Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Know so much yet know so little


This has been my nature, my destiny, my curse, for as long as I can remember.

I always envy well-read people and always want to know more yet all those yearnings always remain unfulfilled.

Example: a friend posts a book on Bookface.  I know both authors by name, well kind of but could not tell you anything at all about them.  Can’t even remember the second bloke’s name without looking it up, Neil Gaiman, that’s it I know I have read his name lately and been interested in his stuff, can’t remember what or why. The other is the well-known, well well-known to OTHERS, Terry Pratchett.

And I read some commentary where someone says you can determine who writes what in that book easily by the author style.  Yeah I wish. What he actually wrote was:  There is no question as to the recognizability of both Gaiman's and Pratchett's respective styles here, but neither seems to add anything to the other. One of Gaiman's weaknesses is surely his general lack of humor. 

And I start the book and it says:
dedicating this book to the memory of G. K. Chesterton
A man who knew what was going on.

And there you go I feel even more ignorant for not only don’t I know what is going on I have no clue of what Chesterton ever said or wrote or even when he said it.

And here comes that eternal dilemma again.  I was thinking yesterday of asking my doctor for some Ritalin as I am still looking for that magic pill that will MAKE ME read. 
I want to read, I want to know but somewhere somehow that deep want and need has been broken and is rarely ever ‘repaired’.

There is always this part of me the “who I wish I was” from my old ‘Trinitarian’ view that everyone has three ‘me’, three ‘you’, three ‘ego’.

·         Who I think I am
·         Who I really am
·         Who I wish I was

Well the “who I wish I was” has a reading list somewhere let’s see

All the classic Greeks and Latin: Plato and Virgil and so much more
And the purist part of this “who I wish I was” ALSO WISHES he could read them in their original languages.

Now after that the list gets confused but I envy people like Stephen Fry and Rowan Willams.

Williams speaks or reads 11 languages: English, Welsh, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Biblical Hebrew, Syriac, Latin and both Ancient (koine) and Modern Greek.He learnt Russian in order to be able to read the works of Dostoyevsky in the original.

Dostoyevsky is certainly on that list even though as of today I haven’t read a single book of his.  I am still slowly determining in my mind if I ‘would” read him in French or in English.

So in my short time left on this planet I would like to think that my time would be well spent away in a book, in many books somewhere. 

Why? Well there is no why.  Just so I feel good one moment at a time until I feel nothing at all anymore which happens to all of us.  Just so I get transformed in a good way and maybe transform someone else.

One once said that selling is a transfer of enthusiasm and one is always selling something. So in my best non-capitalist way, I would love to sell ideas or a taste for ideas anyway: ideas that keep going for eons.  Mine and others mixed all together as I have said often that no one is his own man/woman but we are all the additions of billions of particles we picked up here and there.

One of the main procrastinating issues on this subject also would be the question of what is exactly a “profitable” list.  I have expressed earlier also that much reading is not only a “weariness of the flesh” it can also be quite a “vexation to the spirit” both expression of course (glanées) gleaned from two well-known readings.

O well all that reminded me of much wisdom in the Desiderata and also reminds me that even if it is not expanding my repertoire or list, rereading old proven wisdom or pleasure is also well errrrr pleasurable for lack of other word. J

As I was saying earlier selling is a transfer of enthusiasm so before I attempt any Dosto I should try finishing Mon oncle Benjamin from Claude Tillier, apparently a little unknown pearl read and reread by Georges Brassens, a favourite “author” of mind even if you don’t exactly read his clever words, you listen to them with affection and awe.  One thing I should be thankful for here is that I am able to read the original in two languages instead of whining about not being able to read Greek or Latin or Russian.

Speaking of capitalism one of the beauty of modern times is that once copyrights are over one does not have to pay a cent to some greedy publisher to read thousands of good old books now thanks to the Gutenberg project and many others.

One needs a tiny eBook reader a tiny tiny microchip and maybe a desert island with a “tiny” solar panel for recharging LOL and one could lie in a hammock and read for a lifetime or two.

As a matter of fact if one wants to ‘remember what peace there may be in silence’  one might NEED to move to a desert island and certainly not in any suburbs with a gazillion barking dogs.  J






Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.





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