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Read Any Good Books Lately?

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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17 July 2014 19:56
 
LadyJane - 16 July 2014 02:19 PM
LadyJane - 17 January 2014 10:03 AM

Earlier this week my attention was directed toward a bunch of short stories which I am unable to access without a Kindle.  Samples I did manage to peek at were “Slaughterbowl XIII” and “Mrs. Greenfield and The Wandering Sheep” and, other than leaving me hanging, they were really fun to read.  Christian Roberts is the author and (between you and me) he seems like a pretty sick twitch.  Thankfully.  If you are lucky enough to own a Kindle, and have a dollar to spare, then the decision makes itself.  As always.

Worth every penny.

Thanks for the plug!

 
 
G'Pa
 
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G'Pa
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30 September 2014 13:15
 

Currently reading the “Black Flagged” series, “An Atheist Manifesto”, “The David Hume Collection”, the three volume set of “The Dark Ages”, and “A History of the Inquisition”.
Just finished “Cosmos”, and “A Night of Blacker Darkness” (superb and funny at the same time).

 
 
benjamindavidsteele
 
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benjamindavidsteele
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28 December 2014 20:29
 
bigredfutbol - 11 January 2014 10:09 PM
burt - 11 January 2014 04:25 PM
KathleenBrugger - 10 January 2014 03:52 PM

Wow bigredfutbol—that’s an impressive list for 10 days! I’m just about to finish Julian Jaynes’ classic “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind”

 

Wouldn’t put too much into the theory though, it’s interesting and helps to show that we can’t assume primitive people thought as we do, but nobody believes it now.  If you want to get a taste of Jaynes form or argument read his rendition of The Memphite Theology and then find a book on ancient Egypt that gives a translation of this same Memphite Theology.  You’ll see that Jaynes tries to strengthen his argument by only quoting every other line.

Yeah, I don’t think any serious academics take him very seriously anymore. But it’s hell of a lot of fun!

Actually, the theory is more plausible today than it was when Jaynes wrote about it. He was forced to speculate, as a lot less was known back then. More recent research shows how his theory could be possible. I’d recommend checking out some other writings that have further explored Jaynes’ ideas:

Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes’s Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited
by Marcel Kuijsten

The Jaynesian: Newsletter of the Julian Jaynes Society
by Marcel Kuijsten and Brian J. McVeigh

Abstracts from the 2013 Julian Jaynes Society Conference on Consciousness and Bicameral Studies
by Marcel Kuijsten and James Cohn

The Minds of the Bible: Speculations on the Cultural Evolution of Human Consciousness
by Rabbi James Cohn

 
Gregoryhhh
 
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Gregoryhhh
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29 December 2014 13:36
 

From Eternity To Here - The Quest For The Ultimate Theory Of Time. by Sean Carroll - I picked it up because of a reference to it by Brian Greene (author of The Elegant Universe).
gregory

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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29 December 2014 16:29
 

Re OP,  Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.  Superb.  Engrossing story

 
 
Bugs Bunny
 
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Bugs Bunny
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30 December 2014 10:46
 
benjamindavidsteele - 28 December 2014 07:29 PM

Actually, the theory is more plausible today than it was when Jaynes wrote about it. He was forced to speculate, as a lot less was known back then. More recent research shows how his theory could be possible. I’d recommend checking out some other writings that have further explored Jaynes’ ideas:

Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes’s Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited
by Marcel Kuijsten

The Jaynesian: Newsletter of the Julian Jaynes Society
by Marcel Kuijsten and Brian J. McVeigh

Abstracts from the 2013 Julian Jaynes Society Conference on Consciousness and Bicameral Studies
by Marcel Kuijsten and James Cohn

The Minds of the Bible: Speculations on the Cultural Evolution of Human Consciousness
by Rabbi James Cohn

Thanks for the update about Julian Jaynes, I’ll stay the course on reading through the Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, second time around.  My interest had been, and is currently how we got from then,  to the present in the evolution of our mind.  Things like his speculation on the different books of the bible, such as Ecclesiastics, the author expresses a self, absent in say the book of Amos.

 
 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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03 March 2015 11:22
 

https://m.fanfiction.net/s/5647953/1/Star-Trek-The-Jelly-Men

Great story Mr. Monks!  Very entertaining.  Thanks for making it available.

 
 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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03 March 2015 20:38
 

Listening to some of Paul Farmer’s speeches on Audibles. I am intrigued by his love (in a very literal sense) of life. He’s energetically committed to saving it the way the most zealous, miserly tycoon would be with money. I assume this means he has some wisdom regarding what makes life truly valuable in the first place, so I consider it contemplative reading.

 
 
KathleenBrugger
 
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KathleenBrugger
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03 March 2015 21:23
 

Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. I don’t read much fiction, so this is a stretch for me. A friend who is a fan of DFW suggested I do a trial run with his book of essays, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, which I greatly enjoyed so I decided to go for it and read Infinite Jest. It’s challenging but worth it.

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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05 March 2015 07:18
 

About half a year ago I read Zimbardo’s. ‘The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil’
he’s the guy who came up with and ran the Stanford prison experiment. It’s a detailed retelling of the experiment, followed by his work on the Abu Ghraib soldier’s defense (which contains a bit of ranting IMO), and some outlook of his work on everyday heroism and how to train for it . (see his page: http://heroicimagination.org/welcome/ )

Now I feel like I can draw a lot of parallels between ISIS fighters and the Stanford prison guards; and it scares me shitless.

