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View Full Version : What book would you recommend & why?


sue ellen
08-11-2003, 03:00 PM
Reading the thread about what everyone is currently reading made me wonder what ONE book would you recommend and why.

It can be any book...your all time favorite or maybe the one that made the most impact on you, or perhaps just the one that is your favorite at the moment or is the most recent one you have read....whatever you want to share :)

Keith Russell
08-11-2003, 03:10 PM
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.

K

Maysun
08-11-2003, 03:19 PM
I read that, Keith - couldn't put it down - but afterwards...

The uncomfortable message I got was - only the perfect shall inherit the earth - did I get that wrong ?

You'll no doubt put me straight.

Because, see, if it's only the perfect, where will I go ?

They don't want me on the moon either:crying:


Maysun:)

Maysun
08-11-2003, 03:24 PM
Hi, Sue Ellen, just ONE book is kind of difficult.

Well...

The Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi - by Louis Fischer.


Maysun:)

Rose Queen
08-11-2003, 03:32 PM
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes (yes, that's really the title...). I don't know if his hypothesis of how consciousness arose in the human mind is accurate, but it's a fascinating read all the same.



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Maysun
08-11-2003, 03:35 PM
Both my Grandfathers were involved in my country's freedom struggle, so Gandhi, Nehru and the others were always heroes in our house.

But, aside from that, I greatly admire the man for his personal integrity and his strength - he made himself into this strong person by sheer will-power - he stood for what he believed in - and he never gave way to hate.

Maysun:)

Keith Russell
08-11-2003, 03:41 PM
Maysun, I began studying Rand's ideas in 1983, seriously in 1988, and I considered myself and 'Objectivist' until this Spring.

I have a few disagreements with Rand, and with her ideas (and they are not one and the same), but overall, Atlas Shrugged is as good a place to start learning about ideas as any other.

My disagreements are few, but significant, and to the degree that I no longer feel comfortable identifying myself as an 'Objectivist'.

Don't expect any one particular philosophy to 'replace' Objectivism in my life, either.

(As an aside, I don't believe that Rand felt that 'the perfect' would inherit the earth, just that the most rational/ambitious among us ought to be running things...)

K

Maysun
08-11-2003, 04:36 PM
Okay, but who sets the criteria for rationality/ambition ?

And how ?

Maysun

Keith Russell
08-11-2003, 05:14 PM
Maysun, one is 'rational' to the extent that one employs reason. Rand defined 'reason' as 'non-contradictory identification of the facts of reality'. So, those who are the most in touch with reality (which I define as 'everything that exists') would be--by definition--the most rational.

So, no one 'decides' who is rational, one simply observes, and identifies...

Ambition, on the other hand, is far more elusive...

K

DanaT
08-12-2003, 09:43 AM
Hmm, Keith. I agree with you that Ayn Rand is a Rational but the Rationals don't concern themselves with reality, they concern themselves with ideas.

In the Myers-Briggs quadrant, Rationals are identified with the N quotient which is associated with ideas, abstraction, possibilities, the future. Rationals are in their element when focusing on the future not the mundane tasks of the very present. The person with the S quotient on the other hand lives his life in the very real and very sensory world of the present.

It is perhaps a testament to the Rational's power of inventiveness, that they can convince themselves that they are grounded in reality when in fact, they're grounded in things that have not come to be yet. Yet a few minutes in the presence of an Artisan in the high S quotient can dispel any illusion for a Rational who previously believed he functions with reality.

Dana (by birth a Rational but now doubting its usefulness)

Maysun
08-12-2003, 11:14 AM
Originally posted by Keith Russell

So, no one 'decides' who is rational, one simply observes, and identifies...
K


Well, I'm glad no one decides. Because, I think, notions of rationality are contemporary/relative. What may seem rational to you may not be so for someone else. And you probably would have to have a really open mind not to term them therefore as 'irrational'.

And an open mind doesn't seem to have one of Ayn Rand's best attributes. I've been reading up on her and she seems to brand any viewpoint she did not share as not merely wrong, but 'irrational' or 'mystical' or 'evil'.

She scoffs the mystical in particular, but there ARE many unexplainable, miraculous things in life. I know that from personal experience. A cousin of my late grandfather was a Yogi, and when he was in deep meditation his seated body used to lift up about an inch from the ground - I'm not making this up - my grandfather, a school principal and a VERY RATIONAL individual saw this himself.

