Moscow, Russia | Member Since 2011
I took enormous pleasure in listening to these plays. I recommend buying the collection if you like G.B. Shaw.
Listening to the lectures gave me so much pleasure. Prof. Lependorf teaches the listener to understand the music and create a mental map of the passages. Personally, it was like learning a new language in an insightful way. I'd say the lectures helped to develop my sensitivity.
You can download the accompanying guide and figure out what the lectures are about. In short, they cover the following musicians and their masterpieces:
A.Vivaldi 'The Spring' (Movement I), J.S.Bach 'Brandenburg Concerto No. 5' (Movement I), G.F.Handel 'The Messiah' (“Ev’ry Valley”, “All We Like Sheep”, “Hallelujah”), W.A.Mozart 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' (Movement I), L. van Beethoven 'Symphony No. 5' (Movement I), H.Berlioz 'Symphonie Fantastique', F.Chopin 'Nocturnes' (Vol. 1, Nocturne in Db, Op. 27, No. 2), J.Brahms 'Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Händel' (Variations I, II, III, V, VI, Fugue), R.Wagner 'Prelude to Tristan', M.Mussorgsky 'Pictures at an Exhibition' ('Promenade', 'The Gnome', 'Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks', 'Great Gate of Kiev'), C.Debussy 'Prelude to The Afternoon of the Faun', I.Stravinsky 'The Rite of Spring' (Pt. 1), M.Ravel 'Mother Goose Suite', A.Copland 'Appalachian Spring Suite'.
Prof. Lependorf introduces such notions as tonic, ritornello, tutti, continuo, terraced dynamics, concerto grosso, pedal point, cadenza, oratorio, melisma, serenade, sonata-allegro, adagio, col legno, bel canto, arpeggio, da capo aria, tempo rubato, appoggiatura, hemiola, rounded binary, canon, cross-rhythm, two-against-three, leitmotiv, tremolo, ostinato, whole-tone scale, pentatonic scale, mode, gamelan, glissando, and syncopation, to name a few.
The lectures expanded my musical experience. I'll certainly listen to them again.
It's a witty and entertaining book that was originally an online serialized novel (check out M. Barry's website). It revolves around Charles Neumann, a reticent engineer, who loses his limb and decides to improve his body by building a new leg. The funny thing that happens is that the less 'organic' Charles becomes, the more human he feels.
The book IS cynical and entertaining, but it also raises philosophical and ethical questions. What is it to be human? Would you download and upload your mind into a much better equipped robot body? Having been subjected to augmentation, can we still remain human?
Thinking about the quote from Michio Kaku's Physics of the Impossible "...immortality (in the form of DNA-enhanced or silicon bodies) may be the ultimate future of humanity," the question is, what if the essence of humanity could be lost as a result of biotechnological improvement?
On the plus side, there are revolutionary ways of transforming human capabilities, such as pacemakers and tissue grafts that prolong life; e-broidery and smart prosthetics. So in order to survive and 'upgrade' our biological adaptability we need some nanotechnological enhancement. Or do we?
At the same time, a cyborgian reality can widen the gap between 'organic' and 'augmented' people, those who can afford to buy a better body and the havenots, those who become supersoldiers and ordinary people, unable to defend themselves...
And it's the book that gave me food for thought.
As I read about Charles looking everywhere for his lost phone in Chapter 1, I thought about the way technology infiltrates our life. We are overdependent on it. As Naomi Goldenberg put it, "We are engaged in a process of making one another disappear by living more and more of our lives apart from other humans, in the company of machines..." Even now, while typing this, I desperately rely on my iPad.
It is supposed to be "psychology for non-psychologists", which basically means it briefly covers the major writings and biographies of famous authors.
Cutting edge? Definitely not. But it's summarizing and terse. It's a starting point to actually read those works explored. If you want an in-depth study, you read the book by the author, not a summary.
