This book was reviewed for the San Francisco Book Review
I absolutely love the pop culture and philosophy books! I find them a great way to make philosophic concepts far more accessible to the everyday person, and to open minds to different ways of thinking.
This book, focusing on Veronica Roth’s haunting dystopic trilogy, is divided into five sections, each with several essays. They usher us through the Divergent trilogy, taking a good hard look at the faction values, the ethics behind the experiments, what it means to be ‘divergent’ in this world and that one, and how we, as readers, can take the lessons offered in the series and apply it to our own life.
Are You Divergent- this first section had three essays. My favourite was the very first one, Drugging the Kids, which dealt with the issue of control. Everything about the faction system relates to control, and the scariest is the use of the various serums. You can see echoes of these ‘serums’ in today’s world, from actual drugs that dampen behaviour, to the rules of class and society, to the rampant ignorance and discrimination that rage around us daily. One need merely look at the US news, and the 2016 presidential race… Trump needs this book, or the memory serum… He is currently one of the biggest instigators of deadly psychological ‘serums’ of our world today.
How to Make Everyone Less Evil- this section is fairly self-explanatory. There are three essays that delve into the nature of ‘evil’ (I dislike this word as seeming too harshly judgemental), and how it can be counteracted with compassion.
Today We Choose- this section is the first to begin looking in-depth at the individual factions, assessing both the good, and the bad. Plato’s Chicago kicks things off with a nice comparison of Plato’s Republic with the the city of Chicago. Amity is delved into next, and we follow up with Should We Execute the Erudite, comparing metaphorically with how we treat education in our society today.
Wisdom Before Faction- takes a look at Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, and Candor, exposing the flaws and virtues of each.
Know Thy Faction, Know Thy Self- this last section takes a look at family ties versus faction ties, how to handle discovering you are living a lie, the value of values, and the dangers of said values if rigidly followed. It also looks at how to wisely choose, and operate within, the values most suited to your temperament and personality, and how to mesh those values seamlessly. I love that it points out that, though ‘divergent’ to the factions because of their abilities to merge those faction values, the Divergent are in truth Convergent. They are the whole, reflecting the shattered factions.
If you are a fan of Roth’s Divergent series, or you enjoy pondering deep philosophical thoughts, be sure to check out Divergent and Philosophy!