I may get back to this, but here's my seven word review.
Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch. Bitch, bitch, bitch.
Really to me, this was genius wasted. Mucking...moreI may get back to this, but here's my seven word review.
Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch. Bitch, bitch, bitch.
Really to me, this was genius wasted. Mucking about at a lake is a fantastic way to collect one's thoughts, but if the outcome is just to conclude that isolationism is the solution to all of the ills of the world, then why bother living at all? Man is a gregarious creature and we need other men (and especially other women) to survive, biologically, intellectually, philosophically and of course politically.(less)
Few things are more annoying to me that when friends say "Everything happens for a reason." I'm reminded of Voltaire's Candide where he is annoyed by...moreFew things are more annoying to me that when friends say "Everything happens for a reason." I'm reminded of Voltaire's Candide where he is annoyed by the philosophical concept of "sufficient reason". Voltaire wonders what the sufficient reason of the Lisbon earthquake was (the most devastating natural disaster of his era and the end of the Portuguese as a world power). Was the sufficient reason that Portuguese rescue workers needed rescue work? The possible answers make sufficient reason seem quite absurd.
We know the reason for almost everything. Mathematical probability. If you flip a coin long enough, you will get a heads result. If you practice guitar long enough, you'll learn to play Stairway to Heaven. And so on and so on.
As an evolutionary advantage, our minds automatically try to make sense of random events and bring order to the chaos. It makes us feel better... and even live longer. We ascribe things such as god, karma, luck, the illusion of skill or whatever we can imagine to explain random phenomenon, particularly when the phenomenon makes the odds appear long.
What's the difference between a personal understanding of long odds and a general understanding? For example, what are the chances that you will win a lottery? Not good. What are the chances that "someone" will win the same lottery? Very good. If you narrow the scope of a long-odds event to your own personal experience, of course these events can seem like providence.
The Drunkards walk was (for me) a little too simple. I've studied combinatorial mathematics and statistics and the book was a simple reminder of the works of Pascal, Fibonacci, Newton and a few others. For someone new to mathematics, however, I think it would be a better read... it explained simple combinatorics problems that I assume would not confuse a virgin to mathematics.
In the end... the lasting idea is... our lives are ruled by chance and we can improve our lives by tipping odds in our favour. Before we can do this, however we have to accept that everything has odds and that we are rarely in control. Not easy advice, but worth the price.
I should maybe make a point of reading an author's works in the order in which they were created. Narcissus and Goldmund is the most recent in a stack...moreI should maybe make a point of reading an author's works in the order in which they were created. Narcissus and Goldmund is the most recent in a stack of Hesse books that I've read. At the time it was written, it was considered a triumph... only to be overshadowed years later by his Nobel prize-winning The Glass Bead Game.
Why do I give it only 4 stars, when it has clearly been hailed as a masterpiece? For me, it was ingested after I had read The Glass Bead Game. This writing seems to create the basis and foundation for the later work and thus felt incomplete for me, like an unfinished song. Without having to consult Wikipedia, you can feel this book has the ideas churning around that would later form The Glass Bead Game. Hesse's fetish for pedagogy seems to shine through here much more crisply than in anything else I've read of his... until his last novel where it is openly venerated.
I love philosophy and philosophical discussion and debate and the two main characters certainly wax as philosophically as any two characters in literature. It's at once satisfying and pedantic. I can easily imagine a reader getting lost or bored for parts of the discussion. It ends well, however, leaving the reader, specifically me, a lot to think about. I like to think and I'll ruminate on this for some time.
We all have some of Narcissus and some of Goldmund in us. It is our duality. It is our humanity. Which is best is really up to the person living their life... the path of emotion or the path of logic... the path of experience or the path of thought. There is a lot here to think about.(less)
I suppose that the reminder that the religious people in my life are immoral nihilists that would kill me without question if a voice in their head to...moreI suppose that the reminder that the religious people in my life are immoral nihilists that would kill me without question if a voice in their head told them to do so... well let's just say that it is not a comforting feeling. Overall this is a depressing book. Religion is a horrible thing and has so many sins to its credit, both historical and modern that I'm sure the the whole manuscript simply wrote itself for Hitchens.
When we think about child rape, ethnic cleansing, total war, secular violence, or any number of horrific and systematically carried out crimes against humanity, the very next question we ask is "Which religion is responsible?"
I field these thoughts and questions now and then and even take up debate with my friends who are 'believers' in hopes of sharing some common sense. It is usually the believers who retire from the conversation, however. With this book, it was me hoping to retire... to get to the end of it. The book is not only convincing in it's argument... it is an impenetrable wall of criticism against religion of any kind.
I've you have ever seen a cool martial arts film, then you have probably heard an excerpt from this book. It is super-cool from beginning to end. The...moreI've you have ever seen a cool martial arts film, then you have probably heard an excerpt from this book. It is super-cool from beginning to end. The message is fairly simple. If you are a martial artist, then you fight. When you fight, you will fight with a single objective; to cut down your opponent. If you wish to be victorious, you must practice and train. When you practice and train, you must train in the right way and always in mind of cutting down your opponent.
This fall, I plan to take up the foil and sabre at a club in Paris. I am looking forward to see if I can apply some of the techniques and philosophies presented here to my training in this French martial art. With the correct training and the correct philosophy, I hope to be unbeatable.(less)