Difficult Decisions

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de Silentio
 
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 06:00 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:

I think inventing words to express some meaning you have in mind would be superior to adapting some other term that closely resembles the meaning you have in mind.


Those invented words wouldn't mean to much if you wanted to pass your works on to posterity. Rather one is alone or in a society, we are communicating, either with ourselves or with others, respectively. For this communication to have meanig and value, there must be a common understanding of the 'words' used, rather they be written, spoken, gestured, or represented by pictures. Without a common understanding, meaning and value fade away.
 
Sarah phil
 
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 07:13 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Other than the Bible and dictionary, if I had to read 3 other books I treasure, over and over and over - no way. My creative ability would allow me to put the blank pages to excellent use. Show me to the island.
 
saiboimushi
 
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 10:19 pm
@dancinginchains,
If I really was stranded thousands of miles away from any other soul, I probably wouldn't feel like reading--I'd be too upset to read.

Instead, I'd pray for a giant wave to sweep me off the shore and carry me down to the bottom of the sea, where I could sleep, and thus no longer be aware of my solitude. For what need would I have of books, if there were no one around to share them with?

The only reason I ever read anything in my life was so that I could be what I thought others wanted me to be--because my awareness of their satisfaction brought me the deepest human satisfaction. The utterly anomalous idea that anything could ever be good for me, and me alone, regardless of what it did for others--that idea came much later in life, along with a desert-island loneliness that only readers can know.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 12:21 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:
Those invented words wouldn't mean to much if you wanted to pass your works on to posterity. Rather one is alone or in a society, we are communicating, either with ourselves or with others, respectively. For this communication to have meanig and value, there must be a common understanding of the 'words' used, rather they be written, spoken, gestured, or represented by pictures. Without a common understanding, meaning and value fade away.


First, all words are at some point invented. I also gave the example of Aldous Huxley who made a habit of inventing words, which certainly caused no harm to either his ability to communicate nor his place in history. Not to mention my suggestion of giving some explanation as to the meaning of the word, especially if context might be insufficient for a reader to grasp meaning.

Quote:
Other than the Bible and dictionary, if I had to read 3 other books I treasure, over and over and over - no way. My creative ability would allow me to put the blank pages to excellent use. Show me to the island


Why just the Bible and a dictionary? Don't get me wrong, I think the Bible is a wonderful choice, and I understand your choice about the dictionary. But what about a book like the Tao Te Ching, or the Upanishads?

Quote:
Instead, I'd pray for a giant wave to sweep me off the shore and carry me down to the bottom of the sea, where I could sleep, and thus no longer be aware of my solitude. For what need would I have of books, if there were no one around to share them with?


What if, at the end of the decade's isolation, you would be reunited with your own society?
 
dancinginchains
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 01:27 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
What if, at the end of the decade's isolation, you would be reunited with your own society?


Why wait a decade when I can choose 3 survival guides, a 1700 page OED dictionary for fire paper, and a first aid book for my five books, survive for however long it takes me to build myself a raft, sail off shore and out to sea, and likely find some sort of human contact in probably less than a decade? If I do that chances are I'll reunite with my society in much less than 10 years and I can publicly broadcast via television and the Internet, to whoever got the bright idea to maroon me there, making plain to them where they can pucker up!

I'm much more fond of that idea.Very Happy
 
saiboimushi
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 01:30 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Then, praying for good weather, I would probably bring along Science and Health, The Bible, Plato, Aristotle, and Shakespeare.
 
Sarah phil
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 06:37 am
@Didymos Thomas,
the Bible for conjuring up images to create on the blank paper I have; the dictionary for "a word a day" - time passages. blank pages to tell my story.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2008 07:18 pm
@Sarah phil,
You can just write a glossary as you make up your own words.
And since I already know I have bad firestarting skills I'd bring the 5 thickest books with the largest pages i could find and use them for kindling.
 
Sarah phil
 
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2008 08:21 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Burning books? Not really!
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2008 04:27 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
The Upanishads
Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky
Remember that this is a stranding on a desert island. I'd suggest that instead of The Upanishads you bring the Ganguli translation of the Mahabharata. It's more than 5000 pages long, an AMAZING epic poem, and best of all the Bhagavad Gita is the actual climax of the epix. So you get your core Hindu text in the Gita, you get one of the world's great epic poems, and you get a LOT of reading in there.

