Behind

I must admit, I am behind on these posts and in my reading. Anyways, here are two books that I read, The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre and the Epic Of Gilgamesh, the R.K. Sanders edition.

I was not a fan of the Bishop’s Man in particular, though it did give me a different perspective on clergy in the Canadian context, and how one perceives the entire idea of loneliness that many clergy must take up. I often thought it was something sought after, but now I am of the mindset it is a difficult challenge. Here is one particular quote that resonated with me from the book:

…words in the absence of action are meaningless. Someday, I’ll dare to say that somewhere. page 49.

Don’t get me wrong. The book was quite good, but my mind was on other things while I was reading it. I highly recommend it nonetheless.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, a story with many similiarties to the Greek Odyseus, the Greek Hercules, the Judeo-Christian shared flood and creation stories, as well as the serpent jeopardizing man’s life. It is seen as really the first story from the first civilization of Uruk, or Ur, but this is a highly contentious fact and I am not here to argue. What I am here to say is that this story was enjoyable, and the repition common in these type of previous oratory stories is marvelous. Here is some parts I enjoyed in it:

100-You will never find the life for which you are searching.This was Shamash speaking of Gilgamesh’s ultimate upcoming demise and failed travels. Gilgamesh’s response: How that I have toiled and strayed to far over  the wilderness, am I to sleep, and let the earth cover my head for ever? Let my eyes see the sun until they are dazzled with looking. Although I am no better than a dead man, still let me see the light of the sun.

When I read that, I think I mirrored the cartoon-jaw on the floor image. I mean, yes, I have heard things like that before. But when one reads something in a book, it is as if the authors are bestowing lessons that it took them years to come to, and you get it in a second. It is like Kurt Vonnegut says in Breakfast of Champions regarding anger and art. I will not spoil that scene, but it is equally good. Regarding Gilgamesh’s struggle to continue, I am amazed. Gilgamesh does die (spoiler?) but I have learned something here. These Sumerian authors taught me something I should take in with strides concerning my next failures, continue. Do not just rest in the Earth. For even Gilgamesh says, We shall all return to dust some day.

 

On another note, since I haven’t been so active on the blog, I had to be doing something else. I did a poem, so here it is! Enjoy:):

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The Plague – Albert Camus

I was wondering how I should honour each book I read, each author that passes through my fingertips, each page that speaks to my tipy-toes and I decided with a very short summary followed by a quote: So here goes.

The Plague captured the change of a small Algerian town during the plague, and I do not think I could have been more challenged emotionally and philosophically. Dictated by a narrator unknown until the final chapter, it serves as a reminder that even in the most chaotic of moments, people are still people. What do I mean by that? Well read the book.

Here is a quote that gives a good feel to the book on page 140: The plague was no respecter of persons and under its despotic rule everyone, from the governor down to the humblest delinquent was under sentence, and perhaps for the first time impartial justice reigned in the prison.

Throughout the book, the small town is put under lock-down, and it mirrors the “world is a prison” ethos from Hamlet. But the book grabs at something deeper, something perhaps more implicit. Throughout the novel the characters witness their own sickness, their own plagues, and that they may never truly heal from. This idea allows me to conclude on a final point, “calamity opens your eyes.” This book is teeming with eye-opening analysis which relates to the reader in any calamity or hardship. And since I am going through one right now, Dr. Rieux and I can relate.

Failure

I have made many mistakes. Recently, I made the biggest mistake of my life, resulting, in perhaps, the deepest failure I have ever encountered. Yet the usage of the word deep may puzzle some people and so let me elaborate – I am at the bottom of Marianas Trench. I feel terrible right now, as if all around me were walls. As if I was a mime made out of cardboard, I feel trapped, I cannot climb, I cannot yell, I can only wait. I doubt the existence of rock bottom, because I think hell at least gives you a position. My position? Purgatory.

And as I wallow and regret, my first ever regret, my misfortune, I have had some sudden moment of clarity. Honesty. But perhaps more specifically, the honesty in knowledge. And so, I return to this blog, perhaps better stated as a diary to announce to my self externally, read 200 books. It doesn’t matter which, but read 200 of them, and make a short summary of each on this blog. So here is to failure, challenges, and the truth that may fall underneath my eyes.

