This book is fascinating. It is like watching a train wreck that never ends.
Leave it to a man with an ego as large as the great outdoors to write a b...moreThis book is fascinating. It is like watching a train wreck that never ends.
Leave it to a man with an ego as large as the great outdoors to write a book about The Will being the fundamental object in creation.
In the process of developing his view he began by telling the reader not to bother reading his book if the reader is not prepared to read both volumes twice, along with his doctoral thesis, and the works of Kant and of Plato. That was the minimum reading list. He would also like for the reader to be familiar with Berkley, Locke, Spinoza, and to have read Asian religious texts such as "The Dhamba", "The Vedas", and "The Upanishads".
This book is a dense read. Why do I keep reading it? This sort of thing fascinates me. I like to find a truly different and well developed world view like this and dive in just to see how the person could believe what they did.
(view spoiler)[In a nut-shell: The universe consists of God and the physical universe. We have no organ for experiencing God directly. Information about God comes to us through revelation. He repeatedly tells us that his philosophy does not support a theology.
The primary ontological structure of everything, both living and inanimate, of the physical universe is the Thing-in-Itself. The Thing-in-Itself is The Will which is not self-aware nor does it have a plan. It simply attempts to actualize itself in any way possible. The way it does it is via. Representation as objects making up the physical world and universe. Since everything comes from this self-actualizing and grasping "Will" all things have the quality of aggressive striving for self-interest in whatever form the things are able to assert or promote their own being, even at the expense of other things.
Schopenhauer admires Plato and Kant. However, he spends the last section of the book pistol-whipping Kant. (hide spoiler)]
I would recommend this book to a patient reader, who can endure the repeated lambasting of professional philosophers and complaints of being neglected as a literary figure, interested in a unique vision of the existence of the universe that looks like a Western European version of Asian thought. It is also worthwhile as a critique of Kant.
I enjoyed watching this ontological philosophy unfurl to uncover everything. Or, maybe I just like watching wrecks that never seem to end.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I have a weakness for time travel books. This one particularly stretches all of the right places when it comes to reading satisfaction. Just finished...moreI have a weakness for time travel books. This one particularly stretches all of the right places when it comes to reading satisfaction. Just finished reading it for the third time.(less)
Have just completed "Jerusalem", "Milton", "The book of Thel" the prophetic books. I've been reading and returning to Blake since the mid-1980s and co...moreHave just completed "Jerusalem", "Milton", "The book of Thel" the prophetic books. I've been reading and returning to Blake since the mid-1980s and collect prints of the facsimiles when I can get them. This is my first time to get through the books mentioned above.
They remind me a lot of Tolkien's project. Blake and Tolkien both where English men who created their own mythologies about England. Both were religious. Both made paintings of their imaginative worlds.
The difference is that Tolkien was a practicing Catholic, who was not messing with the doctrines of his faith. Blake was kind of scary. He is highly critical of the deism of his time. He states that forgiveness is the primary characteristic of a person who follows Jesus. He was critical of a society that trammels over the well-being of the weak for industry and profit.
What makes him scary? It is difficult to understand what he is attempting to do with his portraits of the giants that comprise Albion (Britain). I am still not certain if his portrait of Satan is supposed to be a necessary and therefore good force that is a part of the dualism of reality, or if he actually is evil. Whatever he is saying I wouldn't want those words to have come from me.
The character of Satan is a master of extreme heat and cold, very much like Tolkien's Morgoth. They both stir things up in much the way way against the work of the rest of the gods.
Also, striking to me is that Blake uses the word Ork to discribe one of his characters, the only other place I have seen this is in Tolkien's Orc.
I'm not suggesting an influence. I have know idea what influenced Tolkien. I am merely pointing out that these two writers (both poets) achieved bodies of writing that did many of the same things.
Tolkien was able to craft his mythology into complete story and novelistic presentations as we see in the "Silmarillion" and "The Lord of the Rings". Ultimately, the two writers developed in different ways. I, at least enjoy seeing the products of each writer to see how they use the medium of myth creation to explore the world of their times and to critic and respond to the world.(less)
I began seeking out the illuminated books of William Blake almost as soon as I was introduced to his poetry around 1983 or 1984. I like the illustrati...moreI began seeking out the illuminated books of William Blake almost as soon as I was introduced to his poetry around 1983 or 1984. I like the illustrations almost as much as I like the poetry.
Blake had a rich poetic palette to work with. He used dialectical dualism in the structure of "The Songs of Innocence and Experience" and in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell." That alone delivered an interesting set of ideas to think about. He had visions that were important to his work and added depth to his vision.