And I'd suggest that instead of Crime and Punishment you bring The Brothers Karamazov instead. I've read both of these books at least three times each (as well as most of Dostoyevsky's other writing), and I think Karamazov lends itself more to rereading. It's a much more complicated book, with probably the most masterful psychology, character development, and philosophical dialogue of any book ever written in the history of the universe. It's amazing -- in the same book Dostoyevsky has one character present the Grand Inquisitor, which is a bitingly cynical view of Christianity, and a different character (the Elder Zosima) has his memoirs which are a glorious celebration of Christianity. Dostoyevsky perfects the truly good character (Alyosha) that he didn't get quite right in The Idiot, and in Ivan and Dmitri he presents different angles on the truly tortured, self-destructive, imperfect characters that we love in Raskolnikov and in the "Underground Man."
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2008 05:53 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Great suggestions. I have to admit, with some degree of shame, I've not read The Brothers Karamazov, despite the consistently high praise. Certainly need to.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2008 07:41 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
The Brother's Karamazov needs to be regarded with achievements like Hamlet, or Beethoven's 9th Symphony, etc. It's the greatest masterpiece of a mature genius: peerless, patient, and in complete control of his expression.

It's an interesting contrast with his Notes from Underground, which was Dostoyevsky's first truly great novel. Underground is only 140 pages, it's one of the seminal works of modern thought, and a mind-blowing illustration of the "modern" man. The nameless main character stands in such brutal contrast to the rationalist ideal of every thinker since Descartes, and this character is far more plausible. It embodies what Freud and Jung tried to understand analytically, and it presages the stream of consciousness in the main body of modernism (authors like James Joyce and William Faulkner and others). It's another must-read. The first 40 pages are a dizzying philosophical rant by the Underground Man, and the next 100 pages are an account of a day in his life.

You can see how sort of impetuous Dostoyevsky was with Underground as compared with Karamazov -- Underground is just as brilliant, but it's also much more lean, it's more like a big short story that explodes what will end up being a mere facet of Karamazov. And the other two great novels, The Idiot and Crime and Punishment work towards the mastery that he achieves in Karamazov.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2008 09:14 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:

and in Ivan and Dmitri he presents different angles on the truly tortured, self-destructive, imperfect characters


Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Ivan guide himself stricly by reason and Dmitri guide himself by passions?

As I was reading your post, I thought of this.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2008 01:56 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Neither one is rational. Ivan is a rationalist, but he's not actually rational when it comes down to the way he thinks. He falls in love with Dmitri's fiancee Katerina Ivanovna, of course creating a strange love triangle (since Dmitri is already cheating on Katerina anyway). Ivan is a viciously dark person, and he plainly despises his father. And of course Ivan is the one who writes The Grand Inquisitor, which is one of the great indictments of both religion and human reason in all of literature.

Dmitri is the one who takes after his father the most, he's sort of a lech and he gambles and drinks, he's impulsive, and he's openly hostile to his father (which is why suspicion for the murder falls on him).
 
Sarah phil
 
Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2008 04:00 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Go on Aedes! Thus is life!
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2008 05:21 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
The Brothers Karamazov is definitely a book that needs to be read more than once. I forgot about Ivan's love for Katerina.

I did see how Dmitri was an image of his father, which is funny because he was raised by Gregory. However, I thought Dmitri had as much animosity for his father as Ivan did, but they had different motivators. I think Dmitri's hatred stemmed from hatred of himself, while Ivan's stemmed from hatred of the type of life.

Again, please do correct me if I'm wrong.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2008 07:39 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Yes, Dmitri utterly loathed his father, and in fact threatened to kill him, which is part of the reason why he became the main suspect after the murder happened. Smerdyakov hated him too, of course, but in a more indolent way. Alyosha did not, I don't think, but then again Alyosha Karamazov is the character that Dostoyevsky couldn't quite create in Prince Myshkin (from The Idiot), i.e. the truly good person (and how hard a life one has if one is truly good).

It's been a year or two since I've read the book last, maybe I should read it again sometime soon to refresh my memory about their motives. I did just reread Notes from Underground a couple months ago -- just amazing.
 
philosopherqueen
 
Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2008 07:54 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
It's a hard decision but I'd have to bring
1)An astronomy book (So, that I can learn about and look at the beauty in the night sky)
2)Pride and Prejudice
3)LOTR TRILOGY
4) "
5) "
 
 

 
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