287
   

What BOOK are you reading right now?

 
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jan, 2014 06:05 pm
@Olivier5,
AHH, Thank for you and Spain for helpin us out in that little disturbance with the Brits 230 years ago.
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Fri 17 Jan, 2014 06:25 pm
@farmerman,
We were only trying to make you look good fm. It would have been impolite to be seen to be dusting you off.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jan, 2014 06:41 pm
@farmerman,
You're most welcome, and thanks for the payback too. Smile
0 Replies
 
RonPrice
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 17 Jan, 2014 07:12 pm
MILLS and WEBER: Back then in 1959!

Part 1:

“Whether he knows it or not,” wrote sociologist C. Wright Mills, “the intellectual workman forms his own self as he works toward the perfection of his craft.”1 This workman with words achieves his highest, his finest, expression when burning passion and a cool judgement work together in the same soul. This was the view of another sociologist, the famous Max Weber. But this passion and this judgement, wrote Weber, must work together so that neither the passion nor the judgement, the intellectual guidance, lose their combined and commanding force.

Both passion and judgement need to be so blended that they can be relied upon when, in the face of the passion that may blind us, we need to gather the strength to subdue the soul; and when, in the face of a world which seems to have dashed all our hopes, we are able to say, nevertheless and immune from discouragement, we are still ready to make another effort.2

We all need to be, increasingly as the 21st century advances, people with insight and endurance who can confront the fate of the times and, instead of passively yearning and resignedly waiting, we can wholeheartedly embrace our longing, whether in science, politics or the arts, and, spurred-on by this embrace, we are able to set out to take-up the task before us. We need to be able to meet the demands of the day and, beyond that, seek to bring about the highest human possibilities in the context that is our life. It is true that obligation is first but, it is not less true that, devotion is higher.

Part 2:

We also need to experience a compulsion toward a cause, a cause felt as if one has been called to it, or to which one has been born. What we also need to experience is a kind of inner necessity stemming from love or desire, and this is something that is inwardly generated. Contrary to the compulsion stemming from fear, that stemming from love cannot, by its very nature, be imposed from without. It is part of one’s innermost being as given by nature itself; perhaps it is our own nature.

Therefore it is inescapable, and yet at the same time amenable to growth and development, as well as receptive to appropriate education, that we must become able to arouse and foster such a love or desire. It is this love which Weber summons us to find in ourselves; we must then obey its inner force. This is the daemon, wrote Weber, that holds the threads of one’s life together. The injunction ‘become who you are’ may be another way of expressing it.

This inner force or daemon is creative or productive; we need to direct it to the positive construction of something worthwhile, or to the transformation of the world. It is not simply the mere avoidance of an evil, although that is a part of this inner voice. This productive character, this inner voice, is a very complex entity, and it is usually acquired only through long and disciplined hard work. The creative acts and productions of science, politics, and the arts may come to light through this work and this character.

Part 3:

Devotion or dedication involve much more than diligence. The scholar and the teacher must not only be diligent; they must be obsessed in their devotion. The core meaning of this lies in sacrifice and giving oneself over to a cause, to the point of “perishing in that calling”.I am aware that the mere mention of ‘devotion’ or ‘dedication’ here may sound shrill, to say the least in liberal ears—those who, according to Mills, “conform to the prevailing fear of any passionate commitment.” So often the call is to moderation, and moderation cannot be denied.

What is desired, continues Mill, is the strength of mind and heart to be inwardly alive and to persevere in one’s devotion. Such a person is not only the teller of what is, is not only an autobiographical voice, buthe is also the seeker after the highest human possibilities. This person must insist that “nothing is worthy of man as man unless he can pursue it with passion.”

This passion alone is, of course, not sufficient for the achievement of one’s purpose. Much else is needed, and we are not talking here about that sterile excitement which abounds in our popular culture today, the kind that finds its way into our culture ad nauseam, with a kind of shrill voice at fever-pitch, the musical and artistic cultural inheritance of rock-and-roll and do your own-thing, where the worst are full of passionate intensity, and the ceremony of innocence is drowned.3

Part 4:

By linking biography and history, individual and society, self and world, Mills sought to show that underlying people’s experience of difficulty and anxiety, apathy and discouragement, as well as a host of troubles and issues that they confront, are the fundamental problems of reason and liberty. They are not only the imaginative sociologist’s problems but Everyman’s. –Ron Price with thanks to 1C.W. Mills, The Sociological Imagination, Oxford UP, 1959, p.196; 2 Carlos Frade, "The Sociological Imagination and Its Promise 50 Years Later: Is There a Future for the Social Sciences as a Free Form of Enquiry?" in Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, vol. 5, no. 2, 2009; and 3W.B. Yeats, quoted in Kenneth Clark, Civilization, Penguin, NY, 1969, p.246.

I joined the Baha’i Faith
the same year your book
was published C. Wright.