Then there is a priest here in Nasik called Gholap - in his late eighties - he can make pretty accurate predictions about the future and also helps find lost people/articles. When I was in Bombay, an old, senile neighbour one day just disappeared and no one could find him for five days, so, when the police didn't seem to come up with any clue, the family went to see this Gholap, and he said, "Don't worry. He's safe, he's been looked after. He'll be back with you at 4.40 p.m., Aug 14." And, guess what, he DID - I was there - at exactly 4.40 p.m. on Aug 14, the police brought him back from an old peoples' home which had picked him up wandering about !

Then I have an aunt in the U.S. with whom I'm not in particular close contact. One night I dreamt she had had a baby, and then the very next day we got the news - I hadn't even known she was pregnant.

Many times I just know things, if something is going to happen, if someone is going to call me. How do you explain that ?

Maybe my third eye is overactive :D :D

Anyway, what I want to say is that the Universe is a lot queerer than we can suppose and there are many different ways in which to live, so one mustn't make sweeping, absolute statements. If you don't believe something, fine, that doesn't mean it's impossible.

To get back to Rand, I'm reading an essay by Dr. Peikoff - he has a VERY good opinion about her - rather too good, in fact - next thing to God in his opinion - I don't think you should give even God that much importance.

I don't think I want to follow any particular school of philosophy. I'll shop around, pick the bits I like, maybe develop some of my own, and see how it can be put to use as my life unfolds further.

I have a new book to read, by the way, Keith - 'An Outline of Philosophy' by Bertrand Russell - read his Autobiography, was good - have you read this one ?

Maysun

Have you read anything by J. Krishnamurthi ?

Keith Russell
08-12-2003, 11:50 AM
Maysun, I can't 'explain' any of these things. To me, right now, they are claims, nothing more. I have seen no evidence, and have had no experiences, which would support these claims in any way.

They are arbitrary, so I neither reject them, nor accept them.

Remember, I use the word 'rational' to mean 'based on evidence'. You claim these things happened, and that you actually witnessed some of them. For you, thus, those claims are rational, they are supported by the evidence of your own experience.

On the other hand, the ones where you simply believe what someone else has told you, are irrational claims. You have (apparently) accepted them without evidence.

Additionally, for me, they are all arbitrary, and were I to accept any of them as true, I would be doing so without any evidence whatsoever; and that would be irrational.

Is that 'closed-minded' of me? I think that depends on who you ask. If I myself observed (or was prsented with valid) evidence supporting the validity of these claims, I am not so 'closed-minded' that I would continue to reject them.

But, I am not so 'open-minded' that I will accept the validity of any claim irrationally, based on 'faith', without a shred of evidence, on the basis of some other claim, alone.

Haven't read An Outline of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell--I'll have to check it out. (Haven't read anything by J. Krishnamurthi, either...)

Keith

Rose Queen
08-12-2003, 12:50 PM
:rolleyes: Keith, honey, is there anything you can't turn into a debate??? :D



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timelady
08-12-2003, 04:11 PM
My one book would be Shakespeare. But since the complete works is probably cheating ;) I'll just say 'King Lear'. It was one of the first I read and eventually took over my late 20s. It's a fascinating tale of sanity, madness, greed, kindness, youth, old age, loyalty and cruelty. And that's not including the fascinating textual notes which tell you the story of the history of printing and the mysteries of Shakespeare's writing (because we don't have any originals of his work). It's history, mystery, tragedy and comedy all in one.

Tina.

Keith Russell
08-13-2003, 03:22 PM
Rose, not so far...

K

Rose Queen
08-13-2003, 03:42 PM
Originally posted by Keith Russell
Rose, not so far...

K

:D :D LOL!! :D :D



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Gisele
08-14-2003, 11:24 AM
"Life and teachings of the Masters of the far east" by Baird T. Spalding

I read the french version which is the actual account of his trip (expedition) for 3 1/2 years with masters of the far east. The english version seem to be much bigger including biblical quotes; from what I read in the net.

This book is very inspiring and uplifting.

Gisele:)

Pantherlady36
08-19-2003, 12:20 PM
I think I would recommend "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley. It shows what can happen if everyone thinks alike, and the danger of what happens when society can't understand or accept the individual for his/her creativity. I couldnt imagine living in a secure world where everyone has their place and rank, and brainwashed into not reading books, creating art, or even expressing an opinion against the norm..Kinda scary I think....

Tamana
08-19-2003, 01:43 PM
"The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth"
by M. Scott Peck

or

"Somewhere in Time"
by Richard Matheson

Keith Russell
08-19-2003, 02:16 PM
Panther, have you read Orwell's 1984, Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, Silverberg's The World Inside, or Ayn Rand's Anthem?

