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Tractatus philosophicus

What I would like to do is use the time that is coming now to talk about some things that have come to mind. We're in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day- to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it's all gone.

The above is a quote from one of my favourite books, Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I first read sometime in the 80s and have recently re-read for the umpteenth time. And I can't help but agree with this observation of his, especially when faced with the drivel I've been writing in this lj for the last 8 months. I wish I had it in me to write about the things that really matter, the big questions of life and death, in a well thought out, concise, and maybe slightly quirky way...scratch that, I wish I could just write!

Because contrary to what you may have been led to believe, I have a brain. Admittedly, not a very good one, or I would have been able to bring this notion across without having to state it so explicitly (and hope that you believe me, because I don't think I have any real proof to offer). I majored in two disciplines, cum laude even, and minored in a great many others, Philosophy being one of those.

So I can't help but be attracted to books with a certain philosophical focus or interest to them. Even if they're incomplete, such as Zen... which ignores all of the philosophical debates of the last century; or downright simplistic, such as Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World that all the world and his wife were reading a couple of years ago, and praised to the heavens. I like them dry and factual -though not too dry and factual-, such as my first year's textbook by the eminent philosopher Sir Bertrand Russell himself, The History of Western Philosophy which I have no qualms about reading again; or fictionalised, such as Bruce Duffy's 1987 debut The World As I Found It, which is a novelisation of the life and philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. I've read Nietzsche and Thomas Aquinas, Sartre and Erasmus, Thomas More and Kant; Descartes and Plato.
What's more, I can even recall a few of their concerns, arguments and expostulations. What I can't do, however, is write about it, or what it taught me, in any kind of non-shallow way. And today, that bugs me.

I may feel differently tomorrow, though.

Comments

( 3 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
diachrony
Dec. 18th, 2003 01:41 pm (UTC)
I've been wanting to get a chance to respond to this post, just because I love talking about books, and because I also wish I had the focus to write interesting, philosophical, and slightly quirky LJ entries. I'll have an entertaining train of thought, of course, when I'm not in a position to be typing it up, and then when I do have the time at the computer, I'll be tired and easily distracted.

I've always had "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" in the back of my head as one of those interesting books I should really get around to someday. When I was about 12, I had the opportunity, but no interest because the "motorcycle" bit in the title turned me off.

I read Thomas More's "Utopia" for fun in high school (we don't get good stuff like that as assigned reading in public HS in America) but have not read the other philosophers you mention. My brother's been pushing me toward Nietzsche. Another one on that mental list of "someday must-reads"!

gamiila
Dec. 19th, 2003 02:54 am (UTC)
I've been wanting to get a chance to respond to this post, just because I love talking about books, and because I also wish I had the focus to write interesting, philosophical, and slightly quirky LJ entries.

Ah! it's good to know I'm not the only one who feels like this at times! Now all I've got to do, is stop wishing, and start writing...and talk about books.

I'll have an entertaining train of thought, of course, when I'm not in a position to be typing it up, and then when I do have the time at the computer, I'll be tired and easily distracted.

Exactly. Or...you do type it up, and LJ suddenly decides to eat your words! All your brilliant, witty exposé, lost forever and no way to get it back again. You rail against the cybergods: "Why me? Why now? Why?" -- but you never get an answer...

Zen... is one of those books you either love despite its flaws, or loathe because of it. Try it; it'll be interesting to hear what you think of it.

Reading Utopia for fun? I thought only I was that daft! :-)
diachrony
Dec. 19th, 2003 09:52 am (UTC)
Heh. "Utopia" was really interesting, but I can't say I remember anything after all this time. It was something I picked up at the Salvation Army shop for something like 50 cents. (I could have gotten "The Story of O" at the same time, but I wimped out!)

The first time I typed up my GotR concert post, LJ ate the entire thing. I had to start all over from scratch, but the second time, I typed it offline in email and saved it before posting it in LJ.

As a matter of fact, I have gotten into the habit of copying and (temporarily) saving my posts before I hit "enter" in LJ, just to be on the safe side. If it's eaten, then I can just paste what I saved into a new window. Sometimes if it's a long one I'll email it to myself first, also. Then if everything's peachy on LJ, I'll delete the email.

I know authors have lost some ficlets because of the LJ post-eating monster!
( 3 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )

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