Current book being read/just finished

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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby JeffDFD on Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:58 pm

interesting book.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Shyster on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:30 pm

Prompted by discussions in the PDT, I most recently read You Can't Say That!: The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws. As the book does a great job of explaining, Constructional freedoms are routinely being sacrificed in the name of remedying “discrimination.”
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby columbia on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:32 pm

Reality doesn't need quotes.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Shyster on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:36 pm

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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby columbia on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:38 pm

Don't you mean "apartheid?"
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Gaucho on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:43 pm

*zing*
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby columbia on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:45 pm

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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Gaucho on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:49 pm

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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby columbia on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:51 pm

So good.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Gaucho on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:57 pm

Not too many bands can claim to have recorded three masterpieces in a row.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby legame on Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:56 pm

What do you think of that book, Shyster?
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Godric on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:01 am

legame wrote:What do you think of that book, Shyster?


You don't want to know
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Shyster on Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:25 pm

legame wrote:What do you think of that book, Shyster?

I'm not finished, but it's a compelling read. The author is a native of South Africa, and her father Rabbi Ben Isaacson was a leading voice against apartheid. Her family left SA for Israel in the 1960s due to the government's harassment. She returned in the 1980s and expected to raise her family there. But the rampant crime, corruption, and general dysfunction that overtook the country after the ANC takeover led her and her family to flee for Canada. She now lives in the United States.

The facts of the downfall of SA are tragic. A county that once was building its own space program now regularly suffers electrical brownouts, and other basic utilities like water and sewage systems are also breaking down. Violent crime is omnipresent. HIV-AIDS infection rates are often over 25%. The rates of robbery, rape, and murder in SA are off the charts. It's one of the most dangerous places to live in the world. That especially does for the minority white population, every member of which basically lives with a target on his or her back. It's depressingly common for white-targeted home invasions to lead to women being gang-raped while their fathers or husbands are forced to watch. There are insurance companies in SA that actually now offer "rape insurance" that will pay out if the victims get AIDS from their rapists. It's one of the leading reasons why hundreds of thousands of white South Africans have emigrated to other countries in the last decade. That's a significant percentage of the white population.

What lessons to take away are a little more difficult to pin down. A racist, I suppose, would opine "That's what you get for putting the blacks in charge." I would obviously disagree with that. I think the lesson--as Ms. Mercer indicates herself--is to be wary of all forms of state-enforced racial favoritism, regardless of the favored race, and also to be circumspect of unfettered majoritarianism. As British author Theodore Dalrymple (the pen name of Dr. Anthony Daniels) once said "The first thing to remember is that freedom and democracy are not necessarily the same thing at all. A people may easily vote into power a government that wishes to massacre part of the population." SA is a living example of that warning.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby columbia on Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:04 pm

In 1969, publisher John Martin offered to pay Charles Bukowski $100 each and every month for the rest of his life, on one condition: that he quit his job at the post office and become a writer. 49-year-old Bukowski did just that, and in 1971 his first novel, Post Office, was published by Martin's Black Sparrow Press.

15 years later, Bukowski wrote the following letter to Martin and spoke of his joy at having escaped full time employment.


http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/10/pe ... y-out.html
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Troy Loney on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:20 pm

columbia wrote:
In 1969, publisher John Martin offered to pay Charles Bukowski $100 each and every month for the rest of his life, on one condition: that he quit his job at the post office and become a writer. 49-year-old Bukowski did just that, and in 1971 his first novel, Post Office, was published by Martin's Black Sparrow Press.

15 years later, Bukowski wrote the following letter to Martin and spoke of his joy at having escaped full time employment.


http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/10/pe ... y-out.html



Thanks columbia, now I can't stop trying to configure the logistics of quitting my job.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby legame on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:28 pm

Hell of an analysis regarding South Africa. I don't have any time at the moment to read it, but I'll have to add it to my list.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Hockeynut! on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:48 pm

I really enjoyed that Columbia. Thanks for sharing the link.

