(Original post by bratcat)
Oh, 1,700 pages worth of the stuff and loads more besides.
Basically, that the individual existed as part of a whole - a society - and to maintain order in that 'Rupublic' evryone must contribute as much as they were capable of because, ultimately, it would benefit them too, in the long term. Not a perfect explanation. (Picks up Loudspeaker) Emergency, emergency...Philosophers needed here!
You remember our very own Donne....'Any man's death diminishes me. For no man is an island. I am a part of the continent. A part of the whole. So, therefore, do ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.' ... might use that as my sig file
Come up with some tasty quotes later. What flavour would you like?
OK stop me if i'm wrong here but the "no man's an island" thing and the functionalist representation of society is merely another way of saying 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.'
And even in that society there are winners and losers, some who get their back scratched a little more than they get their claws stuck into someone else's. It's those people that the book is talking about really. The kind of people that get a leg up off the back of someone else, in a ruthless, selfish way.
They're the people who seem to get on best and in real life it's not like much happens to them... they don't get deserted by all their mates, they don't die lonely old spinsters - it's dinner parties and holidays in the South of France all round.
And I'm reading beyond the book here, but I reckon if the author would probably reckon that the 'republic', 'continent', 'whole' thing is just useless twank spoon fed to the people blind enough to go along with it, while they're being shafted by other people left, right and centre.
So I guess a way to re-direct this thread would be to ask - do selfish people really suffer for their selfishness?