One L(ove)

June 8, 2009

Happy 60th!

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Happy 60th anniversary to Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”! The book that changed my viewpoints, principles, politics, world, and life forever. 

Currently listening to: Sonic Youth – The Eternal

Currently reading: Jim Knipfel – Unplugging Philco

Recently watched:  Otto Preminger’s “Laura”, Samuel Fuller’s “Shock Corridor”

January 4, 2009

Lightness v. Weight

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The writer Milan Kundera

The writer Milan Kundera

I found this following excerpt to be rather interesting. It’s Part I, Chapter 2 of Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being:

If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross. It is a terrifying prospect. In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. That is why Nietzsche called the idea of eternal return the heaviest of burdens (das schwerste Gewicht).

If eternal return is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all their splendid lightness.

But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid?

The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.

Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.

What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?

Parmenides posed this very question in the sixth century before Christ. He saw the world divided into pairs of opposites: light/darkness, fineness/coarseness, warmth/cold, being/nonbeing. One half of the opposite he called positive (light, fineness, warmth, being), the other negative. We might find this division into positive and negative poles childishly simple except for one difficulty: which one is positive, weight or lightness?

Parmenides responded: lightness is positive, weight negative.

Was he correct or not? That is the question. The only certainty is: the lightness/weight opposition is the most mysterious, most ambiguous of all.

Currently listening to: The Doors – Morrison Hotel

December 16, 2008

“What Is House Music?”

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Nearly 30 pages away from being done with James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain. Such an amazing novel.

Bought some really neat books and records today:

Appointment in Samarra – John O’Hara

The Wretched of the Earth – Frantz Fanon

The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir

Palace Walk (Part I of the Cairo Trilogy) – Naguib Mahfouz

Everything All the Time – Band of Horses

L.A. Woman – The Doors

Modern Times – Bob Dylan

Incredible Jazz Guitar – Wes Montgomery

One of my co-workers, who also happens to be a DJ, gave me a CD today of various house music songs on it. He wrote “What is House Music?” on it in black marker, thereby preempting me from asking him that question. “It’s really spiritual stuff, man. Don’t listen to it right away. Listen to it when you know that the time is right. When everything in your life is in harmony with the world’s essence, man.” Despite of my severe distrust for such language, something tells me that this is going to be really interesting…

Currently listening to: Band of Horses – Everything All the Time

November 17, 2008

Reading List for Winter Break

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Lilya Brik shouting Books

Lilya Brik shouting "Books"

Just came back from the bookstore and while there, looked through the journals of Allen Ginsberg. In some of his entries, he wrote down lists of books he wanted to read or had read during particular months. I thought it was neat. As the winter break approaches, here are the books piled next to my bed:

Go Tell It on the Mountain – James Baldwin

Naked Lunch – William S. Burroughs

Mother Courage and Her Children – Bertolt Brecht

Waiting for Godot – Samuel Beckett

Dubliners – James Joyce

Lawyerland – Lawrence Joseph

The Sonnets – Ted Berrigan

Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror – John Ashbery

The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry – edited by J. D. McClatchy

Overcoming Law – Richard Posner

Discipline & Punishment – Michel Foucault

History of Sexuality: An Introduction (Volume I) – Michel Foucault

The Road to Serfdom – F. A. Hayek

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism – Max Weber

The Wordly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers – Robert L. Heilbroner

No Logo – Naomi Klein

The Bretheren: Inside the Supreme Court – Bob Woodward & Scott Armstrong

A Life of H. L. A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream – Nicola Lacey

My First Summer in the Sierra – John Muir

Jazz: A History of America’s Music – Geoffrey C. Ward & Ken Burns

There’s no way in God’s good name that I can finish all these books in 3 weeks. But if I could get through most them, I will be impressed. Next semester, no matter what, I have to read at least one book in conjunction with my reading for school. Can a man ask for anything more than some precious time to himself?

Currently listening to: Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

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