Scenes from a non-coercive prison

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Condemning a stranger because of a misunderstanding, without first explaining what the place is about, is somewhat less-than-utopic.

A place where a material to take notes is an expensive parchment suggests a great deal of knowledge loss, and low level of technological development; even a lousy steam engine powered plant can produce a lot of paper from not so much effort, as the early 1800’s industry shown. Also not exactly inspiring about the place.

Well, I mean he did rape someone. In a society that values personal choice that would be a pretty egregious offense, even compared to our own.


Still, a newcomer not knowing the rules and being prosecuted for something considered normal for wherever he comes from, without much of an attempt of an introduction to the area’s mores, doesn’t sound too fair to me.

Most problems are in their heart just a failure to communicate clearly and sufficiently early.

So you’re saying most rape occurs because the victim didn’t say no clearly and early enough?


I think you could say that this fictional rape occurred because the criminal did not understand what rape is.

The thing I’m more confused about is how Schmidt wound up in the House of Surrender. He clearly didn’t want to be there in the first place, but unless I’m mistaken the central idea of the place seemed to be that you would only get there if you wanted to be there. So he would only get there by choice which he would only do if it was the best option available to him… and doesn’t this imply that the people in the area where he fell afoul of their laws were presenting very unpleasant outcomes as his only alternative? And that unpleasantness could only be physical violence or why would he run to a place where he can lock himself behind a door?

So there’s this innate hypocrisy in the society where violence is completely unacceptable, except when it is. And then again, there’s the idea that there is no leadership or social rank presented initially, but on the other hand there are “official” communications and the narrator explicitly states that Sophia is their superior. So in other words this utopic society ends up being not so different on a base level than what we have now, where violence enforces compliance to a hierarchy’s rules, which is pretty interesting. So why is this place so nice and good and what we have now is not? I’d say it is that somehow they have achieved unanimous agreement on what is and is not acceptable.

Which kind of gets back to the point i believe shaddack is trying to make: because Schmidt was not on the same level of understanding and agreement with everyone else, and without a real effort made to achieve this, it seems unjust that he ends up where he is. With the proper understanding and agreement, the odds of his committing that crime are vanishingly small in the absence of mental illness, which most if not all of the people in the House of Surrender, including the narrator, seem to suffer from on either a momentary or permanent basis.


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