Irvine, CA, United States | Member Since 2009
Finally, all the pieces I've learned of Bonhoeffer's life and writings together in one magnum opus. This is a multidimensional social, political and historical tour de force: theological history, church history, political history, war history, and his personal history, so intertwined and seamlessly narrated. This is the story of the formation and development of one of the few members of the Christian church during Hitler's reign who maintained and grew in integrity in inverse proportions to those around him who grew in "dis" integrity, and participated in Hitler's evil, both implicitly and explicitly. This one man stands as a giant among most mortals, Christian or otherwise, during a pivotally-evil time in human history. He had an enormously positive influence and character development and family loyalty through his intellectually rigorous father and his morally astute mother, and generations of socially influential relatives. Bonhoeffer lived out his profound family membership with everyone he met, wherever he went in community, and especially to his vocation as pastor. This biography not only tells his personal development but also his theological development, including his theological training, his writings such as Ethics, Discipleship, Act and Being, his dialogue with other theologians, especially Karl Barth. The development of his faith is pointed out--at one point he goes all in, and commits himself to Christ, the Church and whatever God's will is for him day by day. At this point he becomes committed to serving the Church, and in his situation, the Church as it was in Germany--which raises all kinds of problems, because the Church sells out to Hitler, causing a crisis of faith and action for Bonhoeffer. I was constantly amazed by his torn loyalties between tradition, nation, family, and the struggle to act spiritually when these structures became poisoned by Hitler. He responded with his whole being and character, and turned death on its head.
Really enjoyed the future world of possible viral threat, a little sketchy association of the cause of that threat based on society's lapse into technology, and a very disappointing resolution of this banal morality tale.
Having just read Invisible Cities by Calvino today, just about everything is at least swirling in newness of possibilities, like Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, or Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's travels.
I'm still in the rabbit hole, and don't know what I may have been smoking.
The story is of tales of cities visited by Marco Polo, as told to Kublai Khan. Sounds simple, but we realize that Marco Polo is the experiential adventurer in the world, while Kublai Khan is the intellectual summarizer of Marco Polo's experiences. Well, even that is up for grabs in the end, as who has the handle on reality--the adventurer or the intllectual?
At one point, Kublai Khan has reduced everything to nothing more than a chess game, black versus white, but in so doing, he looses all meaning. Then there is Marco Polo who has many adventures to report, but are they real, or just strung together experiences of illusion?
These philosophical positions are not new, but the experience of them is in the way that I like to be challenged by the new.
Gabriel Marques Garcia was not given the pulitzer prize for "One Hundred Years of Solitude" for an incredilbly good reason. The first half he wrote his heart out as the novelist he is, as he did in Love In the Time of Cholea--a clear novel from beginning to end. What the hell happened after the first half of 100 Years? He just went off line. WTF. This not only makes me mad as an individual, but rage against a professional/author who betrays his position as a professional/author. Unbelievable, and shocking. What a great story for the first half. Unbelievable. Betrayal.
Fields knows how to tell scientific stories as human interest stories, with drama and interest like very few others. He knows what is significant, shares that significance from a scientific point of view in personally engaging ways. If you like neuroscience, this book is for you. Rather than thinking of the "other" brain, I now think of both brains, neuronal and glial as one brain, just like the left and right hemisphere are one brain. A success of both science and story-telling.
On as many levels as possible, this towering philosopher for the ages, tormented soul and liberated intellectual, has set the bar bar for courage and value, leaving most United States Marines in the dust.
He established the spiritual, intellectual and physical norm for "weakness leaving the body."
If you look at his intensity as a war for the individual against false authority (master) and against false submissiveness (slave) you can then understand how his battle is to establish true value in life, as opposed to false submissiveness or brute authoritarianism. Enjoy.
It is natural to develop and transform throughout the life cycle. "It" was a classic in terror, perhaps unequaled, and much lamented in wanting another. However, King is a master story-teller, perhaps his true core.
Now his core is telling a story, in "Joyland" that is perhaps one of the richest character development stories of his career. He seems to relish in making every second sentence of personal significance through humor and observation in the context and character of his story (as opposed to George Carlin--gut wrenching humor).
As others have observed, this is not the same as his "It" novel, (although it is a ghost story), but in its place is a character development, play of romance, coming of age novel in which "it" becomes sex. Is this a loss of story-telling, or a maturation of story-telling? I vote for the later. Enjoy.