He also had his own mythology that developed throughout his writing career that seemed to be similar in purpose to the desire of Tolkien to create a mythology for England. Blake's mythology for England is quite different from Tolkien's, for one thing Blake is less subtle about religion. Also, today Blake would have been a hard core socialist or communist. He condemns industrialism and speaks for the poor and weak.
Blake was a printer by trade. He invented a process in which three colors could be printed onto the page mechanically. For his illuminated books he would then water color the rest of what needed to be added by hand.
What do I like about William Blake? He was a visionary. It doesn't matter to me if I believe anything that he expresses. I admire a person who has seen something and developed it into a coherent body of art.
There are icons in his illuminated books that are so simple that an untrained person could do something similar and then on the same page or in a Bible illustration he would create something that requires the craft of a great artist. It always struck me as odd that both would be included. I also wonder what the purpose of that weird blend of simple and sophisticated was intended to do.
His illuminated books have what appears to be hand-written text interrupted or punctuated with the small icons and then decorated with illustrations reminds me of flyers I saw during the 1990s left around the University. The person who made the photocopied flyers wrote pages of diatribe in perfectly square and neat hand-writing on blank paper. The diatribes warned against the actions of the "RoboCop" who was acting on behalf of large corporations to keep the populous under control. The writer claimed antennas where sending mind-control messages into the population. There was also something about a berm that used to be north of town. All of this fit our town into a larger world of conspiracy. Small icons worked into the text of the diatribe, small diagrams of antennas and airplanes, and sometimes the logos of the offending corporations, what ever was being described in the text. Each diatribe would end with a list of contact numbers where a person could report information if they saw the RoboCop in our area. The one that always struck me was a phone number to the Oklahoma City stockyards. This part of the list claimed they had a publication providing information and gave a citation #.
When this person was active I ran across a couple of these diatribes. They were fascinating. When the police asked for them I turned them in without making copies. A policeman later told me that they identified the author, interviewed her extensively and determined that she was harmless.
I think of this incident every time I look at the illuminated work of William Blake. (less)
Rereading this book has improved my appreciation of it. It is a lot like Ubik only not quite as good. The first time I read it I got lost at some poin...moreRereading this book has improved my appreciation of it. It is a lot like Ubik only not quite as good. The first time I read it I got lost at some point after our hero was shot with an LSD tipped dart. I began to think PKD was just making filler in order to resell it as a full length novel. But with patience the reader will find that the extended LSD trip is integrated into the rest of the story.(less)
I had been avoiding it since it came out in 1977. I always really wished Tolkien had written more. But, I coul...moreI have read this book at least 6 times.
I had been avoiding it since it came out in 1977. I always really wished Tolkien had written more. But, I could not get into this particular book.
About 15 or 10 years ago I started reading Tolkien criticism. Particularly Verlyn Flieger's "Splintered Light" and John Garth's "Tolkien and the Great War" which warmed me to "The Silmarillion".
About 6 years ago I listened to "The Silmarillion" as an audio book while I was working on a long stained-glass project. I listen to books that I am interested in but know I will never get around to reading when I work on glass. It gives my mind something to do while I am working with my hands, I chose books that I don't mind if I space out occasionally while listening to them because I am only interested in finding out what they are about, not in absorbing them with any depth.
The narrator was a classically trained Scottish actor. First, his performance took away that discomfort I felt about the question of how names were supposed to be pronounced. But more important, I found that I could appreciate the book when presented orally. It makes sense because Tolkien was a poet and his work was designed to mimic histories from another time. The history he wrote would have been shared via. oral singing.
So, I was won over. Before the first 100 pages were done I had stopped working on the glass and just sat in my garage listening to this beautiful presentation. As soon as possible I bought a copy of the book and read while listening. When that was done I turned the library's copy in and immediately read the book again.
As I wrote at the beginning of this review I have read "The Silmarillion" about 6 times to date. During that time I read Verlyn Flieger's "Interrupted Music" which turned me on to the mythology in "The History of Middle Earth". I have read through to the volume that describes the writing of "LOTR". I love these books and will probably reread them as often as it is possible to do among my other interests.(less)
Have just reread Heaney's translation of the wonderful old classic. Following is my previous review:
I am a fan of "Beowulf". I also believe there is a...moreHave just reread Heaney's translation of the wonderful old classic. Following is my previous review:
I am a fan of "Beowulf". I also believe there is a difference between what we think of as the action of the poem and what actually occurs. The following description of the epic "Beowulf" emphasizes that odd characteristic of this piece of world literature.
