Recognizing Pyotr Ivanovich, Praskovya Fyodorovna sighed, went right up to him, took his hand, and said: “I kno...more**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
Recognizing Pyotr Ivanovich, Praskovya Fyodorovna sighed, went right up to him, took his hand, and said: “I know you were a true friend Ivan Ilyich’s . . .” and looked at him, awaiting a fitting response. Pyotr Ivanovich knew that just as he had to cross himself in there, here he had to press her hand, sigh, and say: “I assure you!” And so he did. And having done so felt he had achieved the desired effect: he was touched and so was she. (p.41).
“Three days of terrible suffering and death. Why, the same thing could happen to me at anytime now,” he thought and for a moment felt panic-stricken. But at once, he himself did not know how, he was rescued by the customary reflection that all this had happened to Ivan Ilyich, not to him, that it could not and should not happen to him; and that if he were to grant such a possibility, he would succumb to depression which, as Schwartz’s expression had made abundantly clear, he ought not to do. With this line of reasoning Pyotr Ivanovich set his mind at rest and began to press for details about Ivan Ilyich’s death, as though death were a chance experience that could happen only to Ivan Ilyich, never to himself. (p. 44).
Ivan Ilyich immediately made his life in the provinces as easy and pleasant as it had been at law school. He worked, saw to his career, and at the same time, engaged in proper and pleasant forms of diversion. . . . In the provinces he had an affair with one of the ladies who threw themselves at the chic young lawyer; there was also a milliner: there were drinking bouts with visiting aides-de-camp and after-supper trips to a certain street on the outskirts of town; there were also attempts to curry favor with his chief and even with his chief’s wife. But all this had such a heightened air of respectability that nothing bad could be said about it. It could all be summed up by the French saying; “Il faut que jeunesse se passé.” It was all done with clean hands, in clean shirts, and with French phrases, and, most importantly, among people of the best society – consequently, with the approval of those in high rank. (p.52).
But few people had been directly under his control then – only the district police officers and religious sectarians he encountered when sent out on special commissions. And he loved to treat these people courteously, almost as comrades, loved to make them feel that he who had the power to crush them was dealing with them in such a friendly, unpretentious manner. But there had been few such people. Now, as an examining magistrate, Ivan Ilyich felt that all, without exception – including the most important and self-satisfied people – all were in his power, and that he had only to write certain words on a sheet of paper with an official heading and this or that important, self-satisfied person would be brought to him as a defendant or a witness, and if Ivan Ilyich did not choose to have him sit, he would be forced to stand and answer his questions. Ivan Ilyich never abused his power; on the contrary, he tried to exercise it leniently,; but the awareness of that power and the opportunity to be lenient constituted the chief interest and appeal of his new post. (p.53).
And Ivan Ilyich developed such an attitude. Of married life he demanded only the conveniences it could provide – dinners at home, a well-run household, a partner in bed, and, above all, a veneer of respectability which public opinion required. As for the rest, he tried to find enjoyment in family life, and, if he succeeded, was very grateful; but if he met with resistance and querulousness, he immediately withdrew into his separate, entrenched world of work and found pleasure there. (p.58).
The whole procedure was just what he expected, just what one always encounters. There was the waiting, the doctor’s exaggerated air of importance (so familiar to him since it was the very air he assumed in court), the tapping, the listening, the questions requiring answers that were clearly superfluous since they were foregone conclusions, and the significant look that implied: “Just put yourself in our hands and we’ll take care of everything; we know exactly what has to be done – we always use one and the same method for every patient, no matter who.” Everything was just as it was in court. The celebrated doctor dealt with him in precisely the manner he dealt with men on trial. (p.75).
Ivan Ilyich saw that he was dying, and he was in a constant state of despair. In the depth of his heart he knew he was dying, but not only was he unaccustomed to such an idea, he simply could not grasp it, could not grasp it at all. The syllogism he had learned from Kiesewetter’s logic – “Caius is a man, men are mortal, therefore Caius is mortal” – had always seemed to him correct as applied to Caius, but by no means to himself. That man Caius represented man in the abstract, and so the reasoning was perfectly sound; but he was not Caius, not an abstract man; he had always been a creature quite, quite distinct from all the others. He had been little Vanya with a mama and a papa, with Mitya and Volodya, with toys, a coachman, and a nurse, and later with Katenka – Vanya, with all the joys, sorrows, and enthusiasms of his childhood, boyhood, and youth. Had Caius ever know the smell of that little striped leather ball Vanya had loved so much? Had Caius ever kissed his mother’s hand so dearly, and had the silk folds of her dress ever rustled so for him? Had Caius ever rioted at school when the pastries were bad? Had he ever been so much in love? Or presided so well over a court session? Caius really was mortal, and it was only right that he should die, but for him, Vanya, Ivan Ilyich, with all his thoughts and feelings, it was something else again. And it simply was not possible that he should have to die. That would be too terrible. (p.93-94).