Oskar

Palm Reader

I guess this poem can answer cake vs pie. It is so damn poetic the answer can only be known by the most keen ear. More likely though, I think this might be able to virtues I abhor, mainly people looking towards the future as if tomorrow is the place to be. In actuality, today is the day we should care about, like David Hume said, the sun may not rise tomorrow. Of course I am paraphrasing but heck, smile, we got today and who knows about tomorrow? Cheers readers (2 of you!)

Music that moves me

I am no expert on music. If you were to listen to my I-pod, which does not exist, you would find it filled with songs I heard once as a child and then forgot only to hum in the bathroom years later. Nonetheless, poetry has been always something I have adored and lyrics is often meant to be poetry, of course negating rap lyrics like: “ooo baby i want your fluff muff into my apple snider.” I am not sure what the kids listen to nowadays, but I attempted a song/poem by using one of my poems and matching it to a song entitled Same Stars We Shared by Amatorski. The poem has the title of, A Star Dying. I hope you enjoy it!

Huo Yuanjia

In order to catch up, even more scant than my post about my favourite book, which I did not do justice, I will quickly answer this question. My 1-view a-day-viewer will be pleased nonetheless I hope. WATCH JET LI’S FEARLESS. It isn’t your old run in the mill martial arts movie. It has a great plot, great fighting scenes, beautiful scenery, and the character development in it is wonderful. Don’t believe me? Watch it. Don’t take my words as proof of anything, they are meaningless. But the movie isn’t. It will be worth your time. It will get you many girls/boys/good grades/medical school. Not convinced yet? Oh well… I will do a measly poem for the next topic, don’t worry.

The Not-So Satanic Verses

Now I am lacking poetic prowess to describe my love for theology. Despite my own humanistic views, religion has always been something I have adored for its mystical cannons and books. No two religions are alike, and that is the magic behind them. Of course, the arguments that ensue after reading a certain holy scripture or text are even more spectacular. A book that captures the very essence of this polemic idea is The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie. Without selling my soul to the literary devil, it is about a portion of the prophet Muhammad’s life, and two present day heroes/villains. It has both elements I mentioned earlier, the mystical religious side, as well as the controversy and argument that ensues from such taboo topics. I am sure you have heard, or read, or forgotten about the fatwa issued on Salman Rushdie’s life and it is directly due to this book. Muslims said it was slanderous, and wanted the author dead. Regardless, this book is wonderfully mystical, masterly crafted, and I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. No matter your denomination of religion, it holds many truisms that are good to remember in a growing secular world. To the critics who say the book is taboo, I respond with Heinrich Heine’s famous adage, “Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.” What this book can offer is an important lesson on religion. It is mystical, not all of it can be 100% accurate, and can definitely not be understood completely by anyone, EVER, and those who believe they understand it are foolish as heck. Moreover, it shows that every book has critics, as does every blog, and you can’t make everyone happy. But you can sure make an entire religion hate you. Last but not least, well, still last… I will end with a portion of the book I like. It is a massive quotation, I know, I can see that. But I hope it will give you the inspiration to pick up the book, if not, oh well:

“Question: What is the opposite of faith? Not disbelief. Too final, certain, closed. Itself a kind of belief. Doubt. The human condition, but what of the angelic? Halfway between Allahgod and homosap, did they ever doubt? They did: challenging God’s will one day they hid muttering beneath the Throne, daring to ask forbidden things: antiquestions. It is right that. Could it not be argued. Freedom, the old antiquest. He calmed them down, naturally, employing management skills à la god. Flattered them: you will be the instrument of my will on earth, of the salvationdamnation of man, all the usual etcetera. And hey presto, end of protest, on with the halos, back to work. Angels are easily pacified; turn them into instruments and they’ll play you a happy tune. Human beings are tougher nuts, can doubt anything, even the evidence of their own eyes. Of behind-their-own-eyes. Of what as they sink heavy-lidded, transpires behind closed peepers… angels, they don’t have much in the way of a will. To will is to disagree; not to submit, to dissent. I know; devil talk.”

What does Oskar Niburski, one of the greatest scholars of our time, understand better than you, your brother, your sister, your parents, your dog, your cat, your cousin, your bicycle, your mirror, basically every person you have ever met in your life and ever person you will ever meet, which is to obviously include the world’s population past, present and future without disregarding the plethora of other life forms such as but not limited to insect, bird, apalone mutica, lion, tiger, bear, oh-mni-…vore, porifera, vegetarian, carnivore, omelet or dandelion.

Nothing.