 
 
Skipshot
 
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Skipshot
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06 March 2015 04:13
 

Poilu, by Louis Barthas. A first hand account of front line trench warfare of World War I by a soldier who never rose above the rank of Corporal. He was sent to the front lines in November 1914 and was discharged in April 1918.  He survived nearly every major battle of the war with hardly a scratch while all others around him were cut to shreds.  He was educated but chose not to go continue past the age of 18. He kept a journal which accurately and without histrionics traces his time. He went home and patiently re-wrote his notebooks into a manuscript which he did not publish. His son found the writings twenty years after his father’s death and published them in the 70’s. The book was finally translated into English in 2014.

It is remarkable in that it is a rare primary source from someone of the lowest rank of the military in a field of sources flooded by generals and aristocrats.  History is usually written by the victors of the higher ranks (political, social, or military), so it is refreshing to read history from a more common ranking source.

 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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07 March 2015 00:29
 
Skipshot - 06 March 2015 03:13 AM

Poilu, by Louis Barthas. A first hand account of front line trench warfare of World War I by a soldier who never rose above the rank of Corporal. He was sent to the front lines in November 1914 and was discharged in April 1918.  He survived nearly every major battle of the war with hardly a scratch while all others around him were cut to shreds.  He was educated but chose not to go continue past the age of 18. He kept a journal which accurately and without histrionics traces his time. He went home and patiently re-wrote his notebooks into a manuscript which he did not publish. His son found the writings twenty years after his father’s death and published them in the 70’s. The book was finally translated into English in 2014.

It is remarkable in that it is a rare primary source from someone of the lowest rank of the military in a field of sources flooded by generals and aristocrats.  History is usually written by the victors of the higher ranks (political, social, or military), so it is refreshing to read history from a more common ranking source.

What an obscure reference.  I may have to check that out.

There are so many interesting stories to be found and thankfully many of those were somehow documented and preserved so we’re able to view them from the perspective a good century or so can provide.  I have such a deep fascination with WWII, for reasons I cannot explain, that it often leads me back into the history of WWI affording the opportunity to appreciate the stage that was set for the events that followed.  It never gets boring.  As horrifying as those events can be to acknowledge there’s something very satisfying about putting the pieces together and making sense of this crazy world.  I very recently found myself immersed in conversation about the role of the French in WWII.  In defense of their early capitulation of the Maginot Line my attention was drawn, once again, to General Petain who was instrumental during its construction in response to what he’d learned during WWI.  Things would eventually go awry for Petain but for those years he was highly revered. 

These stories are invaluable in showing us what it means to be human.  Things about humanity, I’ve come to think, we may only come to understand from communicating with Androids.  Or maybe Vulcans.  Or half Vulcans…

 
 
Skipshot
 
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Skipshot
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07 March 2015 15:10
 
LadyJane - 06 March 2015 11:29 PM

I have such a deep fascination with WWII, for reasons I cannot explain, that it often leads me back into the history of WWI affording the opportunity to appreciate the stage that was set for the events that followed.  It never gets boring.

WWI has origins in the Napoleanic Wars which ended in 1814, the last major war the Europeans fought before WW!.  And in between the two wars the Industrial Revolution happened, which meant they fought WWI using 100 year old tactics against modern weapons, and the old tactics didn’t work anymore.

I

LadyJane - 06 March 2015 11:29 PM

’ve come to think, we may only come to understand from communicating with Androids.  Or maybe Vulcans.  Or half Vulcans…

See attached.

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LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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07 March 2015 17:01
 
Skipshot - 07 March 2015 02:10 PM

WWI has origins in the Napoleanic Wars which ended in 1814, the last major war the Europeans fought before WWI.  And in between the two wars the Industrial Revolution happened, which meant they fought WWI using 100 year old tactics against modern weapons, and the old tactics didn’t work anymore.

That’s for sure.  When you consider the Napoleonic tactics of static artillery, infantry maneuvers and cavalry charges on an open battle field compared to the theatre of WWI with fixed lines of trenches, bunkers and new machine guns.  The brutal hard headed generals famous for sending men on horses to a certain death carried those old tactics without taking into account the new circumstances.  An approach well illustrated during the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War.  Lack of communication can be deadly.

See attached.

Who knew Sir Wilfrid Laurier so closely resembled Mr. Spock?  Thanks for the tip!  I’m gonna go find a Sharpie and draw on all my cash money now…

 
 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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19 April 2015 13:39
 

Mein Kampf.

This was a book I had avoided reading.  One of those books you glance at on the shelf and make a mental note to return to another time.  One of those books that make you cringe so you put it off until the time is right.  There’s never a good time.  You have to make the time.  When I learned recently they were binding them for sale in Germany, after a seventy year ban, I decided now was the time.

As a teenager I did not possess the level of maturity it requires to put this book in proper perspective.  (That’s still debatable I suppose.)  I had not yet established the knowledge of history to put into a proper context.  As I have watched things develop in Europe it closely resembles the very components at play prior to World War II.  When I imagine the present day youth growing up surrounded by all the hate coming from every direction, with no time or space to sift through and understand their own story, it’s very concerning to see the potential replay of one of our most deplorable moments in history.

This is what we do.  We deny the history or gloss over it and reduce everything to some superficial foot note that minimizes its effect and informs us of nothing.  All the while it stews like a pressure cooker and everything aligns in such a way that, the next thing you know, we are right back where we started repeating the same mistakes, feeling caught unawares.  We are, once again, at this very precipice.  It happens in an instant and maps are changed.

I never agree with banning books.  It makes them more attractive once they lift.  It gives them more credibility than they deserve.  The distribution of this book has been met with the emotional responses one would expect but lacks the reason one would hope.  It makes people fear and hate and judge.  People who haven’t even read it.  It’s easier to avoid its presence.  It’s easier to deny its existence.  Very much the way I glanced away from its home on the shelf all these years. 

No book should have that much power.

 
 
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