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What books are you reading right now?

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Posted on May 21, 2015 11:19:57 AM PDT
John Spinks says:
Contemplating a reread of Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Darkover Landfall."

Posted on May 21, 2015 9:06:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author 16 hours ago
Edgar Self says:
An unexpected and unforeseen discussion of Hermann Hesseand Thomas Mann has broken out in the Opera Forum thread "Opera in Literature and Fiction", with posters Will Ryan, a writer himself, and others. Flavius occasionally looks in there, as I hope others will. "The Magic Mountain" is of course mentioned, but also Hesse's "Demian" and other books of more than ordinary interest..

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2015 5:57:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 20, 2015 6:00:33 PM PDT
Hi Figaro!

Ah..I have led you directly to the Amazon cart.... ;-)

Yes-the Zimmerman Telegram was the icing on the cake, the Germans had,by this time, developed a terminal case of Foot in Mouth Disease.

Philby,Blake.. etc What a bunch!I find them very difficult to read about.

Have you read this book on the Great War in Africa?

Byron Farwell;

The Great War in Africa: 1914-1918

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2015 5:49:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 20, 2015 5:51:38 PM PDT
Figaro says:
Greg, glad to see you back. Hope all is going well. I've read a lot of Morison, but not that one. I've heard excellent reports of it over a lot of years, so it's time. It just went in the Amazon cart.

I've just begun Ben Macintyre's A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal. Macintyre is a superb writer (the Man Who Would Be King among others) and compellingly relates the upper class world of British Intelligence from the 1930s well into the Cold War - rotten to the core. The right schools, colleges, and "knowing his people" was often the only vetting deemed necessary. Unbelievable. Of course, we had our own coterie of CW traitors as well ( e.g., Angleton). Anyway, an excellent read.

Simultaneously reading (my bad habit again) Barbara Tuchman's The Zimmerman Telegram, a compelling account of a fascinating episode pushing the U.S. into The Great War.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2015 5:49:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 20, 2015 10:32:45 PM PDT
Recently the subject of Norm Chomsky came up here; I now have one if his books (or maybe two?) and have started one of them...

Today I ran across an article, maybe others here have seen it, listing the books that Osama Bin Laden had in his study (office?) when he was found. A couple of them were by Chomsky.

Now it's bothering me. I don't know if I should be reading those doggone books ...

edit: this probably comes across as, I don't know, wrong in some fashion. I'm actually finding myself curious enough that I may order the two Chomsky books that UBL had in his library, which are:

Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky

Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky

Here is the link to the ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) website that lists bin Ladin's bookshelf:

Posted on May 20, 2015 3:42:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 20, 2015 3:43:25 PM PDT
Commencing to read;

Samuel Eliot Morison,

*Admiral of the Ocean Sea*

Which is still the finest biography of Christopher Columbus (IMHO) written thus far.

Mine is the Little,Brown And Company edition published in Boston,1942.

Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2015 5:40:51 AM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Edgar Self----Congratulations for the lengthy thread. I've always appreciated an open site without the yammering of acrimonious debate. Learned a bit on the way, too.

Posted on May 19, 2015 1:54:13 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
"The Empire Novels: The Stars, Like Dust; The Currents of Space; Pebble in the Sky" by Isaac Asimov. Could be seen as pre-Foundation history or just novels.

Posted on May 19, 2015 9:43:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 20, 2015 7:36:43 AM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Today this discussion that I started is six years old with 6,516 posts and 190 contributors, so I'll let someone else remind Mr. Dilger that "The Blue Angel" in which Emil Janings and Marlene Dietrich are so painfully unforgettable is based on a story by Heinrich Mann, the older brother of Thomas. After sharing digs in Palestrina they lived near one another in Southern California, where Heinrich was virtually dependent upon his younger brother. After reading his new book, he wrote Thomas, "An mein grosse Brueder, wer hat 'Doktor Faustus' geschriebt" --- "To my great brother, who wrote 'Doctor Faustus'". Thomas quickly answered, "No, Heinrich, you were always the grosse (big) brother." Heinrich, whose reputation had once been higher, wept.

Posted on May 18, 2015 4:03:45 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 18, 2015 4:04:14 PM PDT]

Posted on May 18, 2015 6:23:48 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2015 8:29:28 AM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Dexter Allen, querido Don Flavius. You are a rmarkable man and outstanding among your contemporaries, of whom there are few, although I count myself within the same decade for a little longer. It's time you turned to writing your memoirs about famous dogs you have known, and perhaps others. It will want a gazeteer to follow your peregrinations, and I will be a first subscriber.

In Japan you would already have been designated a Living Treasure, a sort of ambulatory nationalmonument. I hoope your dog realises this.

I see from the calendar that Omar Khayam would be 967 years old today, if he had lived. And to my surprise, he is described as poet, mathematician, and astronomer, maybe an exception to the general rule. Ernest Ansermet was said to have been a mathematician. Answer me, Ansermet! Hermann Hesse married the daughter of one, the Swiss Bertoulli. Sir William Herschel was also a star-gazer, composer, and staunch friend of Haydn, who visited his observatory on one of his English residencies. And even though Sir Isaac Newton was a mathematician, he turns up as an amusing character in one of Bernard Shaw's plays, "In Good King Charles's Golden Days", along with Quaker Fox, Nell Gwynne, and the King himself. It turns out the cook was quicker at figuring out the green-grocer's bill than Sir Isaac.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2015 4:41:20 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Les Lee: 10 points, only if you promise never to do it again.