(view spoiler)[The narrator began his praise of the hero Beowulf by describing how great and beloved his father was. The story opened at the father's funeral where many trophies of his deeds and evidence of his wealth and power were displayed in the service.
Once the funeral was over there was a leadership opening among Beowulf's disheartened people. The young scion's first action was to outfit a crew to go to resolve a thing he heard a rumor about from a neighboring country.
The issue, in the other country, was that King Hrothgar celebrated his achievements by engaging in conspicuous consumption. He built the largest, most opulent mead hall that anyone had ever seen or heard of and had loud parties every night. This stirred the anger of --descendent of Cain-- the monster Grendel, into showing up at the parties and eating the guests.
Maybe Hrothgar was entitled to be inconsiderate toward his neighbor, but if he had just taken the hint when the trouble first started a lot of his own men would have been spared.
Of course, have mead hall, will party, so they partied on.
More warriors were devoured by the party crasher, and despite the fact that the hall was built to celebrate King Hrothgar's prowess it is also a fact that King Hrothgar needed a hero.
Enter Beowulf. He stiff-armed Grendel and that part of the story was over pretty quickly, which is odd because the villain we hear about is Grendel. The action that covers hundreds of lines is between Beowulf and Grendel's mother. She retrieved Grendel's arm and it took Beowulf 3 days to catch the craggy old she. He followed her into her lair and killed her with a blade he found in her home. This was not the most noble event in the history of chivalry, but Hrothgar rewarded Beowulf and sent him on his way.
Fifty years pass. Presumably Beowulf has had a successful reign. A dragon threatens his people and he is happy to go down in glory to protect them. All of that is well and good, but what about his fifty year reign? We don't get a single story from all of those years about the hero who is worthy of an epic song to celebrate him. That absence is as odd as the other underwhelming events previously described.
Don't get me wrong, I do get it. The narrator opened with a description of the funeral of the father in order to show that Beowulf is of noble linage. The young scion's first act as heir apparent is to take on a monster in another country to demonstrate that he is worthy to follow in his father's footsteps. And, in the end he gets a fabulous funeral, which is an expression of how much his people loved him. So, he must have done something notable during those fifty years. Still, it didn't make it into the celebration of his deeds. (hide spoiler)]
Tolkien single-handedly revived the ailing discipline of medieval studies with his inaugural address of one of his academic chairs. In the address he calls upon scholars to stop treating "Beowulf" and other medieval poetry as a dig to uncover artifacts of the past, and to start reading the texts as poems. That change in approach to the literature and the pleasure generations have gotten from Tolkien's popular writings have both contributed to our contemporary appreciation of "Beowulf".
While it is true that I have described the action of "Beowulf" in a less than reverent way I do enjoy the poem, and I also wonder why it was written the way it was.
Today we have the benefit of being able to enjoyment Heaney's beautiful translation of "Beowulf" into modern English. My guess is that he could tell us a great deal about why that poem has the story telling values that it has. Among its many virtues, his translation gives the reader the opportunity to experience something like the literature of another time with all of its monstrous and dragony glory.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It amazes me to think that this book went essentially unread during Melville's life, after he had already experienced literary celebrity for earlier w...moreIt amazes me to think that this book went essentially unread during Melville's life, after he had already experienced literary celebrity for earlier works. It ought to have been the achievement to keep him warm and cared for during the remaining 35 years of his life. Instead, he went uncelebrated and nearly drank himself into insanity.
Moby-Dick had to be rediscovered during the first couple of decades of the 1900s.
The book has an odd structure. Melville alternated chapters containing information about whaling, with chapters telling the story. The point was that whaling is a universe of its own. He introduces the reader to that place as a universe while describing an event that occurred in it.
It takes a while for our hero Ishmael and his friend Queequeg to get aboard the ship. The long introduction gives the reader the sites and smells and cold of a whaler looking for a berth. It introduces us to characters who say odd things. All of these are great for the repeat reader, puzzling to the newbie.
Also, the hero and narrator is an outsider reporting what he saw during a voyage. It is not the story of what he did so much as him being a really good fly on the wall. Ishmael had been on merchant voyages before but never on a whaler. His friend Queequeg was a highly skilled harpooner, as were most of the rest of the crew. The captain, obviously, was also an old hand at whaling and invested in the world. I have to wonder if the passive and uninvested voice of the narrator contributed to its lack of success. We are taught to engage the reader by engaging the characters. The reader has always expected an ocean going story teller to relate his actions in pursuit of whatever his goal is, not to tell us about a really weird thing that he saw when he was working on a boat.
