I've been reading Kingdom of Fear by Hunter S. Thompson the last two days. I wasn't sure I'd like it after reading a couple pages, but it has turned into one of my favorites. I certainly don't agree with many aspects of his life and behavior, yet I feel some sort of kinship with him. He's very much a libertarian who enjoys bucking the system and messing with the order of things, and I love that. And, for the most part, I heartily agree with him in regards to politics and social issues. While reading last night, a couple passages struck me as very apt for the climate of this country nowadays, even if it was written seven years ago. I think he could see this country falling apart far before anyone else did.

We have seen Weird Times in this country before, but the year 2000 is beginning to look super weird. This time, there really is nobody flying the plane... We are living in dangerously weird times now. Smart people just shrug and admit they're dazed and confused. The only ones left with any confidence at all are the New Dumb. It is the beginning of the end of our world as we knew it. Doom is the operative ethic.

We live in dangerous times. Our armies are powerful, and we spend billions of dollars a year on new prisons, yet our lives are still ruled by fear. We are like pygmies lost in a maze. We are not at War, we are having a nervous breakdown.

Those last two sentences sum up what I think about the upcoming election, the state of this world, and the role of the US in everything. We are like pygmies lost in a maze. We are not at War, we are having a nervous breakdown. And everyone out there screaming about change and holding up the little Obama or Hillary or McCain signs are the New Dumb. I don't think any of them can change anything. Things are going down the tubes fast and all I can think to do is keep my head down and try to avoid getting blown apart in the explosions. Congress is too corrupt to allow a President to change much of anything at all. They'll let him/her make it worse, but certainly not better.
From Shikasta by Doris Lessing:

The old watch the young with anguish, pain, fear. Above all what each has learned is what things cost, what has to be paid, the consequences and results of actions. But their own lives have been useless, because nothing they have learned can be passed on. What is the point of learning so much, so painfully, at such a cost to themselves and to others (often the offspring in question) if the next generation cannot take anything at all from them, can accept nothing as "given," as learned, as already understood?

And these old ones who have lived through everything know very well that every horror is possible and indeed inevitable, but the young are feeling that well, perhaps, it will be all right after all.

The old live waiting, longing, for the young to come to their senses and understand they personally have so little time left, and the planet has so little time left: "For God's sake! There is no time left, no time left for you, and not for us either, while you peacock about and play little games..."
I've been reading Shikasta by Doris Lessing. I didn't really begin enjoying it until I was about thirty pages in, but everything beyond that is golden. It is one of those novels that gives you so much food for thought that you aren't exactly sure what to start with first.

Shikasta is an Earth-like planet which a benevolent alien civilization has taken an interest in. Because it is a rather timely, considering the upcoming Presidential election this year, I thought I might post this quote:

The qualities prized in "public servants" on Shikasta were, almost invariably, the most superficial and irrelevant imaginable, and could only have been accepted in a time of near total debasement and falseness. This was true of all sects, groupings, "parties": for what was remarkable about this particular time was how much they all resembled each other, while they spent most of their energies in describing and denigrating differences that they imagined existed between them.

I've said this before, but not quite so elegantly or concisely. It's why I refused to state a party when I registered to vote. I dislike both parties equally, and they both have the same motive in mind: to control my life and perpetuate themselves at the cost of freedom and harmony. They just have different methods of getting there.
anogete: (Close V)
( Oct. 16th, 2007 02:35 pm)
I've been reading The Farthest Shore, one of the Earthsea novels by Ursula K. Le Guin. I started it yesterday, but I'll likely finish it this evening. At any rate, I found this wonderful quote within it.

"Try to choose carefully, Arren, when the great choices must be made. When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are." (Chapter Three: Hort Town of The Farthest Shore)
I'm reading Promise of the Witch-King by R.A. Salvatore. It's extremely good. I'm sure my love of it stems from the fact that Jarlaxle is one of the main characters.

The bit I just read deals with daydreaming. I thought Jarlaxle's thoughts on the subject were interesting enough to post here.