I was in love with baseball,
a girl around the corner, and
all sorts of stuff in that little
town, in my little world, in a
place where that complacent
trinity of Catholic, Protestant,
& Jew filled the airwaves, &
Indians were people who got
creamed by the cavalry at the
movies on Saturday afternoons
amidst candy-wrappers, kids in
the back-rows necking, popcorn,
candy-floss, ice-cream, and noise.

It seems like yesterday, and that
sociological imagination had not
even begun to come into play in my
life, just that inner necessity, the
inner voicewhich said “let’s have
as much fun as we can.” That was
what we werecalled to back then,
back in ’59 when I was starting out.

And as Yeats said, time and again:
the trouble is that there is still no
centre; there is a sort of intense &
heroic materialism, but that isn’t
enough said Mr Clark, & it is hard
to be joyful at prospects before us.1

1 Kenneth Clark, op. cit., p. 246. The closing words of his book.

Ron Price
7/5/’13 to 18/1/'14.






0 Replies
 
glitterbag
 
  4  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2014 12:04 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

Nobody's perfect...


Not so fast, I'm 2nd generation Irish and my Frenchman and I celebrate our 35th anniversary on the 1st of Feb. the French and the Irish have fine taste in spouses.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2014 10:13 am
@glitterbag,
I'm sure YOUR Frenchman displayed excellent taste in choosing his mate.
0 Replies
 
RonPrice
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2014 07:43 pm
There’s a new film on the life of the Beat poet, Jack Kerouac: On the Road. It’s directed by Brazilian filmmaker and film producer of international prominence, Walter Salles. There’s also a new book on Kerouac by American award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction, Joyce Johnson: The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac . Both are reviewed in a recent edition of The New York Review of Books, 21/3/’13.

This review in The NYRB stimulated my thoughts on Kerouac, a poet who has been in my life in one way or another since he rose to fame in the late 1950s at the same time I was the most valuable player in the Burlington midget baseball league, and when I joined the Baha’i Faith. I was the only teen-ager in this newest of the Abrahamic religions between the cities of Hamilton and Toronto in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe. I decided to put together a small collection of these thoughts, a literary retrospective, on this Beat poet. This personal retrospective is found below.

Jack Kerouac(1922-1969) was an alcoholic, and addicted to Benzedrine most of his life; he died of drink. He was a useless father and hardly a model for anything. But he was, and is, at the centre of the Beat generation. That generation's writers, it is often emphasized, should not be judged by their behaviour. In this day and age, of course, when just about everything is highly personalized, memoiristic and autobiographical, this non-judgemental attitude towards writers does not take place.
ossobuco
 
  3  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2014 08:10 pm
@RonPrice,
Hey, Ron, I get you want to be heard, and I'm a person who goes on and on myself, so I get it. But we can both overdo it. You seem to be trying to educate us.

A friend made a sharp film on Kerouac some time ago. Please click on this:
http://whathappenedtokerouac.com/

The thing is, Richie was a friend of my husband and his sometime writing partner, and I most appreciated him for the watercress in front of his place that the writing partner brought to us. Kidding. I still have the kerouac tape. No, I didn't dismiss him, just that we all were connected and just talking.
I hope Richard is ok, haven't gone around checking lately.

http://whathappenedtokerouac.com/Images/WHTK-3DD-New-Cover400.gif

They were in some film program with apparent brilliant people, another story, another time.
RonPrice
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2014 09:01 pm
@ossobuco,
If people want to read what I write, ossobuco, they are free to do so. If they don't that is fine too. I post at 100s of internet sites, have literally millions of readers. I have dozens of books now in cyberspace. I am not your occasional writer who posts little snippets for the blogosphere.

Letter writing and literary communication has taken-on a whole new context and meaning in cyberspace for me after some 50 years of writing letters in real space: 1964 to 2014. Since emails emerged by sensible and insensible degrees in the last two decades, 1994 to 2014, literary communication has been revolutionized. In some ways, this new form of literary exchange is not unlike previous decades and centuries when letter writing was one of the major forms of communication in society. At least this has become true for some writers like myself who utilize cyberspace as their central medium of publicizing their literary wares: books and ebooks, essays and posts at internet sites, narrative and expository details and accounts.

I could spend all my time now writing emails: (i) short and pithy, a line or two; (ii) of medium length, say, a paragraph or two, and (iii) long pieces of a page or more. But, since I have other literary interests, since I have reinvented myself in recent years---and am now a writer and author, poet and publisher, editor and researcher, online blogger and journalist, reader and scholar, I try to keep that form of communication, emails and letters, to an absolute minimum.

If old friends wonder why I do not send them the short and snappy emails that I used to send to them at their email address, or at their Facebook page, or at some other internet site, this is the reason. It is a reason I elaborate on in some detail in the paragraphs below. This explanation is, in part at least, part of the general articulation of my business plan, of the literary industry, of my cyberspace MO, that has come to occupy my leisure-time, my retirement years, as I head to the age of 70 in less than 7 months--on 23 July 2014.

