I wish I could have read this book much earlier, but perhaps I would not perceive it from the angle that I am looking at it today. A friend mentioned it to me at the end of 2018; I did some quick research about it and got some quotes from the internet. It is not until last week in 2020, I picked it up and could not stop reading it. I never thought that I would be able to read a classical literature so fast because classical literature, despite my interest to analyze them, is often very emotionally overwhelming to me and so deeply rich that I cannot digest them smoothly in a moderate amount of time. I often find the intensity of my attention to a story or project is utterly giant; I don't want to change it tough, as I do try to follow the earnest desire of my heart. However, sometimes this intensity does disturb my health, so I am trying to write down thoughts throughout time so that it could be released instead of being repeated again and again in my very limited brain.
Upon what I learnt from this incredible fiction, the most precious "fact" is, and has always been, the person who introduced book and fantasy to me. As much as I enjoy my engineering education, sometimes when my mind calms down I wish so much to take a night literature class in where I could approach the feelings who could not find their places in days. In days, under the sun, I let my passion burn as much as it can; yet when night comes, after finishing up works, I think more and feel more. In most of the time, gratitude, happiness, longing to the next great day come, in which case I can go to bed happily. But when some feelings become wild, I wonder if having more experience with literature would help me take of them better.
Love is what transforms everyone.
The themes of this book seemingly contradict to my belief of technology/engineering -- a field filled with facts, statistics, equations, calculations, and so on. However, it would be very wrong, in my opinion, to take this books as a judge who declares the winning of art in its battle with science. The rigid concept or rather mindset in this novel is a symbol of an aged system in where people follow the principle laws, logistics, and reasoning. They are confined in a box where no innovations are allowed. They aren't fantasying, feeling, or imagining. This dominant system would be catastrophic in any field. A poet can't write the most beautiful poem if she or him isn't allowed to think out of the box. In the same way, an engineer will never be able to invent the most elegant machine if he or she can't fantasy. This book ought to act as a voice to urge people imagine -- imagine the best of the world and have faith in it.
I had long time struggling with my disbelief in utilitarianism because it is so logical, reasonable, and seems like the best idea for the society to operate. But, (excuse my word) f*** it. What a wise man Kant was when he wrote down his opinion on moral philosophy and aesthetics. Follow your heart; trust it when you don't feel doing something is the wise decision. Of course, any deliberate action cannot hurt others per Mill's argument in On Liberty. Dream when no one else believes in your fantasy. Imagine the boldest innovations that could change the world in the direction of uniting humanity. Wonder the nonsense and have the romantic affections even as an engineer. Feel the passion as much as you feel love! The power that those feelings could give you is no less powerful than the power of calculation.
Dickens, Charles, et al. Hard Times. W.W. Norton, 2001.