Here's the list of authors and the works:
1 Alfred Adler Understanding Human Nature
2 Gavin de Becker The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence
3 Eric Berne Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships
4 Robert Bolton People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts
5 Edward de Bono Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step
6 Nathaniel Branden The Psychology of Self-Esteem
7 Isabel Briggs Myers Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
8 Louann Brizendine The Female Brain
9 David D. Burns Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
10 Robert Cialdini Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
11 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
12 Albert Ellis & Robert A. Harper A Guide to Rational Living
13 Milton Erickson My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson
14 Erik Erikson Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History
15 Hans Eysenck Dimensions of Personality
16 Susan Forward Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You
17 Viktor Frankl The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy
18 Anna Freud The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence
19 Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams
20 Howard Gardner Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
21 Daniel Gilbert Stumbling on Happiness
22 Malcolm Gladwell Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
23 Daniel Goleman Working with Emotional Intelligence
24 John M. Gottman The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
25 Harry Harlow The Nature of Love
26 Thomas A. Harris I’m OK—You’re OK
27 Eric Hoffer The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
28 Karen Horney Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of Neurosis
29 William James The Principles of Psychology
30 Carl Jung The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
31 Alfred Kinsey Sexual Behavior in the Human Female
32 Melanie Klein Envy and Gratitude
33 R. D. Laing The Divided Self: A Study of Sanity and Madness
34 Abraham Maslow The Farther Reaches of Human Nature
35 Stanley Milgram Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View
36 Anne Moir & David Jessel Brainsex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women
37 Ivan Pavlov Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of the Physiological Activity of the Cerebral Cortex
38 Fritz Perls Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality
39 Jean Piaget The Language and Thought of the Child
40 Steven Pinker The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human
41 V. S. Ramachandran Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind
42 Carl Rogers On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy
43 Oliver Sacks The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales
44 Barry Schwartz The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
45 Martin Seligman Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment
46 Gail Sheehy Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life
47 B. F. Skinner Beyond Freedom and Dignity
48 Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, & Sheila Heen Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
49 William Styron Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
50 Robert E. Thayer The Origin of Everyday Moods: Managing Energy, Tension, and Stress
V for Vendetta is a dystopia (though some authors distinguish dystopias from anti-utopias, but I'd rather use the former term). So, as any dystopia, it is meant to be a critique of the social or political system that exist in reality. Dystopias express our modern age anxieties and fears, as well as disillusionment with the utopian thought.
VfV describes the tyranny of a totalitarian regime and its evils; utter misery of the people; an individual crushed by the police state; people living in a constant nightmare. Exploitation, corruption, destruction, decline of faith and terror.
What makes this dystopia stand out is that the audiobook is based on the comic book series, and the protagonist doesn't want to be trampled on by the totalitarian machine. Estranged, V takes revenge and, having no scruples left, defies the state by using 'like-cures-like' methods: murder, terrorism, and subterfuge.
Well, perhaps, the question the reader can ask themselves is, Does the end justify the means? What V does is immoral, but if the environment is sick, does social ethics need to exist? If you want to be free, is chaos the only way to gain freedom?
V is certainly not a fictional character. His anarchic prototypes are not remnants of the past revolutions, but quite an inspiration behind protests nowadays.
As D. Harvey wrote, 'There is a time and place in the ceaseless human endeavor to change the world, when alternative visions, no matter how fantastic, provide the grist for shaping powerful political forces for change.' But, honestly, dystopian visions don't seem so fantastic the minute you link them with real events that happened in the past or are currently going on. There's nothing depicted in dystopias that people haven't committed.
P.S. As for the performance, it was excellent. Simon Vance is unrivalled!
The book kept me thinking how easy it is to cross the fine line between what we consider to be sane and insane, normal and abnormal. We take so many things for granted (like walking, sitting, remembering) that we don't really pay attention to them. But when a disaster strikes, and your body/mind doesn't feel the same way it used to, how do you react? Give up, or fight to feel 'normal' and 'together' again?
It was eye-opening to listen to this fantastic book. I felt that the author had never held himself aloof from his patients. The book was written with such compassion and empathy that I was so absorbed I couldn't do anything else. It's a must-have for anyone interested in neuropsychiatry, neurology and psychology.
The book is made up of 4 parts:
1. Losses (with special emphasis on visual agnosia)
The man who mistook his wife for a hat;
The lost mariner;
The disembodied lady;
The man who fell out of bed;
On the level;
The President's speech.
2. Excesses (i.e. disorders or diseases like Tourette's syndrome, tabes dorsalis - a form of neurosyphilis, and the 'joking disease')
Witty Ticcy Ray;
A matter of identity;
3. Transports (on the 'power of imagery and memory', e.g. musical epilepsy, forced reminiscence and migrainous visions)
A passage to India;
The dog beneath the skin;
The visions of Hildegard.
4. The world of the simple (on the advantages of therapy centered on music and arts when working with the mentally retarded)
A walking grove;
The autist artist.
I'd say it was emotionally exhausting to listen to the book. There are no wars depicted; no atrocities described. But there's the tragedy of one man, the broken, or rather ruined promises, the futility of aspiration, and failure of love. Yes, it's a story about an ordinary life, not about superheroes we look up to, but we never come across them in real life.
It's a story that could have happened to any of us, about the things we're too afraid to do, and then regret not doing them. Vanity of vanities... Thus 'Stoner' is thought-provoking and pensive. Its sadness is reverberating. I listened to it in one sitting, but I had to stop the audio from time to time to recharge my 'battery'. And it took me some time to get down to it and write the review.
It was so hard to listen to the book, because of the emotional involvement and empathy I felt towards the protagonist. A brilliant and moving novel.
These are heartfelt essays about discrimination, injustice and denial. Du Bois analyzes the problem of 'color line' and the importance of 'dwelling above the veil' of prejudice in terms of sociology, history, religion, music and psychology.
From the start, the first chapter 'Of our spiritual strivings' moved me deeply. It focuses on the stereotype of an African American as "a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,––a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,––an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."
