Exile and Justice @ BYOB Party in June 2017 (Part 7)

I’m in the process of reading Roberto Bolaño’s Last Evenings on Earth, his first short-story collection in English. The stories have a dreamy quality to them and speak about nameless faceless characters, probably signifying the feeling of exile and conflict that the Chilean exiled diaspora is so familiar with. I particularly enjoyed his stories about failed writers who grapple with failings within themselves and on a lighter note with poor marketing skills. I was excited to find this story about Bolaño’s writing style and watch this video about the man himself.

While Bolaño explored how the lack of justice could fragment societies and individuals, Michael Sandel writes about what exactly justice means. Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel is a book based on a Harvard course taught by this esteemed professor. Sandel brings clarity to various issues in America including affirmative action, the conflict between utilitarianism and libertarianism, limits of the market, etc, and he links it to theories of justice by Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, etc.  “We need something like this pertaining to the Indian context,” Abhaya said.  Satish mentioned a surprising anecdote about the games he used to play as a thirteen-year-old, which included visiting an older intellectual friend who did very much what Sandel is doing in this book- outlining difficult cases and discussing for solutions. Apurba, a lawyer herself, talked about a case similar to one that Abhaya had picked out of the book and she compared the situation to the one in the book and movie Life of Pi.

Abhaya also talked about the fictional representation of the paradox of utilitarianism in Ursula Le Guin’s powerful short story The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.

And with that, we have come to the end of an intense BYOB Party. Looking forward to the next one!

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