I've often thought that as children, we're led to believe we can do anything, be anything we want to be, see all our dreams come true, only for everything to come crashing down as we enter adulthood, get a "real job", etc. I look at my dad who is 65 and was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He retired at 62, mostly because he kept getting laid off from various crappy manufacturing jobs when plants would close down/lay off most of the work force/etc. I look at his life and wonder if he was ever really happy. He never had an important job. He never had a great marriage. He always seemed so disappointed with everything. Now as he gets ready to fight cancer again, I wonder if he thinks he wasted his life.

I'm self employed as a photographer and I enjoy my "job" most of the time, but I don't feel like I'm doing anything great or important. I'm going to be 35 this year, out of high school for the past 16 1/2 years and I can't understand where time has gone. Is running a successful business enough? Will I look back at my life 35 years from now and feel like I threw it all away? Right now, 65 feels so far away, but I'm over half way there. I love life and want to milk it for all it's worth. Hopefully I have the courage to do just that.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby LeopardLetang on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:22 am

you could always practice kriya yoga if you end up finding yourself disillusioned with your life.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Kraftster on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:32 am

columbia wrote:
In 1969, publisher John Martin offered to pay Charles Bukowski $100 each and every month for the rest of his life, on one condition: that he quit his job at the post office and become a writer. 49-year-old Bukowski did just that, and in 1971 his first novel, Post Office, was published by Martin's Black Sparrow Press.

15 years later, Bukowski wrote the following letter to Martin and spoke of his joy at having escaped full time employment.


http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/10/pe ... y-out.html


Nice find. Thanks.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Kraftster on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:52 am

Hockeynut! wrote:I really enjoyed that Columbia. Thanks for sharing the link.

I've often thought that as children, we're led to believe we can do anything, be anything we want to be, see all our dreams come true, only for everything to come crashing down as we enter adulthood, get a "real job", etc. I look at my dad who is 65 and was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He retired at 62, mostly because he kept getting laid off from various crappy manufacturing jobs when plants would close down/lay off most of the work force/etc. I look at his life and wonder if he was ever really happy. He never had an important job. He never had a great marriage. He always seemed so disappointed with everything. Now as he gets ready to fight cancer again, I wonder if he thinks he wasted his life.

I'm self employed as a photographer and I enjoy my "job" most of the time, but I don't feel like I'm doing anything great or important. I'm going to be 35 this year, out of high school for the past 16 1/2 years and I can't understand where time has gone. Is running a successful business enough? Will I look back at my life 35 years from now and feel like I threw it all away? Right now, 65 feels so far away, but I'm over half way there. I love life and want to milk it for all it's worth. Hopefully I have the courage to do just that.


I always look around at other people and feel that they are missing something by not, as you put it, "milk[ing life] for all it's worth." What you seem to be talking about is almost like a "step two" in the process of "getting it" (I guess it can be read as 'life'). First, I think you should be thrilled with the fact that you've arrived at step one. I don't think there's a whole lot more after step one myself, but so few people seem to even get to that point that its worth patting yourself on the back for being there. I haven't found the perfect way to describe "it" just yet, but I guess the closest I can come is to quote Ernest Becker in The Denial of Death when talking about living life with the consciousness of death: "This is the terror to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expresion -- and with all this yet to die." This consciousness of death is very reminiscent of choosing to live despite the absurdity of life (Camus most specifically but other existentialists as well). Whether choosing to live despite awareness of the absurdity of life or living with the consciousness of death, I think this is the best description of "getting it" that I can come up with.

In looking for a step 2, I think one must be cognizant of the enormity of making it to step 1 and look again to Camus, "The struggle itself...is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Being alive at step 1 is incredible. For me the best primer on how to live after arriving at step 1 comes from Robert C.W. Ettinger (father of cryonics, author of Youniverse: Towards a Self-Centered Philosophy of Immortalism and Cryonics), who largely advocates a me-first, feel-good approach to life. This, however, is not merely one hedonistic pursuit after another (at least not necessarily). Rather, it is a constant struggle, I think much like the one that you are highlighting -- What should I do now? Am I on track to be fulfilled later in life? Should I be doing this? That? Etc.? I imagine there is no easy answer to this question and no single correct one either. To be able to say that you lived life with the consciousness of death/in the face of the absurdity of life and that you strived to always be mindful of what you wanted out of life in each moment, in the future, and on the whole is, I think, the most that you can hope to do with your brief time on the earth.

