Wednesday, October 23, 2013

While Unpacking Books at Our New Home - Thoughts from Hermann Hesse

After six weeks of living with family, we are finally in our home in Collierville, TN and we unpacking and arranging things.  I've kept some of my books for forty years now and am once again wondering about throwing some of them away.  I picked up one by Hermann Hesse just now.  He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946.  The book is Magister Ludi, which originally I read in 1973. Had not looked at it since then and as it was about to be tossed into the recycle pile I accidentally noticed a few things I'd underlined back when I was 22 years old.  Late in the book the main character describes a man he knew who I think fits with a model human from Hesse's perspective.

Granted there are those among us who are to easily satisfied, who enjoy a sham serenity; but in contrast to them we also have men and generations of men whose serenity is not playful shallowness, but earnest depth.  ..  In the last years of his life this man possessed the virtue of serenity to such a degree that it radiated from him like the light from a star; so much that it was transmitted to all in the form of benevolence, enjoyment of life, good humor, trust and confidence.  It continued to radiate outward from all who received it, all who had absorbed its brightness.... 
Even though whole peoples and languages have attempted to fathom the depths of the universe in myths, cosmogonies, and religions, their supreme, their ultimate attainment has been this cheerfulness.

I think I'll hold onto this book and give it another read.  Don't remember my 22 year old self being impressed with that but I'm glad to have come across it now.  There is something of value there. Previously on this blog I quoted extensively from something Hesse wrote about trees.  That one has stayed with me consciously for all these years.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Month Away from Knoxville

We've been living out of a suitcase for over a month since leaving Knoxville.  We are bouncing around between family members.  Haven't had much time to read.  One more week to go.  Ready to get settled.  Life is different.  How does where you live affect who you are and what you believe?  I've attended several churches recently.  I plan to visit a lot of churches.  There are a zillion here in Memphis with all kinds of cool names like "Truth and Grace" , "Heartsong", "Ram in the Bush", etc.  Churches are changing and life is changing from what it was even in the early 2000's and we often do not realize it.  Personal computers are a thing of the past, they are on the way out.  My tower sitting below me is a fossil now.  And I have less control than I did of my computer.  It decides when and how to upgrade and add "security."  In my smart phone I cannot tell when an application is closed and when it is not.  In its browser I cannot go back and then forward.  Things changing so fast it is hard to keep up.  I've got a Tumblr account.  Just getting started with it and not sure how it works.  I'll try this link:

Which contains this from the Tumblr microblog by emergentdigitalpractices.

“I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
(Hat Tip to Lynn Schofield Clark)

And my response is that this has been one of the ongoing themes of my life.  I noticed it while I was young, how older folks had a problem with new things, and promised myself I would not be like that.  Well, I have caught myself reacting as in number 3 from time to time.  I try to recognize it and overcome it.  It is a constant battle.

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