“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift (1726) – Part 3: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib and Japan (Ch. 4-6)

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“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift (1726) – Part 3: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib and Japan (Ch. 4-6)

Chapter 4

  • He didn’t feel mistreated but wasn’t sad to leave. They were too absorbed in math & music, & were just generally boring.
    • It was far too abstract & speculative. He was only able to speak with the servants & women because the rulers & higher-ups had no answers & nothing of interest to say. He was ready to go
    • One lord, was looked down upon because he wasn’t very good at music, visited with Gulliver & wished to learn about Europe & Gulliver’s various travels. He had flappers but had no used from them because he never got lost in thought.
    • Gulliver asked him to get the king to let him leave. The King gave him some money, moved the island to Lagado, the main city, & was let down near it.
  • The city of Lagado was located on the continent of Balnibarbi. It was easy for Gulliver to blend in because he had their clothes
    • He met with Lord Munodi & was invited to stay with him during his visit. The city was about half the size of London, with weird-shaped, decrepit houses & citizens walking quickly & dressed in rags
    • The countryside had laborers working the ground with tools but nothing seemed to grow, although the ground seemed fertile
      • Gulliver asked why people were working but without results
      • Munodi told him that Gulliver hadn’t been in the country long enough to form an adequate opinion. He & his staff were nice enough but Gulliver saw that he had no connection with people. Munodi suggested that they go to his country house to continue the conversation
      • Munodi pointed out farmers’ techniques. However, none of these produced any food. The countryside was beautiful & agriculture was doing well the further you got away from Munodi’s lands
    • They arrived in his house, which was very nice. Munodi was sad because he had to rebuild everything according to the newest fashion. The tenants also had to do the same or else suffer the displeasure of the King
    • About 40 years ago, some locals went up to Laputa for 5 months or so & came back with little understanding of math but with lots of energy. They began to hate how things were done & started pushing the arts & sciences in new directions
    • They received a patent for academy of projectors in Lagado & this idea spread to all the cities
      • In the academies, the professors come up with new ways to do agricultre & building, as well as inventing new tools & machines for them to do so faster, with fewer men & of a better quality
      • Food will grow in any season with a bigger harvest. But the tools haven’t been perfected yet & people, instead of using intermediary techniques & tools, are waiting for the completed process. The result is people starving & without clothes. They carry on with ancient process
      • Munodi suggested that he look at a ruined building down the road. There was a watermill being used by a few families. Projectors (professors at the academies) suggest to them to destroy it & build another on the side of the mountain & build a long canal to move the water up to the mountain
      • They worked on this project for 2 years without result. The projectors left, blaming Munodi & the work was left undone.
      • Munodi refused to go to the academy but suggested that Gulliver should go see it for himself

Chapter 5

  • He visited the academy, each room had a projector in it.
    • One tried to extract sunbeams from cucumbers to be bottled up for use during the cloudy days in summer
    • Another tried to turn shit back into its original food form by separating it out in its constituent parts. He had no problem finding materials to experiment on
    • Another tried to heat ice into gunpowder
    • One tried to build houses from the roof first then down to the foundation, like spiders & bees do
    • A blind mean was trying to determine colors according to feel & smell
    • Another man was trying to use pigs to plow & sow fields. He’d put something in the ground that the pigs would like. They’d dig up the soil & inevitably shit all over the place to fertilize the field. Nothing grew here unfortunately
    • Another fed colored flies & insects to spiders to make dyed silk.
    • One put a sundial on a weather vane in an attempt to combine the influence of wind & time on the earth
    • Gulliver developed a bit of cough & his guide took him to a doctor who made bellows connected muzzled to stick up the ass in order to suck out the wind from the cough. He was trying it out on a dog but the experiment only made the dog let out very nasty fairs, eventually killing the poor thing. The doctor tried to use the bellows to revive the dog. Alas, to no avail
  • He was taken to an area for “speculative learning”
    • The projector’s major projects had been to sow the land with chaff which he believed to be the real source of growth, & making a special combination of materials to put on sheep to stop wool from growing to make woolless sheep
    • His next big project took up an entire room & was said to change the way learning & inventing in the arts & sciences was to be done forever
      • In the old way of learning, an ignorant person could just write whatever he wanted on philosophy, poetry, law, math & theology without any intelligence or study involved at all
      • His frame was a grid of blocks, each attached to wire that turned the block. The blocks had words written on them of various tenses, moods & declensions. His students would crank the handles attached to the wires & read out what the resulting phrases were. If they made any sense, they’d write it down & continue on cranking. They did this for 6 hours a day. His goal was to make about 500 of these machines to expect the project & speed up the potential learning.
  • There was a language school where the projectors were trying to improve the language
    • Some tried to make multi-syllabic words into mono-syllabic words & to make all words in whatever part of speech into nouns, since language was about reality & all reality is matter, therefore nouns.
    • Others planned to abolish all words, since speaking was corrosive to the lungs & shortens lifespan. Instead of saying things, they would just have everything with them in a giant bag & when they wanted to refer to things, they’d take the item out & show it to the other person.
      • Apparently this also helped to overcome language barriers
  • The math projector proposed to teach his students by writing down equations on wafers, have his students each them & the ink would flow up to their brains & make the students learn

Chapter 6

  • The political projectors rubbed Gulliver the wrong way with some crazy ideas.
    • They proposed that monarchs formulate policy by wisdom, capacity & virtue, that ministers advise by consulting the public good, rewarding merit, ability & services, that teaching rulers to learn their own true interests & align them with the people’s & choosing qualified people to carry them out
  • One professor looked at all diseases & corruptions likely to occur in public administration & compared them to those of the human body & treat them similarly because they mirror each other
    • He suggested that they take the Senators’ pulses & prescribe medications based on the results. This would end up with young senators being less petulant, old senators being more lively, dumb senators smarter & smart senators less arrogant
  • Ministers often have bad memories. Their attendants ought to poke, prod, jostle, bruise & hit them to keep their memories fresh
  • Senators who proposed an idea should be forced to vote against it.
  • A discussion between 2 projectors on taxes
    • One said that we should tax people on vices & mistakes. The amount would be assessed by a jury
    • The other said we should tax people based on their most valuable traits. Men would be taxed by what’s most valuable about them to women: wit, valor & politeness. Women would be taxed by what’s most valuable about them to men: beauty & dress. General virtues weren’t to be taxed at all
  • Another said that in order to keep senators honest, their positions should be drawn by lottery to keep hopeful senators honest while waiting for their number to show up. It would keep them loyal to the government because they’d expect to benefit one day
  • Another proposed a method to spot conspiracies against the government by examining people’s diets, sleeping habits, which hand they wiped themselves with & the color, smell & consistency of their shit
  • Gulliver offered a suggestion of a similar merit
    • If conspiracies were common, you could encourage people to inform & provide evidence which could be examined & analyzed using codes & acrostics
      • “Our brother Tom has got the piles” would mean “Resist, a plot is brought home – take the tour.” by way of anagram
  • Gulliver had seen enough of the place & wanted to go home.

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