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#401
some_dude_on_the_interwebs

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There are two long-lasting traditions of handling The Iliad.

[...]

One more thing: I often recall that the only book Henry David Thoreau kept in his wooden hut was The Iliad, and it perplexes me how his nature could be so fond of it. 

 

Today I learned something interesting.

It was a good day.

Thanks.

 

Mention of the Iliad always makes me think of one of my favourite novels, Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut.

 

As it happens,

Spoiler

the first quarter of the book is set in the fictional town of Ilium - which has, of course, a symbolic meaning.

 

It's a book I would recommend to anybody, but especially to Nightwish fans, who lately have been overexposed to Dawkins and the like and historically tend to take things seriously :)

 

A very deep book at it, a feat which is achieved - could only be achieved - by its apparent shallowness and willingness to make fun of and satirize everything - religion, war, politics, science.

 

I would especially recommend it to Nikki :)


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#402
JRA

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Console Wars by Blake J. Harris


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The quickest way to understand my candor:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=7ksVubN5DhY

 

 


#403
Nikki_S.

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It's a book I would recommend to anybody, but especially to Nightwish fans, who lately have been overexposed to Dawkins and the like and historically tend to take things seriously  :)

 

very deep book at it, a feat which is achieved - could only be achieved - by its apparent shallowness and willingness to make fun of and satirize everything - religion, war, politics, science.

 

I would especially recommend it to Nikki  :)

 

Thanks for the recommendation! Well, you often seem to represent an opposite opinion. I've just finished the book and that's how I get the idea:

 

Scientist as a sorcerer is an archetype distinctive for Europe where it was brought to life. Two world wars forced people into considering ratio as a deeply violent beggining because it knows no limits in fulfilling its desire to fit all and everyting in abstract schemes (dating back to Greek philosophers time?). At the intersection of these points stands Felix Hoenikker, the most remarkable character of Cat's Cradle, while some others represent the second only. The rest are personified ordinary stupidity or the delusion of art (Mona Lisa). 

 

Stupidity is not a departure from the norm but the rule, and highly developed understanding of how things are organized is scarcely compatible with life (not necessarily for he who understands). 

 

Curious thing is that Cubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was released in the same year when this book came out.

 

Update (14.10.16): I got interested and also read Slaughterhouse-Five.


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#404
some_dude_on_the_interwebs

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Thanks for the recommendation!


Did you just... read a book I casually suggested within 24 hours?

I'm half flattered, half amazed.
 

Well, you often seem to represent an opposite opinion.


Wait, what do you mean.
 

I've just finished the book and that's how I get the idea:
[...]


Hah.
This is super funny.
I mean, that stuff is all somehow in the book and I can see it, but that's not at all what the book meant to me all this time.
It's a bit as if somebody just described to me something very familiar as a Peanuts strip as "a series of stylized drawings of a human child and a canis lupus familiaris endowed with a peculiar ability to stand erect on its hind legs".

Which is not to say "your interpretation is wrong", just "funny how different people can read the very same novel in a completely different way".

Me, I've always read it as, basically, a thrash metal book, not concerned with subtlety and symbolism as much as it is with slapping inconvenient, trivial truths on the reader's face and waiting for him/her to draw his/her own logical conclusions.
 
I find that, as the Doomsday Clock slowly but inexorably approaches its 1953 setting, it's a good exercise as ever.

I literally picture Vonnegut in my mind bang his fist on the desk after finishing a line of dialogue and saying to the reader - both religious and agnostic, conservative and liberal - "now what's of your life, your car, your mortgage, your party and your church, eh? You didn't think any of it through, eh? Ha ha! None of you are making any sense! Fools! Ha ha!"

Anyway - blast beats rather than the complexity and cryptograms hidden in Bach's The Musical Offering.

(Speaking of which, I'm currently reading Christoph Wolff's biography of Bach and, if you are into the subject, is definitely a good read)
 

Curious thing is that Cubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was released in the same year when this book came out.


Ah, another favourite - actually three, the director, the movie and the lead actor!
Speaking of Kubrick, I'm partial to the Burgess novels that inspired A Clockwork Orange as well as a certain Nabokov novel.
 

Update (14.10.16): I got interested and also read Slaughterhouse-Five.


Oh, awesome.
 
How are you enjoying it?
 