But, it is a weird story about characters who are larger than life who have pitted themselves against a creature with other-worldly qualities along with its monstrous bulk, intelligence and intention. The story has the qualities of an episode of the X-files at times.
Regardless of the publishing failure of Moby-Dick during its first 50 plus years we recognize it as the beginning of greatness in American letters. It is arguably even the greatest American novel ever written. This book should be read by anyone with the patience to brave the depths, to risk being left floating aloft, but if you preserver the reward is magnificent. (less)
This book is a lot of fun. It is the first of (at present)two volumes on the history of what he calls UFOs and the National Security State. Dolan stud...moreThis book is a lot of fun. It is the first of (at present)two volumes on the history of what he calls UFOs and the National Security State. Dolan studied cold war history. The interesting thing about his two books is that they focus, not just upon UFO events, but upon the U.S. government's suppressive reaction to those events.
He has anecdote after anecdote from the files of UFO organizations describing events and the US government's misdeeds. He does appear to have tried to be as complete as possible in the 1,000 pages the two books make up.
In the end, I find Leslie Kean's book on the same subject to be more fun to read and more convincing, of the two.(less)
This is a fine follow up to Dolan's first volume of "UFOs and the National Security State" 1. I think he learned a lot from writing the first book. Th...moreThis is a fine follow up to Dolan's first volume of "UFOs and the National Security State" 1. I think he learned a lot from writing the first book. The writing style for 2 is less compressed than in the first volume. He takes time for more discussion. He is still capturing as much of the phenomenon as he can for completeness.
FYI. I intentionally, ILLed the first edition of his first volume and read it before reading the second edition of that title that I had purchased. There wasn't that much wrong with the first edition. He put out the second edition to make corrections he had been criticized for, he sharpened some discussions and added more material. It is a better book for it.
That guy Dolan just keeps getting better and better.(less)
Dolan does a great job of imagining the down-stream-effects of what will happen in the world following 'After Disclosure'. I particularly enjoyed the...moreDolan does a great job of imagining the down-stream-effects of what will happen in the world following 'After Disclosure'. I particularly enjoyed the section about UFOs and law suits.(less)
I have just finished reading both titles in this hideous volume that I bought through Amazon books titled "On the Fourfold Root of he Principle of Suf...moreI have just finished reading both titles in this hideous volume that I bought through Amazon books titled "On the Fourfold Root of he Principle of Sufficient Reason" by Arthur Schopenhauer. I call it hideous because the printing standards are low. The publisher is such a nonentity that they don't have a webpage. The publisher hasn't even taken credit for their work anywhere on the book. It is just listed as Davies Press in the Amazon description. These are odd behaviors for any business wanting more business.
I am convinced that someone owns one of those print on demand machines that some libraries have. They have taken a file in which someone has scanned the book with the settings for 300 DPI and black and white and just printed it without looking at what they had. The letters of the words are often splotchy or missing so that I have had to halt my reading to figure out what many of the words were supposed to be. This happened often enough that it diminished the pleasure of reading the book.
Also, the second title in the volume is not mentioned on the cover or the title page. Nor is it mentioned in the Amazon description. I get the feeling that the publisher had no idea what their product was. Also, as I got into the second title there were places that looked like copies of hand drawn underlinings of words from a library book. I haven't contacted Amazon because I have had the book for a few months. My experience with the product just kept getting worse and worse the further in I got. Yuck.
About the first title "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason" by Arthur Schopenhauer, which comprises the first 189 pages of this truly hideous edition. It is the 1855 revised 3rd edition of his Doctoral Thesis from the 1815. I read this book because the author tells us to in the introduction to his principle work "The World as Will and Representation". In the introduction of his principle work he tells the reader not to even bother with reading the book if we are not willing to do the following: 1) Read both volumes of "The World as Will and Representation" twice. 2) Before starting with that the reader is to have already read his "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason". 3) The reader is required to be familiar with the works of Kant and Plato. According to him these are the minimum requisites for the reader to have any hope of understanding his philosophy at all. Of course, there are other things he recommends the reader to have read ahead of time as well, but the above are the minimum requirements. He also wrote that he did not care if any individual reader became confused or frustrated or didn't like his writing because he didn't write for individual readers, instead he wrote for the ages. He was confident his readers would find him throughout the ages.
What a cute little old poop.
I finished reading "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason" march 8th. It is a difficult volume. I immediately reread the book because the first reading became more a matter of getting my bearings within the work than an actual reading of the first 80 pages. I completed rereading the entire thing 4 days later on March 12.
