Deep. Real deep. I probably took longer reading this book than any other--one of those that requires a pause every other paragraph to think about the...moreDeep. Real deep. I probably took longer reading this book than any other--one of those that requires a pause every other paragraph to think about the idea.
Honestly, I can't get through the chapter on Father Zossima without getting a little choked up--and I've read it. They say the Grand Inquisitor is the real heart of the book. I'd disagree.
Lots of thoughts on this masterpiece, but not here.(less)
An interesting interpretation and portrayal of good and evil, ignorance and perception, love and revenge. I was amazed by Steinbeck’s ability to conve...moreAn interesting interpretation and portrayal of good and evil, ignorance and perception, love and revenge. I was amazed by Steinbeck’s ability to convey a point using metaphor and descriptive genius. I found myself longing for conversations similar to those had by the story’s characters. Their words had such depth, candor, insight, and truth. I wonder what it might have been like to have had a conversation with Steinbeck, would he have had ability to move the heart and mind like his characters do? Would he perceive the intentions behind the words and thoughts and be able to squeeze them to a head of truth?
After I finished, I laid for a long time in the dark with my face turned to the wall. Despite whatever tendencies of blood that we come into this life with, or lived experiences that turn us in one direction or another, we have no excuse for acting the evil part. We are not preconditioned to fail or succeed. We have the privilege and promise that we can choose for ourselves; we are agents unto ourselves—the kings and queens of a world of future experience.
We are not perfect; we are all bad. Life can be nasty, brutal and short or it can be rich, bright, and lasting. We are the agents, but we cannot expect perfection from ourselves. As soon as we do, we should also expect disappointment, anger, and self-loathing. The worst of it comes when we are unable to accept our own streaks of darkness. The shadows are created by light and we have the potential for greatness—always. What makes people choose goodness or darkness? When we have such brilliance in us, why do we choose to shroud it with secret acts of deception?
Can any good come of the lust for power, money, and sated desire, when what we really want is to be loved? Why is it that when this love is denied we can seethe with hatred and seek revenge? If we can’t have the goodness we seek in love, why do we often fill the void with darkness instead of warm empathetic understanding? How strange that we willingly choose to rot; to live lives of sorrow when golden goodness is free for the taking.
What is it in us that enjoys nursing pain? We choose to believe that we are unique in our filth or sadness. We are alone, we are victims, we are misunderstood. Why do we find pleasure in nurturing this gloom? Maybe it is necessary to fully appreciate our moments of goodness and triumph; we close our eyes and savor the melting of bitter chocolate so to retain in memory the contrast of wild strawberries.
Maybe it is easier to wallow in our fallen state than to meet the pressure of perfection. To believe that we are noble is to expect nothing less than greatness in ourselves. Yet it is only by believing in our promise that fallen hopes can emerge; we can only conceive of our depravity by realizing our potentiality. Maybe the greatest among us are also those with the darkest moments of self-loathing.
I am grateful for the moments of despair, of sorrow, of self-judgment and condemnation. I am also grateful for the moments of clarity when I can raise my face contented towards the sky and love everything that is in me—appreciating all that I am and each of the experiences that have helped me arrive.
Many more thoughts about this book that crept up through the reading. I resonated with Tom and empathized with his passion—grateful that I have it in much smaller measure, or have learned to contain it over the years. I felt sorrow for his character and the many artists, dreamers, creators, inventors, and believers over history that have thrown themselves without reserve into the human condition—only to lose their lives and sanity in the process. I envy Samuel’s wisdom, humor, creativity, vitality, and reach. I respect Cal’s humanity and struggle, and Lee’s quiet dignity and strength. (less)
I spent a most of the day reading The Little Prince. Got me thinking about some questions that I haven’t asked for a long time. Definitely a touching...moreI spent a most of the day reading The Little Prince. Got me thinking about some questions that I haven’t asked for a long time. Definitely a touching read, considering my recent partings with people that I’ve appreciated, loved, and miss—hits a bit close to home. I believe, but am cynical of, his central message. Probably because I both love and hate attachments.
At times I long for crushes, connections, and dare I say…relationships! because they give greater meaning and excitement to the the mundane; daily routines take on substance and tasks lose their emptiness. At other times, I despise them because the relationships and all the associated emotions overflow and run beyond my control.
For me, part of that preparation is recognizing the coming tsunami, and running in-land whenever the hales start blowing a bit stronger than usual. It never fails. And there’s a comfort that’s hard to break out of. I’d invest a bit more effort, but I’m not convinced that getting out of the zone is worth it.
The book is super french!! What is it with these people? The whole bunch of them write stories permeated with existential questions or messages—some are convinced, others confused, others completely nihlistic. I respect the hopeful humanists among them, ones like Antoine that can assert that life is meaningful because of people; if we fail to live for others we forfeit that meaning. Even more so, one is enough; that rose somewhere out there on a distant planet is enough to infuse life with meaning, beauty and substance—especially considering the fact that the blasted flower was a narcissistic mythomaniac! I did appreciate that he loved her despite it all; that he didn’t appreciate it until he was gone, that he recognized this, and that he returned—that’s fabulous. I don’t think it happens that often though—more typically we keep harboring the faults until we become unattached, often so much that it’s not long before we’re acutally repulsed by the thought of the other person, embittered. Good for psychological defense I suppose—but not too great for our humanity, or true “sanity”, as we stop seeing things for what they really are; warped glass enlighting a warped reality.
Could one ever be enough? I don’t know. Not sure that it has to be though. Events and objects may have greater meaning because they are attached to a person, a relationship, a memory of some interpersonal goodness. But there’s an armful of people that I’m grateful for knowing, for loving, and for creating meaningful interactions and memories. So what/who am I living for? Who gives your life meaning? Or is it a what? Who do you act for? Study for? What drives your ambitions? Some vague and fuzzy future of a “somebody” or is there an inherent drive that would be there regardless? Is it possible to live for yourself? And have any meaning in that? What of the king and the lamplighter? I wouldn’t want to be the ones to clue them in that their lives are meaningless. This is an area that I’m not sure I agree with in the book. I support and respect Antoine’s direction. But everyone seeks meaning in their lives, they have to.(less)
Not quite sure how I feel about this one. Pretty hit and miss. Some chapters were genius, others bland. It probably would have meant more to me 10 yea...moreNot quite sure how I feel about this one. Pretty hit and miss. Some chapters were genius, others bland. It probably would have meant more to me 10 years ago, as it's coming-of-ageish, but still touches on a lot of universal themes that make it worth the read. A bit cliche and not realy clear character development--quite a few unrealistic conversations and actions. Overall, no regrets on the read, but not life-altering either.(less)
Just finished reading this winner again tonight for no less than the tenth time. Gripping adventure--a man (actually a fox) looking out for his family...moreJust finished reading this winner again tonight for no less than the tenth time. Gripping adventure--a man (actually a fox) looking out for his family and friends, outfoxing Boggis, Bunce, and Bean; "one fat, one short, one lean". The hero ends up being the village saviour and all toasts go to their "fantastic Mr. Fox". Maybe deep down there's a hidden fantasty somewhere there?
In the words of Mr Fox, " 'I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.' As he let fly another collossal belch. 'Better out than in,' said Badger." Amen says I!
One of my favorites as a kid, and still keeps me dreaming.(less)