Console Wars by Blake J. Harris

 
I think I read that quite a while ago.
Entertaining -  I only remember an hilarious episode with a Sega executive being forcibly removed from the beach where he was vacationing with his family, though.
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#405
JRA

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Console Wars by Blake J. Harris

 
I think I read that quite a while ago.
Entertaining -  I only remember an hilarious episode with a Sega executive being forcibly removed from the beach where he was vacationing with his family, though.

 

 

Past that part, first or second chapter.


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The quickest way to understand my candor:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=7ksVubN5DhY

 

 


#406
Nikki_S.

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Did you just... read a book I casually suggested within 24 hours?

 

Yes, I did. I checked some more information about it and its author and discovered that they perfectly correspond to my interests. So thank you once again!

 

Wait, what do you mean. 

 

Specifically in this case pointing overexposure to Dawkins out made an impression of a slight (or not) disapproval. Wasn't it so?

 

It's a bit as if somebody just described to me something very familiar as a Peanuts strip as "a series of stylized drawings of a human child and a canis lupus familiaris endowed with a peculiar ability to stand erect on its hind legs". 

 

That's because spending too much time in academic environment spoils. Instead of concentrating on a subject itself one sets out in search of impersonal mechanisms which might have triggered its emergence.

 

Me, I've always read it as, basically, a thrash metal book, not concerned with subtlety and symbolism as much as it is with slapping inconvenient, trivial truths on the reader's face and waiting for him/her to draw his/her own logical conclusions. 

 

I enjoy your comparison and the following illustration, yet, as it seems to me, there's something Vonnegut lacks to be considered as a veritable thrash metal player: he escapes descriptive cruelty, hence the images of common truths he gives are still too merciful; seems because there's a writer who knows no lack at all: Louis-Ferdinand Céline. 

 

(Speaking of which, I'm currently reading Christoph Wolff's biography of Bach and, if you are into the subject, is definitely a good read)   

 

Shame upon me, but I'm not. No one in my family has a habit of listening to classic music, so I haven't acquired it either. When I realized such a gap, I was at a loss where to begin.

 

How are you enjoying it? 

 

Well, I definitely appreciate it. Our state ideology is based on celebration of the victory in WWII to such extent that people might easily turn into inadequate beasts when it comes to discussing our wartime and postwar foreign policy, no matter if they stand for or against it, which is wordlessly scary.

 

Currently I'm reding Violence and the Sacred by René Girard. He analyses the connection between violence and religion through the immolation of a scapegoat for the sake of collective safety. It explains the origin of wars and bullying, of course. The concept is absorbing but hopelessly depressing, I won't dare to share any details. If you particularly haven't heard about this work yet, perhaps, it might become of interest for you... 

 

I find that, as the Doomsday Clock slowly but inexorably approaches its 1953 setting, it's a good exercise as ever. 

 

...since it provides this kind of exercise as well. I wonder if Vonnegut read this book.  


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#407
some_dude_on_the_interwebs

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Did you just... read a book I casually suggested within 24 hours?

 
Yes, I did. I checked some more information about it and its author and discovered that they perfectly correspond to my interests. So thank you once again!


I vaguely guessed as much, but I am actually surprised I ended up being right.
Glad to be of service.
 

Wait, what do you mean.

 
Specifically in this case pointing overexposure to Dawkins out made an impression of a slight (or not) disapproval. Wasn't it so?


I did not mean to express an opinion there, just matter-of-factly noting that Dawkins has all of a sudden become trendy among Nightwish fans - for obvious reasons, duh.

Now, you are opening quite a can of worms there, but if you really want to know...

Now that you have read Vonnegut, I have the luxury of explaining my position in a single word: I am a staunch Bokononist.

Spoiler


 

That's because spending too much time in academic environment spoils. Instead of concentrating on a subject itself one sets out in search of impersonal mechanisms which might have triggered its emergence.


Oh, well, I didn't mean that your interpretation was too academic - just an unfamiliar interpretation of a familiar thing :)
 

I enjoy your comparison and the following illustration, yet, as it seems to me, there's something Vonnegut lacks to be considered as a veritable thrash metal player: he escapes descriptive cruelty, hence the images of common truths he gives are still too merciful; seems because there's a writer who knows no lack at all: Louis-Ferdinand Céline.


Uh-oh.
"Journey to the End of Night" has been on my nightstand for ages now and I haven't got around to start reading it yet.
I'm not sure if you made me want to start it or continue posponing it.
 

Shame upon me, but I'm not. No one in my family has a habit of listening to classic music, so I haven't acquired it either. When I realized such a gap, I was at a loss where to begin.