Posted on May 17, 2015 4:01:26 PM PDT
Lez Lee says:
Not chopped liver but "I'm pink, therefore I'm Spam"

Sorry ;-)

Posted on May 17, 2015 3:43:53 PM PDT
carnola says:
Flavius, I'd say that Descartes and Pascal were not chopped liver as philosophers, yet they were both outstanding mathematicians.

Posted on May 17, 2015 3:31:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2015 3:33:51 PM PDT
Flavius says:

As you noted, the concept of the 'Trinity' entered Roman thought with Plotinus, and without that concept the 'Messiah' and the 'Christ' (the Anointed, Son Of God: link to the Godhead, and mankind's inclusion) could not have been fused, and the heart strength of Judaism given a pulse to a new Faith.

Have you read much of Plotinus? Not so much fear and trembling, as a recognition that the divine spark is the source of consciousness, human and otherwise.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2015 3:03:17 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Flavius----Elements of the Christian church, Karl Jaspers my favorite blend of existence and early Church about the Council of Nicea (the heretics I guess). Belief in Christ arrived to current orthodoxy by way of Neoplatonism. By the nineteenth century Kierkegaard was linking aspects that were later refined by Jaspers and later by Rollo May and company.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2015 2:31:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2015 9:49:54 PM PDT
Flavius says:
And, Dilger, if you will: who are the philosophers you mention as Neoplatonic existentialists?

As I have frequently stated, my favorite philosophers are both Spanish, Ortega y Gasset, and Unamuno, whom I read and reread with great delight and satisfaction. Thought games as such are futile. Philosophy and religion are for me intertwined: are meant, as Plato said, to direct man to the good life. There is nothing more disheartening than to play the fool in a man's own eyes. (I often shudder!)

Re dogs: throughout my life I've been accompanied by them. In fact, I recall incidents by my pet at the time. There's always that question: was it an extraordinary, physical perceptiveness, or was it a psychic, a telepathic awareness...or, is all communication basically telepathic? A mere exchange of words so often amounts to an exchange of aspirations and grunts.

I'm now in my ninetieth year, and I still have my mascot, like an old monkey fondling its pet. She goes for her walk. Whether I want to go out in the wind or not, I'm on my feet. We accommodate each other.
A man recently scalded himself to death because his dog leapt into a hot spring. They both died. My miniature pinscher, hopefully, will not be caught in a rip tide (we live on the beach): I'd probably risk drowning.

Posted on May 17, 2015 2:23:57 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Existentialism: man radiates meaning to others; man is the center of meaning.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2015 2:21:20 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Flavius----my childhood was spent with Lassie, that female dog raised me more than my family, school, Little League, Boy Scouts, and reading combined. From age five to thirty-something I always had a collie whether in woods or city streets. Those dogs added senses not normal to most.

Posted on May 17, 2015 2:03:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2015 2:43:57 PM PDT
Flavius says:
Well, knowing what you like is essential: whether a thought system fits, gives you wings, or pinches, restricts flight. There's always a tension between consistency and inclusion: here's to more and more, without the bubble bursting!

The I Ching states that the self-taught are apt to be one-sided. It all depends when the self-teaching begins, whether the appropriate programs are in place. Much of our foundation is laid in childhood. Parental input is critical, but there are certainly other forces in play. An early teacher, a family friend...'destiny', providence.

Existentialism: an emphasis on an individual's free self-responsibility's determining his development, 'through acts of the will*'. This seems to be a clumsy definition. The emphasis I think should be placed on experience, on the experiential, how someone confronts himself, discovers the 'quick'.


In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2015 1:44:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2015 1:45:47 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Neoplatonism (SP?) has been molded into existentialism by a philosopher or two, how can you equate koiné with Aramaic? Apparently these two languages passed on considerable information current in today's world ( with the addition of the materialistic Roman engineers). Philosophy is great and I'm sure everyone operates on some kind of system. But those that teach themselves have a slight disadvantage in the educational groupthink. No, existentialism is a loner's belief, one which is able to stable itself despite intimidating environments.

Posted on May 17, 2015 1:40:18 PM PDT
Flavius says:
Incidentally, Dilger,

There's a book you might find interesting:
Spiritual Pilgrims: Carl Jung and Teresa of Avila

Posted on May 17, 2015 1:27:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2015 1:47:10 PM PDT
Flavius says:

Some people look at your shoes to see who you are. I listen to where a man puts his preposition, to hear if in ignorance he's afraid to end a sentence with one. We think with words, in word orders, in verbs and nouns and relative clauses.

Heidegger thought only those who thought in Greek or German had a conceptual grasp required for philosophy. And of course he was a poet, circling his intuitions. (Having no German, and only a little Koine, I can at least plead an appreciation of the Platonists as poets also, despite Heidegger's rejection).

How, indeed, can a Neoplatonist be existentialist? (But Jung and Teresa of Ávila are my patrons.)

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2015 12:57:35 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Flavius----RE: Question answer

Could be they weren't able to interface with the current academic criteria;
Could be they are pecking away on a smartphone, which requires ingenuity and mind/body dexterity; or maybe they are raised in an alternative reality.

Posted on May 17, 2015 12:16:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2015 12:42:21 PM PDT
Flavius says:
I've always been amazed how men of advanced mathematical capacity are often so unaware of life's subtlety, of the interplay of consciousness in and among individuals. How is it that so many apt in equations can't write a correct sentence, let alone paragraph?...or fail to grasp their inconsistencies and conceptual contradictions? (The great philosophers have been poets.*)

'Numeromania' is an old-fashioned word for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

*Certain concepts are only approachable, intuited, in a particular 'mood', when what is implied is inexpressible.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
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Initial post:  Mar 18, 2009
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