It is interesting how this is also a summary of his own works, a commentary on Nietzsche by Nietzsche. It is not only a summary of the minute daily observations and habits he has worked out for his well being (despite incredible physical suffering), but how he is, in the face of suffering, nevertheless affirmative of life. However, far from focusing on the minutia of his life, he is actually founding the value of life on a revolutionary view of life as independent of classic morality which had dominated society in the form of Christianity (the dominant force of moralism at his time), and in the form of German Idealism (rationalism and moralism as reflected in the Kantian categorical imprerative). In place of historical and religious false valuation, Nietzsche advocates the spirit of Dionysus (versus Apolo), to live creatively, energetically and courageously in the spirit of Zarathustra, his magnus opus.
If you like continually not knowing what is going to happen next, and discovering the next harrowing clue and dangerous predicament, then this classic Dan Brown scavenger hunt with cataclysmic implications is for you.
Constructed around the symbology of Dante's Inferno, this is a fast action adventure through fascinating historical cities by the familiar protagonist Robert Langdon, and a freaky-smart attractive leading lady (Angelina Jolie?)
It gets a little slow around the end of the first third of the book, then takes off again.
Nothing is ever what you expect.
This is the definition of suspense.
This is ultimately a love story, also a story of revelation of character development as well as character degradation--those you hope to obtain love and those you love to hate. This was a very meaningful revelation of the slavery period of our nation, the issues and dealing with these issues very sensitively and effectively--who ever heard of a slave (soul)-catcher? Very enjoyable and coherent story--well constructed and developed. Excellent fiction and story telling.-- miss the characters already:the good (Cain), the bad (Eberly), the ugly (Preacher) and the beautiful Rosetta.
Nietzsche's analysis and critique of false authority, master-slave relationships, herd morality, rationalistic/scientific barriers to living fearlessly are amazing critiques for the time he wrote, and flew in the face of the rationalistic zeitgeist of Kant, Hegel and science.
His critique is very psychological, in that he does not himself present a rationalistic argument for or against his views (although he reveals brilliant thinking), but rather a series of observations/aphorisms which we automatically string together as his "philosophy" (and then wonder what he said). He makes scathing observations of the Jews being the cause of the despised master-slave relationships, and compounded by Christians. For sure, he despises weakness.
Because of his own questioning of human motivation leading to the destructive master-slave devaluation of human, I find myself analyzing his own motivation for his concerns. While his interpretation of women parallels hatred of weakness everywhere, his misogyny, mistrust and devaluation seems embedded in every pore of his being, and explains most of his philosophy as a rant against how his mother (including father) treated him. He describes women as like a cat, they do their own thing, they have claws waiting to strike and are fundamentally manipulative and shallow.
If my impression of Nietzsche's devaluation of human relationships (esp. with women) is accurate (his self/other esteem is relationally absent), then he is blind and in contempt (indignant) of any relational resolution to his existential predicament. His primary target therefore is anyone who presents a threat to him, his thinking, his power/right to live fully.
More interestingly, this theory helps explain the either/or, master/slave position which he takes as the truth of the human condition. Since psyche (which is conditioned by society he states)/people/society/ bad philosophers/scientists/politics/countries are not to be trusted, the first goal is to avoid being a slave of your own weak conscience or that of anyone else's, have the courage to be master of your own soul, and do not be afraid of your passions/instincts/impulses, but let them give you instinctive taste/guidance, power, freedom of will, nobility--not made weak by conscience.
His use of the term "Truth" is almost always stated in some disdainful way against others, especially philosopher metaphysicians who go around telling others what "Truth" is. His effort is to invert this terrible misconception, and restore the meaning of truth as ones own Will to Truth (which becomes Will to Power), the power to be who you are based on your own value. The ultimate truth in life is thus to embrace the value of your own power. He often speaks positively of artists who engage in their expressive, empowered freedom in life (i.e., Wagner).
He states that "all organic functions [including sexuality] could be traced back to this Will to Power" (36)--this is his claim about reality/truth. There are thus two reading of Nietzsche--the amoral, harsh, cynical, heartlessness, and the one that some of us would like to believe: that his thoughts just haven't been developed clearly and that he is more artistic in his nature (and that Santa Claus and Heaven are not in jeopardy). It is not hard to see why his ideas became usable for Hitler's regime. We can thank subsequent philosophers who salvaged his genius out of his darkness.
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