One of my favorite short stories of all time is Ursula Le Guin's The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. If you Google it, you should be able to download it pretty easily. Omelas is a fictional utopia with one drawback: In order for the city to be perfect, a child needs to be imprisoned in a basement in the town center. The logic is never explained but the filthy conditions experienced by the child are. And I don't think it's coincidence that Le Guin has lived in the seventh circle of Portland since 1958.
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LE GUIN: LIVES IN THE WORLD'S MOST LIVABLE CITY...REFLECTS ON MORALITY...

So: I'm excited that the Oregon Council for the Humanities is sponsoring a free happy hour "think and drink" discussion at rontoms on East Burnside, along the theme of "Morality and Self-Deception." It's like a Brewhaha for morality, I guess. And the timing, given the tortured state of Portland's moral conscience lately, is pretty exciting. Somebody ask a question about the mayor!
HAPPY-HOUR DISCUSSION EXAMINES MORALITY AND SELF-DECEPTION

Writer Ursula K. Le Guin and OSU professor Lani Roberts next Think & Drink guests.

PORTLAND, Ore.—May 20, 200—Join writer Ursula K. Le Guin and Oregon State University philosophy professor Lani Roberts for an interactive discussion exploring morality and self-deception—including our ideals of morality, how we deceive ourselves individually and collectively, and the concept of moral evolution—at the next Think & Drink, a happy-hour conversation series that sparks provocative conversations about big ideas.

Think & Drink will be held on Wednesday, June 17, 2009, at 6:30 at rontoms, 600 E. Burnside, Portland. The bimonthly series is sponsored by the Oregon Council for the Humanities (OCH).


I love the civic-mindedness of putting this on for free, and expect it'll be packed to the rafters. See you there.