Let’s start with a reader’s write from Tom in Illinois:
“….Your digital madness novel is a great idea, do it if you have the time. However, may have a mildly rhyming plotline, in an old sci fi book, written back in -58 by a guy named Miller, can’t remember the first name. Anyway, without revealing ANY of the plot line, may I recommend “ A Canticle for Liebowitz”, superbly written, and touches on many of the idiocies of mankind, including the absurdity of religion, the insanity of nuclear weaponry, and the propensity of man to keep sticking his weenie in the meat grinder. If you can find it, and have not read it yet, I guarantee you will love it. “
I actually (in a vague sense) remember reading it! Perhaps the plotline was somehow embedded, since when I wasn’t memorizing everything I could get my hands on about electronics as a kid, I was sucking up everything I could in the way of science fiction.
The two reasons it jogs something? The name Liebowitz and it was the first time I had run into the world “canticle.” A Canticle for Leibowitz is still available in paperback from Amazon, by the way.
Speaking of writings and readings: I keep thinking that if I ever get to the point of retiring, it would sure be fun to go back and reread a lot of the books I read as a kid. A kind of reboot of data files before the Big Sleep.
I remember long ago when I interviewed Louis L’Amour and he told me about how he’d worked as a merchant seaman, reading pocket collections of great literature to other merchant mariners in the focsle at night.
Well, that got me to looking into such mini pocketbooks and you can still find the Everyman’s Library on Amazon with a fairly wide assortment of readings. One, for example is The Stories of Ray Bradbury (Everyman’s Library (Cloth)) while another is Three Novels: Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Round the World in Eighty Days (Everyman’s Library (Cloth)).
Mind you, there’s a great many of the older classic books available on Project Gutenberg website; simple enough to download classics and then .PDF them and forward them to a Kindle, or toss them onto a ‘droid and read ’em as text files there.
As a Man Thinks
Most people don’t realize the extent to which their thinking is “bounded” by their inputs. In other words, the number of new thoughts and ideas you’ll have is directly related to how much raw material you pack into your brain.
Creativity, seems, may be something of a matrix; which is one of my favorite topics to discuss. Thus, the more fresh raw material you put in to your head, the more new ideas come out. Which is why I try to devote an hour or two every day to reading something.
Readers have generously sent me a wide selection of readings, which I take up as time allow: I’m presently parsing in “Astro-Economics: A study of astrology and the Business Cycle” by LCDR David Williams, which fits in many ways with one I’ve been working through from my personal stack (which you can get from Amazon): The Unified Cycle Theory: How Cycles Dominate the Structure of the Universe and Influence Life on Earth .
That book by Peutz ain’t cheap, by the way: A shade under $50-bucks. But the rare booklet by Williams (1958) can still be found occasionally for $20-something from Amazon’s bevvy of used book sellers.
One footnote about those mini pocket books: The fonts are small, so they’d be something to read before your eyes get too old.
Which get’s me to a very interesting thought about reading. Seems to me there are two ways a person could look at the topic and structure your life which distills down to two paths:
1. One path would be to “read like hell” until age 30 or so (whenever an advanced degree of some kind is nailed) and then quit reading everything except readings in your field of expertise for the rest of your life.
This is easy on the eyes, inexpensive, and minimizes time consumption for inputs. Toss in the fact that 90% of news is useless in terms of personal action (what are you going to do in your life about last night’s latest Trayvon demonstration, for example?) and you can save all kinds of time to devote to either staying absolutely current in your area of expertise.
2. The OTHER path would be to progress as above, until you have enough knowledge about something to make a good wage, but then portion off some part of each day to your continued general education beyond what’s in your specialty.
To this kind of approach, last night’s latest demonstrations (Zimmerman) do mean something, and reflecting upon news of such events might lead to insights which, although not specifically useful in a specialty/income area (outside of HR, perhaps) do reveal the current state of affairs in the “hearts of men.”
Eventually, one comes to the ponder about whether there’s some kind of existence of a human “essence” after Life as we know it ends. Since most professional specialties only work in the physical here & now, if there is some kind of after-life, then going there, which is presumably another dimension or way of existing as spirit/essence/whatever, with specialized knowledge about how things “used to work on that plane” would be pointless.
What seems more likely to transcend the boundary of death would be the “affairs in the hearts of men” and in this regard, the more general information about the operating habits of other spirit/essences/whatevers would become the entire point.
Arguably, no one knows what happens beyond the grave, but there’s been enough information coming back, as documented originally in Dr. Raymond Moody’s Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon–Survival of Bodily Death wherein a lot of heart attack victims and others who’ve been dead, but just for a while, come back with amazing tales to tell.
One of these days, my friend Capt. Midnight has promised to write up a very personal experience with this phenomena of “touching other side” which is quite amazing, revealing, and I think important. I’ll pass it along when it arrives (which I anxiously await).
Whatever IT is, seems to me that the more one reads, and the more one works on the “inner work” the better equipped one will be for whatever is next.
Is television a help of hindrance? We simply don’t know yet. However, my personal choice has been to be very careful about that which goes into brain (from where it seeps into heart) which is why I don’t watch much horror or any gratuitous violence on television.
Not that the Way of the Peaceful Warrior precludes right action, it’s just that present society places lots of emphasis – too much – on the what can you do for me right now kind of life. While the large problem is what do we take through the exit safely stowed in heart and consciousness.
If, perchance, the after-life is a restitching of all that’s in your head and heart right now, what would you put into it next as important raw materials?
I’m always shocked how few people grasp the question.
But with the weekend here, come five minutes past Miller-time this afternoon, might I suggest one hour this weekend for a well-chosen book? One that won’t come back and bite you in the soul down the road? GIGO. And maybe for eternity.
One other “perchance to dream” note in favor of sci-fi? Mars Rover discovers more evidence that Mars was once habitable.
War on Planned Obsolescence
Reader Shelly has been following our discussion as we seek appliances that can “outlive us” and relates this:
“Hi, George: When my dishwasher died the cause was the electronic control board, which was toasted. It would have been a very expensive repair, almost $300 just for the part. Shocked, I asked the salesman what a new dishwasher would cost and was told that I could get a low end model for about $500. Plus shipping and installation.