If readers here get tired of my posts, as you indicate ossobuco, I will just retire for a week or two, or a month or a year. I do that at many places in cyberspace when people make it clear that they have had enough.-Ron
ossobuco
 
  3  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2014 09:07 pm
Nice way to skirt a link.

I'm older than you are.

Stop lecturing in a book forum.

Can you actually just talk?

RonPrice
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 12:05 am
@ossobuco,
Can you actually just write about the books you read in some detail, ossobuco? Everyone has their own style. You might not like mine, but I am not here to make everyone happy and pleased. I am here to write about books and whatever else I like. If you don't like my style just don't read me. I do this all the time and have for decades. We all can't keep everyone happy with our MO. Just ignore me if it is too much for you. I have my way and you have yours and in cyberspace, as in real life, we are not going to like everyone's MO.-Ron
roger
 
  3  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 01:47 am
@RonPrice,
But your previous post had nothing to do with what your are or have been reading. Most of your posts here have been almost books themselves.

I will take your advise on the ignore thing. Thanks for the idea.
RonPrice
 
  -2  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 06:38 am
@roger,
Very sensible of you, roger. People write about books all over cyberspace, here at this site and elsewhere. So do I. I read what others write when and where I want, and I assume others will do the same. There is little point in tiring one's mind reading stuff that is of no interest to you. I am nearly 70 now and, after decades of reading stuff I had to read, first as a student, and then as a teacher, I now read what I want and write what I want. To each their own, roger. Happy travelling down whatever literary road you take.-Ron
-----------------------------------
ATWOOD LUTHER AND ME

Margaret Atwood(1939- ) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, and environmental activist. She graduated from high school in Toronto the year I entered my last year of primary school in Burlington just 30 miles away: 1957. We are both war-babies or members of what some social scientists call the silent generation. Atwood was always about 5 years ahead of me since she was born at the start of the war, while I was born toward its end.

Considered by one generational descriptor as “cautious, unimaginative and withdrawn,” members of our generation, the war-babies, grew up in the late 1940s and 1950s at a time of social conformity and, “looking for a type of rebirth.”1 They needed a cause. Both Atwood and I only fit some aspects of this generation descriptor. We both needed a cause. For me it became the Baha’i Faith. Atwood is one of Canada’s most successful writers with more than a dozen volumes of poetry and 20 volumes of prose to her credit.

Atwood got her M.A. in 1962 in literature, the same year I finished my last year of hometown baseball, entered my last year of high school and began my travelling-pioneering for the Canadian Baha’i community in the small town of Dundas Ontario. As my teaching career developed from primary, to secondary, to post-secondary levels, and as I travelled and worked from town to town in both Canada and Australia, in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Atwood published book after book. She was catapulted to celebrity status in 1972, the first year I left Canada and began living in Australia as an international pioneer from Canada, the year I helped establish the first elected Baha’i group in the steel-port city of Whyalla South Australia.

Her book: Survival provided for Canadians like myself a wonderful insight into Canadian literature and into our very sense of identity.2-Ron Price with thanks to 1M. Nowak and D.T. Miller, The Fifties: The Way We Really Were, Doubleday & Co. Inc., N.Y. 1977, p.18; and 2Joyce Carol Oates, “Margaret Atwood’s Tale,” The New York Review of Books, 2 November 2006.

Yes, Margaret Atwood, I liked
your characterization and your
leitmotifs of Canadians about a
sense of survival….not triumph
or victory, like the Americans, &
not about those who made it….
but those who made-it-back……
I made it back, Margaret, from a
Baffin Island crash: ‘here I stand’
as Martin Luther said about half a
millennium ago at the outset of a
Protestant-German Reformation.1

1 Luther is sometimes quoted as saying: "Here I stand. I can do no other". Recent scholars consider the evidence for these words to be unreliable, since they were inserted before "May God help me" only in later versions of the speech and not recorded in witness accounts of the proceedings. -Richard Marius, Luther, Quartet, London, 1975, p.155.

Ron Price
8 January 2012
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  4  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 06:58 am
@RonPrice,
Quote:
I could spend all my time now writing emails: (i) short and pithy, a line or two;

It shows us far more talent to be able to say it succinctly than with posts that require tables of contents .
RonPrice
 
  0  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 07:07 pm
@farmerman,
"Brevity," wrote Shakespeare, "is the soul of wit." Hamlet Act 2, scene 2.
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2014 07:36 pm
@RonPrice,
That's good Ron.Keep it up.
RonPrice
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 20 Jan, 2014 03:52 am
@panzade,
I make no promises, panzade.-Ron
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jan, 2014 04:52 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
It shows us far more talent to be able to say it succinctly than with posts that require tables of contents .


Like I did with your long post on the ID/Casono thread?

Darwin contents himself with "**** happens" I suppose.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jan, 2014 04:55 am
@RonPrice,
Quote:
I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.
Blaise Paschal Provincial Letters XVI
1656
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jan, 2014 05:14 am
@farmerman,
Dang heck fm! You do arise very early in the marnin'.

Do you not know that festering in the charp pit until 10 o'clock is the greatest pleasure life has to offer?
 

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