The SoBF is a universally acknowledged literary masterpiece, a blend of poignant fiction, critique and autobiography. It creates powerful imagery that stays etched in your memory.
The book is made up of the following essays:
Of Our Spiritual Strivings
Of the Dawn of Freedom
Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others
Of the Meaning of Progress
Of the Wings of Atalanta
Of the Training of Black Men
Of the Black Belt
Of the Quest of the Golden Fleece
Of the Sons of Master and Man
Of the Faith of the Fathers
Of the Passing of the First-Born
Of Alexander Crummell
Of the Coming of John
The Sorrow Songs
Each of the essays is introduced by a passage from poems and songs. The last section, which I found particularly insightful, interprets the message of African American folk songs.
Solid listen and masterly narration! I particularly enjoyed the section on Spinoza.
The SoP gives an overview of the lives and works of the most renowned philosophers, and analyzes their ideas in terms of social, political, religious and psychological contexts.
The book is made up of the following chapters:
1. Plato (as well as analysis of Socrates’ life and teaching)
3. Francis Bacon
4. Baruch Spinoza (also reference to Descartes)
6. Immanuel Kant (a brief look at Locke, Rousseau and a note on Hegel)
7. Arthur Schopenhauer
8. Herbert Spencer (and Darwinism)
9. Friedrich Nietzsche (N. and Wagner)
10. Henri Bergson
11. Benedetto Croce
12. Bertrand Russell
13. George Santayana
14. William James
15. John Dewey
Here’s an inspiring quotation from the SoP. ‘Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art. It arises in hypothesis and flows into achievement. Philosophy is a hypothetical interpretation of the unknown or of the inexactly known ; it is the front trench in the siege of truth.’
DaN is not a book depicting only Stalin’s purges, as it is commonly described. It’s also about the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. Since ‘revolution must begin with atheism’, it is no wonder that militant atheism was aimed at eradicating Christian values, the concepts of good and evil, stamping on time-honoured traditions, casting off the ‘ethical ballast’ of humanity.
In order to create a new man, free from scruples and morality, you must first destroy the foundations, free them from obligations, cut the umbilical cord and make their mind a blank sheet. Then you can fill them with the new dogmas and distorted propaganda slogans.
This is a quote from DaN. ‘When the existence of the Church is threatened, she is released from the commandments of morality. With unity as the end, the use of every means is sanctified, even cunning, treachery, violence, simony, prison, death. For all order is for the sake of the community, and the individual must be sacrificed to the common good.’ And by ‘the common good’ revolutionaries mean justifying atrocities to quench their thirst for power and establish the collective dictatorship over the independent mind. Having usurped power, the Nomenklatura can let the populace die of starvation while living off the fat of the land.
Revolutions have no moral philosophy. Revolutionaries have no scruples. Rubashov, the imprisoned protagonist of the book, had been a staunch Communist almost all his life. ‘For forty years he had lived strictly in accordance with the vows of his order, the Party. He had held to the rules of logical calculation. He had burnt the remains of the old, illogical morality from his consciousness with the acid of reason.’
Rubashov had tried to build the socialist utopia. Perhaps at first he had believed in the communist future and expressed ‘fidelity to the principles of the Communist International.’ But eventually he became corrupted by the revolution.
Rubashov was arrested and tried for crimes he had never committed. In his time, he had betrayed and framed up others. He had committed crimes far worse than those made up to incriminate him. It’s no wonder that in that dog-eat-dog reality he simply had to pay the piper.
Here are some other quotes from the book.
‘History is a priori amoral; it has no conscience.’
‘...one could treat history like one experiments in physics. The difference is that in physics one can repeat the experiment a thousand times, but in history only once.’
‘It is necessary to hammer every sentence into the masses by repetition and simplification. What is presented as right must shine like gold; what is presented as wrong must be black as pitch. For consumption by the masses, the political processes must be coloured like ginger-bread figures at a fair.’
If you read G. Orwell’s ‘1984’ (BTW it was inspired by A. Koestler’s DaN) and found it thought-provoking, you certainly should read ‘Darkness at Noon’.
I also strongly recommend reading ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ by the Russian writer and Nobel Prizer winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The book may seem blasphemous to some. Just consider the title of Part One. His maculate conception. The protagonist's life and death are paralleled to that of Jesus Christ.
Certainly, SIASL challenged the norms and mores of society. RAH addressed morality, sexuality, religion, the establishment and power in a provoking way.
Some reviewers referred to SIASL as 'dated'. But then R. Bradbury and I. Asimov are 'dated'. What's the logic? If a book was written, say, 40 or 50 years ago, does it mean it has no value at all, be it SF or drama?! No matter how 'old' a book is, it reflected the mores and views of the time. People must learn from literature (and from history) just like from their past experiences. The esthetic value of literature is to address empathy, knowledge of human behaviour, and 'moral instruction', to name a few.
But in the end, the more you learn, the more convinced you are that things don't change that much.
I enjoyed the book and will re-read it in the future.
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