If you liked Brave New World, you might enjoy these...

K

turri
08-19-2003, 02:18 PM
"The Joy of Work. Dilbert's Guide to Finding Happiness at the Expense of Your Co-workers" by Scott Adams. It shows how much fun one can have in cubicle and how seriously things should be taken (which is not seriously at all :) )

timelady
08-19-2003, 02:30 PM
Originally posted by Keith Russell
Panther, have you read Orwell's 1984, Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, Silverberg's The World Inside, or Ayn Rand's Anthem?

If you liked Brave New World, you might enjoy these...

K

I'd include "Day of the Triffids" John Wyndam in that list too.

Tina.

Elankat
08-19-2003, 02:37 PM
Originally posted by timelady
My one book would be Shakespeare. But since the complete works is probably cheating ;) I'll just say 'King Lear'. It was one of the first I read and eventually took over my late 20s. It's a fascinating tale of sanity, madness, greed, kindness, youth, old age, loyalty and cruelty. And that's not including the fascinating textual notes which tell you the story of the history of printing and the mysteries of Shakespeare's writing (because we don't have any originals of his work). It's history, mystery, tragedy and comedy all in one.

Tina.

Hmmm. I feel like I just stumbled across my twin, so to speak. :)

sgtaylor
08-19-2003, 04:02 PM
Only one?

Cruel and unusual punishment for a bibliophile. :(

Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

Bendaini
08-20-2003, 12:00 AM
Rhapsody: Child of the Sky

By Elezibeth Hayden (spelled wrong I am sure)

Why do I love this book? The story. Actually, it's a thrilogy. All thee books are very well done, with great world building and marvolouse char development.

The lead char, Rhapsody, goes through so much, and has to endure so many things... You wonder from one moment to a next if she will even survive to the end... It's a wonderful adventure.

timelady
08-20-2003, 05:23 AM
Originally posted by Elankat


Hmmm. I feel like I just stumbled across my twin, so to speak. :)

Ah, but are you the F twin or the Q twin? ;) Sorry, textual studies jokes. It's rather sad I admit. I'm lucky to have survived doing my masters thesis on the textual variants of Lear and came out... still liking the play! Amazing. :D Mind you, I read my thesis now and haven't got a clue how I knew all that stuff.

sgtaylor - strangely enough Moby Dick was one of the few books I didn't actually have to read in high school. I don't know how I got away with that one. I'm sure we did Melville...ah, I think we read Bartelby. Well, there's a library trip for the day. :)

Tina.

sue ellen
08-20-2003, 10:36 PM
I am getting ready to pick the book I am going to teach in American Literature this quarter and when i read that Sg listed Moby Dick I thought~ hey! maybe I should pick that one! :)

So I am starting the list of possibles with Moby Dick .

What other book did you read in High School that you look back on with that feeling that it was something special...for me it was To Kill A Mockingbird

arourapope
08-20-2003, 10:47 PM
To Kill a Mockingbird is indeed something special.
I didn't have to read Moby Dick either for some reason.
How's Eliade coming along? :)

DanaT
08-21-2003, 02:15 PM
Originally posted by aurorapope

I didn't have to read [I]Moby Dick either for some reason.


Me neither. I think we read Billy Budd.

Trilliann
08-21-2003, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by Maysun

(...)And an open mind doesn't seem to have one of Ayn Rand's best attributes. I've been reading up on her and she seems to brand any viewpoint she did not share as not merely wrong, but 'irrational' or 'mystical' or 'evil'.(...)

For those who, out of objectivity, don't give much thought to "mystical" experiences - maybe the research of Eugene G. D'Aquili and Andrew B. Newberg might be a surprise. They are not trying to prove God's existence - actually they resist that idea - they went the other way around and tried to figure out what happens in the brain of people under "deep meditation", from different cultures and religions. All they can say is that it is "real". It is real for them as this computer monitor is real for you. And not in the sense of a psychologic illusion, but physically, biologically real. Our brain is pre-wired for the mystical experience; whether it's a channel that allows us to connect to a higher plane, or a game from nature to keep us alive and struggling... that's another story.
I'm not saying theirs are great books; but it's great that someone has done this research (and for such a long time and in such depth).

I'm fortunate enough, though, to have had such concrete mystical experiences, that I can't deny God's existence. I forget, sometimes, though; then I have to make an effort and consciously remember.

I think we were made to forget. And then remember, and then forget.