A bit of background, if you'd like to read the excerpt... Jarlaxle is a drow (similar to an elf, but with black skin). His race lives underground in elaborate cities where men are considered to be the lesser sex. They also have a reputation for being cold-hearted killers who like to plot and scheme. They are universally feared by all other races. Jarlaxle is an oddity in the the drow culture. He's dangerous and highly intelligent, but he is not cruel. He's also a bit of a dandy. He left the Underdark and started a life on the surface with an assassin he's acquainted with. The assassin, Entreri, begrudgingly becomes friends with Jarlaxle. Entreri is human and has spent his life as a killing machine, placing his self-control and competence above entanglements of relationships, be they romantic or simply friendly. This is a conversation Jarlaxle and Entreri have in the ninth chapter.

But those who dream by day... those, my friend, are the troublesome ones. )
First of all, damn all of you who have already seen The Order of the Phoenix. I'm not going until Saturday night. I had to smooth talk my way into getting Jason to accompany me. He's not exactly a huge HP fan, though he enjoys the movies with a passing interest. Everything I've heard has sounded fantastic - especially the tone of the movie. I'm not going to fret too much over inconsistencies with the novel or things that have been left out.

I started reading After the Long Goodbye by Masaki Yamada last night. It's actually a reasonably short tale that takes place between the first Ghost in the Shell movie and the second, Innocence. From what I've read thus far, it appears to be more of an in-depth character study of Batou than anything else. At the core of the story is the disappearance of Batou's dog, Gabriel. In Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Batou goes through long scenes without showing emotion. His behavior and mental state is shown in contrast to Gabriel, who shows so much more depth of feeling, despite being a dog.

The prologue of the novel made me tear up last night. I believe it was a combination of the beautiful simplicity of the statements (perhaps due to the translation from Japanese?) and my own mental state at the time. It speaks of the (imminent) death of a dog in an oblique sort of way, which struck me because of what happened earlier this week with Bean. It's rather short, so I typed it up for anyone interested in reading it.

all i have is my dog gabriel. i have no friends, no lover. )

Beyond my interest in Batou as a character, I also found a great deal of information about cyberized bodies in the first chapter of the novel. I'm very happy I decided to pick it up, seeing as how it has cleared a few things up for me. Plus, (being shallow here) it's bound as a beautiful, little white hardback. Psalm 139 is printed in red ink on the cover beneath the dust jacket. Shirow Masamune (the creator) and Yamada (the author) both contributed to an afterward on the meaning of the novel and the second film.
anogete: (me 2)
( Sep. 19th, 2006 09:09 am)
I :heart: Frank Herbert. The fantabulous quote below is from God Emperor of Dune. I would suggest that every politician be required to read the Dune novels, but that would give them too many ideas. Perhaps it's best that we keep them away from the true knowledge.

"The patterns, ahhh, the patterns. Liberal bigots are the ones who trouble me most. I distrust the extremes. Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat. It's true! Liberal governments always develop into aristocracies. The bureaucracies betray the true intent of people who form such governments. Right from the first, the little people who formed the governments which promised to equalize the social burdens found themselves suddenly in the hands of bureaucratic aristocracies. Of course, all bureaucracies follow this pattern, but what a hypocrisy to find this even under a communized banner. Ahhh, well, if patterns teach me anything its that patterns are repeated."

meme from yuki_buffy )
anogete: (jarboe)
( Mar. 24th, 2006 08:37 pm)
G'Kar is my favorite character on Babylon 5 thus far. I've watched all but the last six episodes of the first season. I'm addicted. It's all downhill from here.

Anyway, G'Kar says the most interesting things. I was looking for a quote of his from halfway through the first season and came across this one:

"If I take a lamp and shine it toward the wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth... for understanding. Too often, we assume that the light on the wall is God, but the light is not the goal of the search, it is the result of the search. The more intense the search, the brighter the light on the wall. The brighter the light on the wall, the greater the sense of revelation upon seeing it. Similarly, someone who does not search - who does not bring a lantern - sees nothing. What we perceive as God is the by-product of our search for God. It may simply be an appreciation of the light... pure and unblemished... not understanding that it comes from us. Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe - God looks astonishingly like we do - or we turn to look at our shadow and assume that all is darkness. If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose, which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty and in all its flaws; and in so doing, better understand the world around us."

EDIT: [livejournal.com profile] donttouchmyhat7 mentioned Plato and it reminded me of Plato's The Allegory of the Cave. Connections.


anogete: (Default)


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