A paragraph or even a sentence from a book is a billion times more likely than a review of the book to grow you mentally (and thus improve your life). Hence I share my highlights, not my take on the books. And, unlike probably all readers, I don’t have favourite books: I have favourite sentences. Anyway, here are this week’s highlights. Click on the book title to read a sample of the book 😉
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“The creative artist and poet and saint must fight the actual (as contrasted to the ideal) gods of our society—the god of conformism as well as the gods of apathy, material success, and exploitative power. These are the ‘idols’ of our society that are worshiped by multitudes of people.…
The battle with the gods thus hinges on our own mortality! Creativity is a yearning for immortality. We human beings know that we must die. We have, strangely enough, a word for death. We know that each of us must develop the courage to confront death. Yet we also must rebel and struggle against it. Creativity comes from this struggle—out of the rebellion the creative act is born. Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must als0 be married to the passion of the adult human being, which is a passion to live beyond one’s death. Michelangelo’s writhing, unfinished statues of slaves, struggling in their prisons of stone, are the most fitting symbol for our human condition.”
“Aside from this direct and personal dependence of the worker on the employer, he, like the whole of society, has been imbued by the spirit of asceticism and submission to extrapersonal ends which we have described as characteristic for the owner of capital. This is not surprising. In any society the spirit of the whole culture is determined by the spirit of those groups that are most powerful in that society. This is so partly because these groups have the power to control the educational system, schools, church, press, theater, and thereby to imbue the whole population with their own ideas; furthermore, these powerful groups carry so much prestige that the lower classes are more than ready to accept and imitate their values and to identify themselves psychologically.”
“In examining our knowledge of ourselves, the sages made a similar discovery. Instead of a single coherent personality, they found layer on layer of components—senses, emotions, will, intellect, ego—each in flux. At different times and in different company, the same person seems to have different personalities. Moods shift and flicker, even in those who are emotionally stable; desires and opinions change with time. Change is the nature of the mind. The sages observed this flow of thoughts and sensations and asked, ‘Then where am I?’ The parts do not add up to a whole; they just flow by. Like physical phenomena, the mind is a field of forces, no more the seat of intelligence than radiation or gravity is. Just as the world dissolves into a sea of energy, the mind dissolves into a river of impressions and thoughts, a flow of fragmentary data that do not hold together.”
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