Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Autumn Reading Summary (part 2)

Vivekananda said: "We put our hands over our eyes and weep that it is dark."

Here are a few more snippets from what I've been reading lately. I promise that my next "Reading Summary" installment will be more focused, with longer passages of text and probably a single author. Until then, peruse the following...

First, I've been reading through the intellectual journaling of an online author named Daniel (starting with the oldest entries and working forward from there). Here's a few excerpts, each with a link to its origin, for context.

"...From there I realized that the more fundamentalist the basis for a person's stance on certain issues, the less interested he is in being objective to reality..." click

"When I was a Christian I read Christian books to find out the Christian views on all things non-Christian. How quickly my knowledge turned on me once I decided to learn of issues for what they are, as opposed to what all Christians want them to be." click

"The most serious demand for unquestioned belief is, of course, the atonement..." click

"...The more desperate one becomes for the very voice of God, the literal words from His heart and mind [that would best answer] our unique questions, the louder that silence becomes..." click

"Either God elects or he does not, but the surest way to reveal that he doesn't is for Christians to acquire their flock by indoctrination." click

Also, here's a quote that Amy and I both liked: "Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches, as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found."
Miguel de Unamuno

She and I also just read through a novel by Hermann Hesse, called Demian. First, two quotes from the pen of the main character, and then two quotes from the mouth of his mysterious friend, whom the novel is named after.

Emil Sinclair wrote, "All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?"

And later, he wrote, "And very many are hung up for good on this reef and for the rest of their life cling painfully to the irretrievable past, to the dream of the lost paradise, which is the worst and most murderous of all dreams."

Once, Max Demian said to Emil, "They cling to ideals that no longer count, and they cast stones at everyone who proclaims a new one."

At a different time, Max also told him, "Only the thoughts that we live out have any value. You knew that your 'permissable world' was only half the world, and you tried to hide away the second half from yourself, the way clergymen and teachers do. You won't succeed! No one can do that when he has once begun to think."

If these brief glimpses (from a story about a two-world dichotomy, and a journey of individuation and finding one's self) spike your interest, Demian is a pretty short novel that can be obtained on the cheap, or for free at your local library. Or, because Project Gutenberg is so wonderful, you could read Siddhartha, which is probably Hesse's best-known work.

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