Ivan Ilyich suffered most of all from the lie, the lie which, for some reason, everyone accepted: that he was not dying but was simply ill, and that if he stayed calm and underwent treatment he could expect good results. Yet he knew that regardless of what was done, all he could expect was more agonizing suffering and death. And he was tortured by this lie, tortured by the fact that they refused to acknowledge what he and everyone else knew, that they wanted to lie about his horrible condition and to force him to become a party to that lie. This lie, a lie perpetrated on the eve of his death, a lie that was bound to degrade the awesome, solemn act of his dying to the level of their social calls, their draperies, and the sturgeon they ate for dinner, was an excruciating torture for Ivan Ilyich. (p.102-103).
“We all have to die someday, so why shoudn’t I help you?” By this he meant that he did not find his work a burden because he was doing it for a dying man, and he hoped that someone would do the same for him when his time came. (p.104).
Nothing did so much to poison the last days of Ivan Ilyich’s life as this falseness in himself and in those around him. (p.105). (less)
The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of happiness. In misery we seem aware of our own exist...moreMy favorite quotes from the book:
The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of happiness. In misery we seem aware of our own existence, even though it may be in the form of a monstrous egotism - this pain of mine is individual, this nerve that winces belongs to me and to no other. But happiness annihilates us; we lose our identity. p.37
I went back home and again tried to settle to my book. Always I find when I begin to write there is one character who obstinately will not come alive. There is nothing psychologically false about him, but he sticks, he has to be pushed around, words have to be found for him, all the technical skill I have acquired through the laborious years has to be employed in making him appear alive to my readers. Sometimes I get a sour satisfaction when a reviewer praises him as the best-drawn character in the story; if he has not been drawn he has certainly been dragged. He lies heavily on my mind whenever I start to work, like an ill-digested meal on the stomach, robbing me of the pleasure of creation in any scene where he is present. He never does the unexpected thing, he never surprises me, he never takes charger. Every other character helps, he only hinders. p.161
I sat on my bed and said to God, You've taken her but You haven't got me yet. I know Your cunning. It's You who take us up to a high place and offer use the whole universe. You're a devil, God, tempting us to leap. But I don't want Your peace and I don't want Your love. I wanted something very simple and very easy: I wanted Sarah for a lifetime, and You took her away. With Your great schemes You ruin our happiness as a harvester ruins a mouse's next. I hate You, God, I hate You as though You exited. p.166(less)
**spoiler alert** MY SUMMARY AND NOTES: Wolters begins with explaining what a worldview is and why it is important. For Christians, he explains, world...more**spoiler alert** MY SUMMARY AND NOTES: Wolters begins with explaining what a worldview is and why it is important. For Christians, he explains, worldview is defined by Scripture and the instructions it gives. Importantly, he argues that our worldview encompasses all aspects of our life, not just our theological principles or worship practices. This means that in the Reformational worldview regards redemption through Christ as the restoration of the original creation. So the whole point of salvation is to salvage a sin-disrupted creation. He organizes the book based on the categories of Creation, Sin, and Redemption (restoration)
*** God governs His universe through two kinds of laws, laws of nature and norms. Although the natural laws are obvious (and available for study), the laws associated with norms are less clear because a norm like “Be just” could be carried out in many different ways. Nevertheless, the author argues that part of seeking “re-creation” is to try to discover the “norms” that God set out in his original creation. The author argues that the “knowability” of creation is often accepted in the natural sciences, but met with skepticism when it is applied to the social sciences and humanities. While many Christians argue that this kind of “spiritual discernment” of original creation is not possible, the Reformed perspective is that God’s revelatory power allows this. The author argues evidence for this comes from Paul’s words in Colossians that ask us to pray to God for Him to fill us with the knowledge of His will”. This pertains not only to personal decisions, etc. in life, but also everything from journalism and artistic aesthetics. –So which is the right way? Wolters sometimes seems to argue that this is wholly discernible by Christians (i.e., there is one “right way” of carrying out God’s will for His creation in these disciplines. This approach seems fraught with the danger of divisiveness given the inevitable disagreements among Christians on what constitutes a "re-created" perspective in a particular discipline.
***Wolters points out that the creation of the world was only the beginning, and it must be further developed by Christians according to God’s word and will. Sin does not annihilate the normative development of civilization, but rather, sin is like a parasite that tries to undo and deform that development. In fact, the author argues that when Christ comes and the earth is “remade”, it will still include the transfigured and transformed cultural arts of this world, just as our bodies, although glorified and remade will still be our bodies. Thus, creation, apart from sin, is wholly good.
***The fall touched all of creation, not just human nature. In fields such as the arts, you can see this perversion of creation through things like kitsch and bad taste in general in painting, poetry, music, etc. This means that we can define what is “normal” vs. what is “abnormal” according to God’s intentions with His creation.
