Reading Ecotopia today is like watching men trying to invent a flying machine by flapping big finely crafted wings, as they did so for hundreds of yea...moreReading Ecotopia today is like watching men trying to invent a flying machine by flapping big finely crafted wings, as they did so for hundreds of years. Man can't fly that way! We are too much dead weight, we have to have a fixed wing and lots of power. We have to fire our jets against gravity. We need power, not a carapace of balsa wood and a bag of feathers. But oh, do I wish it weren't so! Ecotopia is hard evidence that good solutions only go as far as the people with good sense can carry them. The idiot hordes are immune to them. And Idiot hordes procreate faster then the former. All Callenbach's great notions are but a bridge made of popsicle sticks over a deep chasm. I applaud him until my hands hurt for having the optimism and naivety and general courage and fortitude to propose all these wonderful things. Forty years ago, maybe I could see some of his enthusiasm. In 2011 anyone with his brain not fried on prescription drugs or television news should have 20/20 vision that PEOPLE are simply the problem. Period. Collective, co-operative, low impact! It all sounds good to me and most, but the second it comes down to true sacrifice, people jump ship as though it's on fire. Try suggesting today to someone that if he want a burger, he slaughter the animal. If he want a chair to rest his fat ass in, then he has to cut the tree and build it himselves. He would eat grass and lie on the floor.
My negativity here is by no means at this book!!!!! I loved it. Callenbach has done a marvelous thing. It's because it is sooo thoroughly knowledgable and loaded with great suggestion that it is entirely unrealistic and 'absurd'. Like building a sand castle with dry sand. Not to mention the tides on it's way in. Truly a must read, though, because Callenbach surely also knew as much himself. And I quote:
"I mean we don't try to be perfect, we just try to be okay on the average- which means adding up a bunch of ups and downs. But it means giving up any notion of progress. You just want to get to that stable point and stay there..." (less)
"Desire is a strange attractor. Your longing warps the arch of the world's emergent truth." I shouldn't even bother to write anything more. It's all s...more"Desire is a strange attractor. Your longing warps the arch of the world's emergent truth." I shouldn't even bother to write anything more. It's all said in those two lines. Taylor can certainly write with great skill. It isn't often that writer's his age fill a book with as many quotables. And he's efficient, he's thrown one rock and bagged both philosophy and literature for dinner. Or dumpster diving. Regardless of my own politi-socio leanings, this was for me a worth-while thought-experiement on the attraction and distraction of anarchy. (less)
I give it four stars for content only. Difficult to read. Someone needs to paraphrase this book and due the world a great justice. It is probably as i...moreI give it four stars for content only. Difficult to read. Someone needs to paraphrase this book and due the world a great justice. It is probably as important to read this as learning the alphabet and how to use a toothbrush. A must read, but like exercise and taxes and other onerous tasks, you wont be happy you did until it's over.(less)
Colony collapse! Like one of the bees scientist cut open to diagnose, when I first opened Coupland’s specimen, all I saw was blackness. Everything was...moreColony collapse! Like one of the bees scientist cut open to diagnose, when I first opened Coupland’s specimen, all I saw was blackness. Everything was the matter with it. I thought surely it was dead. But i found some sentences so ugly with truth I had to continue my observation. Art imitates life, and life art. Generation A is diseased and broken and often not worth saving. But then it was so sad and bitter and grievously wronged, i had to take pity, and hope for it to recover. It most certainly did. With at first painful little breaths and then spirited convulsions of defiance and soon full blown strides of hilarious determination. Ultimately, the story grew some make-do wings and flew. With luck, it will sting a few others, too. It’ll be worth the pain. (less)
I think what with the title, I truly expected to have my pants dazzled off. I was satisfied with the work, but far from a great show. A good show, may...moreI think what with the title, I truly expected to have my pants dazzled off. I was satisfied with the work, but far from a great show. A good show, maybe, and certainly worth reading.(less)
