Whatcha reading?

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:31 pm

Mike Lofgren's The Party Is Over. He's a former GOP staffer, a real insider, tells tales about how extreme the right has become. Made him independent. He is a very clever writer, really lays out the juice. Oddly, his critique is much more progressive than most democrats.

He used to work for John Kasich, which is important, since that boob is our governer.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:51 am

Review of Thompson's The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light: http://theproximaleye.com/2013/09/02/light-fallen/

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:25 pm

Mark Tiedemann wrote:Review of Thompson's The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light: http://theproximaleye.com/2013/09/02/light-fallen/


Fascinating stuff indeed. I remember this book from way back. Of course at the time it originally came out (early 80s?) I was still a religious fanatic and today would approach it from, shall we say, a slightly different perspective. :wink: This post is going to address some issues that are tangential to your main points but that I find interesting anyway.

1. I have been very much influenced by the writings and thought of Joseph Campbell but have read enough to be aware of some of his liabilities. But everyone is a product of their time and he was a very great scholar. I consider him blameless for the attempt to turn him into some sort of New Age guru towards the end of his life. (If I hear another moron breathlessly emoting about "following their bliss" I think I am going to scream.)

I take Campbell's essential insight to be that the images of mythology are expressions of human psychology and symbolize the energies of nature and of human consciousness. The fact that similar motifs and patterns appear in many of the otherwise unconnected mythic/religious systems throughout history present us with intimations of that human nature that Frank doesn't believe in.

2. But he didn't get everything right. The idea championed by Campbell and Marija Gimbutas of the so-called "Goddess" cultures has turned out to be a completely anachronistic fantasy. A feminist wish fulfillment rather than an accurate description of any ancient societies. True there were matrilineal societies and goddess worshiping cultures, but they were just as caste-ridden and warlike as those bad ole societies dominated by men. The worship of Aphrodite involved human sacrifice. And one can look eastward to the horrific image of Kali, all skulls and frothing blood.

3. ...It all went somehow terribly wrong... My god, how pervasive this idea is! Of course in our own culture we have the idea of the "fall" from an Edenic state of bliss. Christianity is simply an attempt to show how this fall can be undone. But this idea of a golden age when all was well and humankind lived in happiness, and then, that something spoiled it, appears everywhere in the mythologies of the world. And like Christianity many of the worlds religions are attempts to undo what went wrong when they're not just attempts to escape. My point #2 is an example of a secular version of this "myth". Who has not felt the tug at the heart of the false sweet vision of Atlantis?

The following are the "revelations" of Ezra. :wink: I ask no one to follow me in this.

Nothing is wrong. Everything is as it must be. If it could be otherwise it would be otherwise. (The wise will understand that I do not speak of such mundanities as addressing inequities in our economic system or advocating such things as gun control, i.e., "bettering" society.) If you have the idea that we are the omega point toward which the universe has aspired since it began then you must necessarily come to the conclusion that something went bad wrong. But the universe is indifferent and purposeless. It simply is. And we are the byproducts of the laws of nature not the goal of them. Loss is inherent in the process. That's just the way it is and wisdom begins the moment you accept that. As a corollary the maturity of our species will begin the moment we abandon our childish fantasies of redemption and forgiveness. There is nothing to be redeemed and nothing to forgive. Life is a ravening maw that only exists by consuming itself and that vision is true. Once you accept that then something remarkable happens. The guttering flickering flame becomes glorious because it is so fleeting. We skate on the edge of the abyss yet we can fill the void with our minds. Glory!

Man, what was in that cough syrup? The funny part is that I'm serious.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

diane bartels
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby diane bartels » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:56 pm

'Ezra, I believe in the omega point, but not that we are there. We(the universe) are still evolving.
We are still going towards Omega. We will know when we get there, but fasten your seatbelt, cause so far it has been a long and bumpy ride.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:30 am


Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:33 am

Ezra,

I've been cogitating over your comments. Yes, I agree with your overall assessment---nothing is wrong. The mistake, of course, is that we tend to adopt a telec view of, well, everything. As if things were "intended" one way but they went off the rails and we've been trying to get back. This nonsense, of course. Shit happens. That's the primary driving philosophy of human endeavor. Shit happens, someone responds, others follow, and voila we have what we have. It's the chief problem with these sorts of books, that they always assume there is some ideal condition that was supposed to trump everything else and somehow didn't.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:24 pm


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FrankChurch
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:11 am

No, I do believe in human nature as a poetic concept. Science, not so much.

Myth keeps us from fully falling under despair. Changing the world would keep the myths more on back burner.

diane bartels
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby diane bartels » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:46 pm

rereading Carl Sagan - The Dragons of Eden and Broca's Brain. Excellent books both.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:56 am

Diane, go to my politics forum for a video with Susan Douglas.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:18 pm

A collection of short stories by Don DeLillo. The guy can certainly write beautiful prose but I'm not sure there's a there there if you know what I mean.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:29 am


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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:41 pm

Kind of strange to think of the Twentieth Century as having passed away and available for study as an entirety like historians study the Sixteenth Century or the Nineteenth. If I live a normal human lifespan I will have spent half my life in it. Because I was born into it, it seems impossible to approach a historian's objectivity.

When I want to consider a historical mind warp I always think of the year 1910. That was the year Mark Twain died and Adolph Hitler was already 21 years old. Hard to imagine Mark Twain and Adolph Hitler alive in the same world but they were. Who better than Twain epitomizes Nineteenth Century America? And who the horror of the Twentieth than Hitler? And yet Twain made it into the Twentieth and Hitler was born in the Nineteenth. Strange.


The past is never dead. It's not even past. -William Faulkner
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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FrankChurch
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:53 am

Hitler didn't much care for river boats.

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FinderDoug
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FinderDoug » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:13 pm

Mark - I'm beginning to buy into the Turing Test notion...


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