Just as one ought not to miss the meaning of life by getting stuck in "the 9-5 grind", similarly, one ought not to miss the meaning of life by constantly pursuing a single meaning of life that may not exist. Both can have the same malignant effect of distracting you from milking all that you can out of each day, which I think requires some level of recognition, maybe even on a daily basis, of just how special getting to live a day as the person that you are really is.

Of course, I could be missing the mark completely on a step 2 that is out there and really be no more enlightened than those who fail to reach step 1, who I tend to feel sorry for.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Shyster on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:55 pm

Now reading Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa by Keith Richburg. Mr. Richberg is a longtime foreign correspondent of The Washington Post. He served in Southeast Asia from 1986 until 1990; in Africa from 1991 through 1994; in Hong Kong from 1995 through 2000; and in Paris from 2000 until mid-2005. He also covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While in Africa, he covered the civil war in Somalia (including the ultimately futile intervention efforts of the United States and United Nations, which led to the events commonly referred to as Black Hawk Down), the Rwandan Genocide, and a massive cholera epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Out Of America details those years.

This book is both gripping and horrifying, even more so because all of the events described in it are true. A vignette in the prelude chapter sets the tone: Mr. Richberg is standing on the Rusumo Falls Bridge over the Kagera river, on the border between Rwanda and Tanzania. He is watching the bloated corpses of victims of the Rwandan massacre float down the river and go over the falls. Eventually, those bodies will end up Lake Victoria, where they will probably end up as food for the fish. Sometimes the bodies come one by one. Sometimes they come in groups. Most are adults, but some are children. Most are naked. Some are bound with ropes. Some are clearly missing limbs. As he watches, Mr. Richberg times with his watch. Doing a bit of math, he calculates that a new corpse floats by about once every two minutes. Thirty bodies an hour. About 700 per day. And those bodies have been coming for days.

It takes a strong stomach to read at points. Out Of America is an eye-witness account of humanity at its worst. But it’s also a compelling read, with lessons to teach. Highly recommended.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Godric on Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:19 pm

Kraftster wrote:
Spoiler:
Hockeynut! wrote:I really enjoyed that Columbia. Thanks for sharing the link.

I've often thought that as children, we're led to believe we can do anything, be anything we want to be, see all our dreams come true, only for everything to come crashing down as we enter adulthood, get a "real job", etc. I look at my dad who is 65 and was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He retired at 62, mostly because he kept getting laid off from various crappy manufacturing jobs when plants would close down/lay off most of the work force/etc. I look at his life and wonder if he was ever really happy. He never had an important job. He never had a great marriage. He always seemed so disappointed with everything. Now as he gets ready to fight cancer again, I wonder if he thinks he wasted his life.

I'm self employed as a photographer and I enjoy my "job" most of the time, but I don't feel like I'm doing anything great or important. I'm going to be 35 this year, out of high school for the past 16 1/2 years and I can't understand where time has gone. Is running a successful business enough? Will I look back at my life 35 years from now and feel like I threw it all away? Right now, 65 feels so far away, but I'm over half way there. I love life and want to milk it for all it's worth. Hopefully I have the courage to do just that.

I always look around at other people and feel that they are missing something by not, as you put it, "milk[ing life] for all it's worth." What you seem to be talking about is almost like a "step two" in the process of "getting it" (I guess it can be read as 'life'). First, I think you should be thrilled with the fact that you've arrived at step one. I don't think there's a whole lot more after step one myself, but so few people seem to even get to that point that its worth patting yourself on the back for being there. I haven't found the perfect way to describe "it" just yet, but I guess the closest I can come is to quote Ernest Becker in The Denial of Death when talking about living life with the consciousness of death: "This is the terror to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expresion -- and with all this yet to die." This consciousness of death is very reminiscent of choosing to live despite the absurdity of life (Camus most specifically but other existentialists as well). Whether choosing to live despite awareness of the absurdity of life or living with the consciousness of death, I think this is the best description of "getting it" that I can come up with.