Tinkers is one of the finest books written in years. Compact and complicated and stunningly beautiful. There are times where Harding accomplishes in o...moreTinkers is one of the finest books written in years. Compact and complicated and stunningly beautiful. There are times where Harding accomplishes in one page-long paragraph what another author would in a chapter. Imagine if your grandfather gave you a silver pocket watch, heavy with history, and then you opened up the back and saw the many intricate, precision cogs and sprockets and coils that all worked in unfailing accord and within breathless tolerances of one another to mark the time. Tinkers is a time machine that destroys the tyranny of time itself, with gorgeous consequences. (less)
Really, like no other novel you'll ever read. A brilliant parody and a razor sharp observation of how silly and beautiful we are. An inspirational boo...moreReally, like no other novel you'll ever read. A brilliant parody and a razor sharp observation of how silly and beautiful we are. An inspirational book to read.(less)
A brilliant book. Hard to get ourself to push into in the beginning. The latino slang and all the references to place and people so completely foreign...moreA brilliant book. Hard to get ourself to push into in the beginning. The latino slang and all the references to place and people so completely foreign to most of the nation. But sticking with it pays off big time. (less)
Quite possibly one of the worst books I've ever read. The Alchemist is insanely horrendous writing. And a silly tale to boot. It quite literally might...moreQuite possibly one of the worst books I've ever read. The Alchemist is insanely horrendous writing. And a silly tale to boot. It quite literally might be the single greatness proof that many, many people are either also insane, or can't actually read (like someone trying to read brail but not taught to read brail, in that they feel something as they run over the little pimples Coelho uses for sentences, but they don't have even the slightest clue what they mean). Here's the take away:
(1. be naive) Dream some fantastic dream, sell all your stuff and then give the money away to the first crook you encounter. (The book is a down right insult to anyone who has truly ever followed a dream.) (2. Be unrealistically optimistic) Hope to find work, randomly, in a country were you don't even speak the language, in a country known for it's chronic poverty. (3. Don't educate yourself.) Cross desert. Throw out your books. Start up conversations with the organs in your body. (4. pray to god that you're outrageously lucky.) Find some guy who can turn lead into gold, but doesn't even use the skill, (meaning gold isn't that big a deal, yet gold is the very thing the boy is rewarded with in the end -irony or pandering? You decide.) If the reward was the journey, then why the treasure? Because Ceolhe knows that most people won't buy that, promise them gold, and they'll eat all the horse shit you can feed them. 5.( gamble life on a long shot.) Glean clues from the fauna about pending war, in a time of war, wager life on possible attack. (6. Take love advice from fortune cookie) Fall in love with the first single woman you see who's attractive, before even exchanging words (ask anyone who has used online dating about those odds). (8. Become sorcerer) Talk to Wind. Talk to Sun. Talk to God. (There are people on the streets of most cities in America doing just that, and they sleep in their own urine.) (9. Hope that who'sever hand it is that's writing all this crap, actually likes you, otherwise, the chances of fairing well are impossibly slim.) Reach far flung destination, start digging where your tears fall. Get shit beat out of you. Learn about location of treasure from assailant's unheeded dream. Go get treasure.
Excellent thought experiment: If assailant followed Coelho's advice and followed his dream than the boy would not have any treasure. So, then, maybe it's not about following a dream so much as following it faster than the next guy. Because as is repeated many times in this tale, all things are written by the same hand. Which opens another problem. If assailant pursued his treasure, than boy would have to be assailant, because the one hand writing would need someone to fill that part in Spain. This therefore ultimately leads us to another conundrum. If everyone followed the lead of the hero, then the hero could not succeed. Where then is the wisdom in a tale that relies on the ignorance and violence of others? Or is that the wisdom, that the world is full of ignorance and violence? If so, then who couldn't write this story? Maybe that is what he meant by saying that the most important text is only a few lines that can be written on a single emerald tablet. Those lines are: "The world is full of ignorance and violence. You can't change that, so profit from it."
All the symptoms one needs to see to diagnose the problems we face in this world dealing with each other and our finite resources is evidenced in the popularity of this book. People generally don't know what is good for them. The Alchemist is like bubblegum, the whole world loves it, but can most certainly do without it, and could never survive on it. And while everyone's skipping around chewing on their candy sweet literate and popping little pink bubbles, their intellectual teeth are rotting right out of their heads.(less)