Aw.
I'm super saddened that a learned person like you does not know music - or, rather, only knows popular, recorded, mass-manufactured music.
However, rather than directing you to Sachs' essays or Adorno's famous definition and condemnation of "popular music" - as opposed to art music (which I find not quite as relevant today) I direct you to this enjoyable article by Paul Morley on The Guardian.

It implies a perfectly reasonable answer to the question of "where do I begin".

Easy: anywhere! It's music! It's free! You can play any way you like! Everywhere! Each time it's different! It's like a gas! Like birdsong! You can improvise! You can play variations and variations on variations!

You don't do to the "Discography" entry of a Wikipedia article and start collecting the records, you just listen and play anywhere, anyway you like!

But if you have to start listening somewhere, there is the Classical music thread and... Youtube, the next best thing (see previously linked article) after having a piano (or at least a cheap flute) in your home.
There are countless excellent channels full of fantastic performances, such as this, this, this and this.

Hit "shuffle" and be surprised! You might have noticed I have not suggested a specific piece, composer, age or recording - I guess you understand why, just as I guess you are guessing listening is not all the story anyway :)
 
But if you really only have five minutes... here's is one interpretation of one of my favourites:



:)

There is, of course, an easy way to go 100% back on topic from here: it was a favourite of the great Philip K. Dick, which inspired the title of the novel "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said".

Does anybody happen to love Dick as much as I do (that's a capital D, you perverts)?
 

Currently I'm reding Violence and the Sacred by René Girard. He analyses the connection between violence and religion through the immolation of a scapegoat for the sake of collective safety. It explains the origin of wars and bullying, of course. The concept is absorbing but hopelessly depressing, I won't dare to share any details. If you particularly haven't heard about this work yet, perhaps, it might become of interest for you... 
 
...since it provides this kind of exercise as well. I wonder if Vonnegut read this book.


Duly noted.
Me, I am already wondering if William Golding might have read the book.
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#408
Serious Sam

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@some_dude: I literally put that Dowland song on like two minutes before I read your post (a different recording). Sometimes life is really weird.

 

To the topic, I'm re-reading the Kingkiller Chronicles. And I'm reading our internal documentation for our application platform (based on Spring and Java EE, which I'm not that much of an expert in either). It's not a book, as I said it's internal, but it might as well be. It is. So. Freaking. Complex.

 

...I love it :D Well if it works. If it doesn't I really want to eat my PC sometimes.

 

EDIT: Has anyone read the "The New Jedi Order" series? My thoughts in spoilers:

 

Spoiler

 

EDIT: Does anyone here read China Mieville? I read nearly everything from him, but I honestly didn't like all of it. "Kraken" and "Un Lun Dun" are fantastic, so fantastically "I do not care how crazy this stuff is, I'm just making things up and having fun all the way" in its attitude. The Bas Lag novels are good too, but slow at times (especially "The Scar"). Out of the three, "Perdido Street Station" and the last one or two hundred pages of "Iron Council" are probably my favorites. The end of "The Scar" really annoyed me.

 

"The City and The City" is ok, but not really special. Embassytown has really great ideas, but is slow in the beginning. I can't get through Railsea. I don't know what it is, but that book is just so boring. Same with "This Census Taker". I mean it's kind of interesting, but not really. I waited for a story and it kind of never came. I mean do I really care how this boy became a census taker? No. Not compared to how much I cared what happens to Saul, or to Billy, or to Zannah and Deeba. Mieville has those two modes of writing, one where he draws you in showing you wonderfully strange things from the beginning (Un Lun Dun, Kraken, King Rat to a lesser extent) and one where he just seems to assume you're interested and takes his time with the story. And the latter sometimes doesn't work for me. I need a story, not just cool places and settings.

 

Haven't read "The Last Days of New Paris" yet. Might be interesting. For his short stories, I loved "Familiar". And "Foundation" is freaking terrifying. The rest have good atmosphere, but I don't get what he's trying to tell me with, for example, "Looking for Jake". "Jack" is awesome, and "Go Between" is also kind of good.

 

What do you people think? I mean he's undoubtedly a very creative writer. Sometimes I just wish he'd focus more on telling a story. 


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My music: https://soundcloud.com/altairograph

"Out of the dark, into the light, and I'll break down the walls around my heart!
Imaginations from the other side" ~Blind Guardian, Imaginations from the other side


#409
Nikki_S.

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Now, you are opening quite a can of worms there, but if you really want to know...[...]
However, if you are bored enough please do PM me by all means.