In looking for a step 2, I think one must be cognizant of the enormity of making it to step 1 and look again to Camus, "The struggle itself...is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Being alive at step 1 is incredible. For me the best primer on how to live after arriving at step 1 comes from Robert C.W. Ettinger (father of cryonics, author of Youniverse: Towards a Self-Centered Philosophy of Immortalism and Cryonics), who largely advocates a me-first, feel-good approach to life. This, however, is not merely one hedonistic pursuit after another (at least not necessarily). Rather, it is a constant struggle, I think much like the one that you are highlighting -- What should I do now? Am I on track to be fulfilled later in life? Should I be doing this? That? Etc.? I imagine there is no easy answer to this question and no single correct one either. To be able to say that you lived life with the consciousness of death/in the face of the absurdity of life and that you strived to always be mindful of what you wanted out of life in each moment, in the future, and on the whole is, I think, the most that you can hope to do with your brief time on the earth.

Just as one ought not to miss the meaning of life by getting stuck in "the 9-5 grind", similarly, one ought not to miss the meaning of life by constantly pursuing a single meaning of life that may not exist. Both can have the same malignant effect of distracting you from milking all that you can out of each day, which I think requires some level of recognition, maybe even on a daily basis, of just how special getting to live a day as the person that you are really is.

Of course, I could be missing the mark completely on a step 2 that is out there and really be no more enlightened than those who fail to reach step 1, who I tend to feel sorry for.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
- Steve Jobs


Disappointment is either a choice or a involuntary interpretation of our current health that we project to any concept we can precieve. Thats my personal belief and I hope it makes sense.

The idea that drives me is understanding and the humility paradox that comes with that idea. I could be completely lost and not comprehend reality in the slightness but its the connection to nature and other consciousness that gives me meaning.

Stanley Kubrick said "The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light."
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Kraftster on Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:35 pm

Love that Kubrick quote, thanks for that.

I have never heard "the humility paradox" before. I really like that. The grand sense of power one gets from being in touch with one's consciousness and the sense of how priceless it is to be the powerful conscious being that one is must always be measured by how small and insignificant that power is when compared with the awesomeness of the universe. When I'm really thinking clearly, maybe out by myself on a walk, particularly if in the woods, thinking about the enormity of it all almost brings me to weeping.
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Godric on Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:44 pm

Kraftster wrote:Love that Kubrick quote, thanks for that.

I have never heard "the humility paradox" before. I really like that. The grand sense of power one gets from being in touch with one's consciousness and the sense of how priceless it is to be the powerful conscious being that one is must always be measured by how small and insignificant that power is when compared with the awesomeness of the universe. When I'm really thinking clearly, maybe out by myself on a walk, particularly if in the woods, thinking about the enormity of it all almost brings me to weeping.


Its profound.

"Grey, dear friend, is all theory,
And green the golden tree of life."
Johann Goethe

"Its a sacred obligation to step aside from
our habitual path or routine, to be overcome, enchanted by
its beauty and significance ... To perceive freshly, with
fresh senses is to be inspired." - I don't recall at the moment

Thats how we work though, Kraftster... Walking and being engaged in observation, fluid or crystalized observation. Our mental perception and Physiological condition is connected in a way most people aren't conscious of... BECAUSE WE DONT TEACH IT ENOUGH... I digress... thats a rant for another time
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Re: Current book being read/just finished

Postby Hockeynut! on Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:19 pm

I love this forum so much, even though some of you folks make me feel really dumb. ;)

The life discussion in the past few posts has been so interesting. I love life, but sometimes I get caught up in "things". Should I buy a fancier car? Should I buy that sweet oilcloth jacket from Ralph Lauren for $500? Things like that. This has really made me realize how trivial those things are. A jacket isn't going to change my life. A better car isn't going to take me anywhere that my Kia can't. I can get so much real enjoyment out of life that those things won't give me. Those are just trappings that tie me down and prevent me from doing something more meaningful.

Thanks for all the great discussion!
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