***He articulates the distinction between “structure” and “direction” of creation. Structure refers to the order of creation, or what makes a thing the entity that it is (i.e., essence). Direction, on the other hand, designates the degree of distortion or restoration of everything from people to objects to movements. In other words, this means classifying God’s creation and established norms as either being obedient to him or disobedient. If they still conform to God’s design, they are being obedient, but if they move against His design it is thought of as disobedience. Importantly, structure is never entirely obliterated by direction.
***Defining common grace: Through God’s goodness to believers and unbelievers alike, God’s faithfulness to creation still bears fruit in humankind’s personal, society, and cultural lives. This differs from “special grace” where sin is not only curbed, but atoned and forgiven. It can also be thought of as “conserving grace”.
***Wolters carefully defines “world” as it is used in Scripture. Specifically, when it says “we are not of this world” it is referring to the sin-infested aspects of creation, not the original creation God made or certain disciplines that are often thought of as secular such as politics, sports, business, etc. Thus, we should never abandon these fields to the secular world.
***The restoration chapter makes the basic point that through Christ’s resurrection, He has atoned for his entire creation, therefore it can remove all of sin’s effects in every domain. Thus, the new redeemed humanity is called to bring renewal to all of His creation. Wolters argues that Jesus ministry on earth demonstrated this kind of restoration through His miracles.
***He contrasts this view of God’s kingdom in this world with other views. Pietism restricts the kingdom of God to the life of the inner soul. Some traditions restrict the kingdom of God to the institutional church. For these people, only the clergy are engaged in full-time “kingdom work”. Dispensationalists only think of the kingdom of God in the future, as in, the kingdom is coming soon with the end of the world (millennialism). Classic liberal Protestantism associates any progressive policy or movement as part of God’s kingdom (social gospel). Liberation theology is similar, only it is more specific to kinds of political movements that are supposed to be consistent with God’s kingdom.
***He distinguishes the terms “sanctified” from “consecrated”; sanctify means to make free from sin, or internal renewal, while consecrate means to set apart or dedicate for the worship or service to God, or external renewal. All of creation is to be sanctified through Christ through progressive renewal of his structures of creation (i.e., we are not to overthrow or get rid of a structure, simply work towards correcting its direction).
***Each area of society has its own “sphere sovereignty” or “differentiated responsibility”. That means that each should be restored to creation in a distinct way (e.g., you should not run a church like a business or a business like a church). This also means that no sphere has the right to control or dominate any other sphere (e.g., like in a totalitarian state where the government dominates all other spheres).
***In his final chapters he goes through several examples of human concepts (e.g., aggression, spiritual gifts, sex, etc.) and shows how to analyze them using the structure and direction concepts. With each, he argues, you can identify the basic structure (form) and separate that from the good or bad direction with which it has been used. (less)
Today's automobile fleet, for example, is about 6% efficient overall. Out of every $100.00 spent on fuel, about...more**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
Today's automobile fleet, for example, is about 6% efficient overall. Out of every $100.00 spent on fuel, about $94.00 is wasted in various ways. Some of the waste is inherent in entropic physical processes, but there is enormous room for improvement. That pathetic 6% efficiency is not the result of greedy plotting by auto and oil companies, it is the result of widespread ignorance. Few people think about their car's radiator, for example, a component engineered to throw away heat that their money just bought. Producing that heat also produced pollution. Both are waste. Waste is always a sign of poor design; pollution is a measure of inefficiency. The toll on consumer finances and the environment is enormous. Approximately 1% of humanity is scientists or engineers, and most of them are too specialized to understand the global effects of their work. The rest of humanity is technologically (and ecologically) illiterate. (p. 64).(less)
**spoiler alert** ***My notes and quotes from the book***
Successful intelligence = analytic + creative + practical intelligence. Sternberg argues that...more**spoiler alert** ***My notes and quotes from the book***
Successful intelligence = analytic + creative + practical intelligence. Sternberg argues that successful intelligence is the metric we should be using instead of the narrowly defined analytic intelligence that most IQ tests capture. Most of the book consists of Sternberg critiquing traditional conceptualizations of intelligence, followed by his explanations and defenses of creative and practical intelligence.
In the final chapter (ch. 8), Sternberg outlines the characteristics of successful intelligence. 1. Successfully intelligent people motivate themselves. 2. They learnt to control their impulses. 3. They know when to persevere. 4. They know how to make the most of their abilities. 5. They translate thought into action. 6. They have a product orientation (they know how to produce, not just consume info). 7. They complete tasks and follow through. 8. They are initiators, they don't wait to be told what to do. 9. They are not afraid to risk failure. 10. They don't procrastinate. 11. They accept fair blame. 12. They reject self-pity. 13. They are independent. 14. They seek to surmount personal difficulties. 15. They focus and concentrate to achieve their goals. 16. They spread themselves neither too thin nor too thick. 17. They have the ability to delay gratification. 18. They have the ability to see the forest and the trees. They can distinguish the important from the inconsequential. 19. They have reasonable levels of self confidence and a belief in their ability to accomplish their goals. 20. Successfully intelligent people balance analytical, creative, and practical thinking. (less)