 

No, I’m neither confused nor bored of these worms. Your views are reasonable.
Personally, I came to conclusion that introduction to some... knowledge concerning fundamental aspects of life generally fills people with the sense of ethical rightfulness which apparently gives them authority to teach others how to live. To me, both camps are equally repugnant in that matter.
If to distract from emotions, though, I suppose, religious thinking is subsistent to human mind and vitally needs an application point. To believe in a god is an instinctive way to set it to work, yet not the only one: its manifestation may also take a shape of the love for nature, family, sport, music, human rights, movie stars and many other things including science. In this sense nobody tends to be an atheist. There’s a conjecture that otherwise mankind would have exterminated itself already because extermination starts where the sacred disappears.
To sum up, spreading enlightenment as a way to understand one’s place in the world a bit better is fine but I can hardly see the point of concentrating so much effort upon converting folks into atheists above all.
In case you’re not tedious yourself yet, I agree, this conversation might be brought to PM.

 

Uh-oh.
"Journey to the End of Night" has been on my nightstand for ages now and I haven't got around to start reading it yet.
I'm not sure if you made me want to start it or continue posponing it.

 

You can open it on a random page, read a few more on and then decide on your own whether you want to let yourself in, or rather read something about Céline first.

 

Aw.I'm super saddened that a learned person like you does not know music - or, rather, only knows popular, recorded, mass-manufactured music.
[...]
Hit "shuffle" and be surprised! You might have noticed I have not suggested a specific piece, composer, age or recording - I guess you understand why, just as I guess you are guessing listening is not all the story anyway :)

 

Instead of pouring a vain gush out may I just say that I’m very glad you’re a member of this forum? Thanks for giving such a detailed and kindly advise, I have already started on listening and my hope is back.

 

However, rather than directing you to Sachs' essays or Adorno's famous definition and condemnation of "popular music"

 

Implicitly I’m acquainted with Adorno through his saying that ‘writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric’.
Touching upon the topic of religious thinking once again, mine, I guess, is flittering around words – turning thus reading and learning languages into my major occupations, – so I find this noting important. Indeed, never before they had failed so much. Still, at least one poet, as it seems to me, has rehabilitated the meaningfulness of words in rendering the experience of annihilation: Paul Celan.
One German translator mentioned his name among her ‘comates in survival’, and it struck me that I get attached to writers and poets according to the same principle.
Here’s Celan’s most famous poem, Death Fugue (English subtitles included).
I got down to reading Vonnegut that fast due to this disquiet about how speech deals with the grave in warfare.

 

But if you really only have five minutes... here's is one interpretation of one of my favourites:[...]
There is, of course, an easy way to go 100% back on topic from here: it was a favourite of the great Philip K. Dick, which inspired the title of the novel "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said".

 

Not that I've heard too much lute music in my life, but its sound has always been mellow for ears (Luteduo channel is also absorbing!).
Two questions: are you into music professionally and why are you so keen on science fiction?

 

Me, I am already wondering if William Golding might have read the book.

 

It came to my mind too; however, better late than never: I checked, Lord of the Flies (1954) came out earlier than Violence and the Sacred (1972), the same with regard to Cat’s Cradle (1963) and Slaughterhouse-5 (1969). The more alarming they look then.

 

 

 

Violence and the Sacred by René Girard. Its summary might be found here.

 

Serious ground to spare time on Girard: he offers an elaborate explanation of a) why picturing violence as a transcendent, inhumane, external to society force has once sprung up and remained in people‘s thinking for ever, b) why mythological systems evoked by different ethnical groups are more or less similar to each other and c) why it‘s a huge mistake to count myth as substance which has nothing to do with reality.
I also take Girard‘s concept as compehensive reasoning of d) why mankind can‘t help fighting wars and believing in deities. No reason to consider anyone inferior anymore. Lots of reasons to sense biting anxiety, though.

 

Unserious ground: books of this kind always provide methodology for interpreting pop culture stuff (for instance, turning points of 2001: A Space Odyssey or phenomenon of a pale, smeary-haired punk standing in front of a fascinated crowd and yelling out insulting for common taste words).

 

The best book within my recollection, I dare say. The one which requires plenty of guts from a reader, too.
Next in turn is Geschichte eines Deutschen (The Story of a German) by Sebastian Haffner.

 

Posts merged. Please do not double post if your latest post is less than two weeks old. - Dandelion


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#410
Speckofdust

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Anyone know good,historical books about medieval times? It could be fictional story too but in this Middle Ages spirit ;)
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