea is actually very apt; if you've always been ignorant, you don't know what you're missing.

I think this could get very philosophical, and I'm not prepared to dive into those depths, but surely the lack of an experience, such as pure joy or love, is still a loss.


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