Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sacrificing the Body to the Ego (Inuring Ourselves to Violence, Ctd.)

It’s common to imagine that when we celebrate or party—indulge in too much food and drink, lose sleep, etc.—we’re enslaving our nobler spirits to our base bodily desires. But the opposite is often the case, as the crucible of war … Continue reading

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Inuring Ourselves to Violence

Among Marlantes’ aims in What It Is Like to Go to War is to reflect on how we become inured to violence. (My previous posts on his extraordinary book are here and here.) Our inurement has made it increasingly easy … Continue reading

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Summer Solstice 2013

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. -Wallace Stevens Here in the Pacific Northwest today marks the first night of summer and the longest day of the year. (In other places the solstice may be tomorrow.) Today the … Continue reading

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One Shadow Side: the exhilaration of war

There is no defeating the shadow. We have to live with it. -Karl Marlantes This post continues exploring some of the themes introduced in my last post, from which the above quote is also taken. So what is the shadow we have … Continue reading

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What It Is Like to Go to War, An Introduction

When I finished Karl Marlantes‘ book What It Is Like to Go to War, I had the urge I always have after reading a really good book: to tell everyone how wonderful it is, even at the risk of being … Continue reading

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ee cummings In Lieu of Sunday School

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

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Speaking (on the Ethers) of Friendship and Dogs

There is no recipe for good conversations, but it sure helps if ingredients such as open-mindedness, curiosity, good will, and hermeneutic charity are in the mix. Conversations lacking these may be wildly entertaining, but—as all of us who listen to talk … Continue reading

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Traversing the Hermeneutic Circle

Whether we’re studying the life of a tree, the workings of the unconscious, the nature of space and time, or the meaning of a work of art, there’s some mystery in the circuitous path by which we come to understand … Continue reading

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Some Famous Marginalia

  After reading the post in which I offer some (unsolicited) advice on reading, a friend kindly sent along this link to images of pages of classic books annotated by famous authors.  The examples here show just how intense the conversation … Continue reading

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Advice for Serious Readers

I had no teachers in high school, college, or grad school who spoke in any detail about how to read and study effectively. Those were things you did at home to prepare for class; they were so obvious, apparently, that … Continue reading

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