I would recommend this book to someone with an interest in New Age philosophy. (view spoiler)[ 1) Schopenhauer's big idea was that all things, both animate and inanimate have a Will. The Will is the primary aspect of existence for any thing. He calls it the 'thing in itself'. The Will of each thing competes to be sensed as a representation in the world at the expense of the Will of other things also desiring to be represented as part of the World.
2) The only difference between the Will of humans and of other animals is that other animals have a lesser experience because they are not capable of abstract thought. They live in an eternal present because they have no concept of time or causality.
3) The book describes the correct beginnings of the ancient philosophers and how subsequent thinkers have gotten some things right but have mostly taken wrong steps in their attempts to understand the world. Schopenhauer describes the four aspects of reality and of mental viewing necessary for knowing a thing in the world. (hide spoiler)]
"On The Will in Nature" begins on p. 190 and runs through to p. 380 of As of today I have read the entire volume. That means I have read "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason" Twice in the past few weeks and "On The Will in Nature" once.
The first 15 pages are bluster from the author. (view spoiler)[Then he discusses what he means by an inanimate or animate thing having a will. He sees the human soul as a secondary entity within humans. The Will is the primary structure of our being. Then the intellect and the soul are at least two parts of a poly-existent entity.
Schopenhauer discusses the nature of the existence of plant life in a chapter of its own. Of great interest is a chapter he calls animal magnetism. In "On the Fourfold Root..." he is quite clear that there is no organ of our bodies that allow us to sense or have a relationship with God. For this reason, he says, his philosophy cannot be the foundation of a theology. Yet, his chapter on animal magnetism describes how the Will of a person can effect the Will of weaker persons, lower animals, or inanimate things, producing the effect we describe as magic.
The following chapter called 'sinology' discusses how his thoughts are described in the Buddhist and Hindu religions, though he was not aware of the beliefs of those religions when he wrote his first book. He sees this and many other scientific studies of the early to mid-1800s as confirmations of his philosophy. I had warmed to Schopenhauer as I reread "On the Fourfold Root...". However, he gave me a bad taste the more he discussed Buddhist and Hindu religions. by the end of "On the Will and Nature" I was back to thinking of him as a maniacal jackass. But he is an interesting enough jackass that I intend to finish reading "The World as Will and Representation". I am currently up to page 300 of volume 1. (hide spoiler)]
The reason I have been looking at Schopenhauer is because I listened to an audio book on "Life After Death" by Dinesh D'Souza last year and he said some intriguing things about Schopenhauer's philosophy. He (Schopenhauer) posed the possibility that our individual identities are an illusion and that in reality we are one person. If that were true then it gives a new meaning to Christ's injunction to love your neighbor as yourself. I found it to be an intriguing enough idea to look at Schopenhauer myself. After all, if D'Souza's interpretation of Schopenhauer is correct then "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" suddenly has a new force to it. It makes sense that we would be created so that our decisions to harm others is actually directly harming oneself, even if we don't realize that that is what is happening. The idea has the bizarre logic to it that I have come to expect from spiritual teachings.
In the end I wanted to see if Schopenhauer wrote what D'Souza said that he wrote. Last Summer I happened upon an inexpensive Dover set of "The World as Will and Representation" at a used bookstore. I snapped at the opportunity to satisfy my curiosity. The past few months have been slow reading as I tried to get through "On the Fourfold Root..." the first time. In Dec. my mother-in-law gave me a copy of "The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick" as a Christmas present. As it turns out PKD was a Schopenhauer fan. As I complete Schopenhauer's two titles in the hideous volume I can see the influence.
For me reading Schopehauer is worth the time and effort.
I really did like this book. It would fit comfortably on the shelf between a set of X-Files DVDs and the work of Wayne Dyer. Like with the work of Dye...moreI really did like this book. It would fit comfortably on the shelf between a set of X-Files DVDs and the work of Wayne Dyer. Like with the work of Dyer, I am always interested in what the book has to say. I believe a good deal of what it has to say. But, there is a point to which I feel like my leg is being pulled.(less)
At the very least this is an interesting piece of rhetoric. I would tend to agree with a lot over her conclusions, but I'm not convinced by how she ge...moreAt the very least this is an interesting piece of rhetoric. I would tend to agree with a lot over her conclusions, but I'm not convinced by how she gets there. And like with Wayne Dyer there reaches a point where she goes too far.
And this is an evaluation of a book I really liked.(less)