belief

Homo Deus (book 11 of 12)

Homo Deus (book 11 of 12)

December 26, 2019
/ /
in Tip
/

“I encourage all of us, whatever our beliefs, to question the basic narratives of our world, to connect past developments with present concerns, and not to be afraid of controversial issues.” 

Thus Yuval Noah Harari starts Homo Deus, the book after Sapiens, followed by 21 lessons for the 21st century, a book I plan to read next year.

“The physicist Max Plank famously said that science advances one funeral at a time. He meant that only when one generation passes away do new theories have a chance to root out old ones. This is true not only of science.”

Homo Deus gave me some good tankespjärn I must admit. The historical retrospection into religion and science is thought-provoking and aha-generating at the same time, and the way Harari shines a light on the past, present and future make this a book well worth reading.

“Science is not just about predicting the future, though. Scholars in all fields often seek to broaden our horizons, thereby opening before us new and unknown futures. This is especially true of history. Though historians occasionally try their hand at prophecy (without notable success), the study of history aims above all to make us aware of possibilities we don’t normally consider. Historians study the past not in order to repeat it, but in order to be liberated from it.”

My copy of the book is filled with my notes in the margins, pertaining to many a different subject.
School. Religion in juxtaposition to science. Humanism. Artificial Intelligence.
Colonialism. Spirituality. Terrorism. Energy consumption.

“People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.”

Everything does change. And so I greatly enjoy reading books such as this one, that span the longer arcs of history and connects dots that I’ve not connected on my own. Helping me point out changes that I’ve not perceived.

“Fiction isn’t bad. It is vital. Without commonly accepted stories about things like money, states or corporations, no complex human society can function. […] But the stories are just tools. They should not become our goals or our yardsticks. When we forget that they are mere fiction, we lose touch with reality. Then we begin entire wars ‘to make a lot of money for the corporation’ or ‘to protect the national interests’. Corporations, money and nations exist only in our imagination. We invented them to serve us; why do we find ourselves sacrificing our lives in their service?”

Stories.
Personal stories. Communal stories. Cultural stories.
The stories I tell, the stories I listen to.
They all play a part in shaping me, making me into the person I am.

“Paradoxically, the more sacrifices we make for an imaginary story, the more tenaciously we hold on to it, because we desperately want to give meaning to these sacrifices and to the suffering we have caused.”

The greater my awareness is to their content and message, the more I am able to lead the life I want to.
I have a choice as to which stories I perpetuate, and so do you.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

Read More

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (book 5 of 12)

May 26, 2019
/ /
in Tip
/

Haruki Murakami. 
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

Mesmerising, surreal, this really is the work of a true original the blurb from The Times reads on the cover. And in all honesty, I don’t know that I have much more to add to that. Mesmerising. Yes. Surreal. Extremely! The work of a true original. Heck yes. It’s another one of these reading experiences where I cannot wrap my head around what would make someone be able to write like this, to actually put what has been put on paper, down on paper.

Curiosity can bring guts out of hiding at times, maybe even get them going. But curiosity evaporates. Guts have to go for the long haul. Curiosity’s like an amusing friend you can’t really trust. It turns you on and then it leaves you to make it on your own – with whatever guts you can muster. 

Did I like it?
Yes. And no.

I mean… Yes. This is such an awesome book. But it is a book that demands my attention as a reader. My full attention at that. So, quick reader that I am, these 600 pages or so took me more or less 6 weeks to finish (which for me is a long time. Remember, last year I read 101 books, this year I am aiming at 75. If all books I wanted to read demanded as much from me, I would fail miserably in reaching my target.). A dozen pages or so at a time. Not much more. Sometimes less. (And yes, of course, I’ve been reading a few other books during this period, as per my usual habit. I am a parallel-reader, not a serial one. But regardless!)

And in a sense… this sentence points to my ambivalence as a reader:
The majority of people dismiss those things that lie beyond the bounds of their own understanding as absurd and not worth thinking about. 

This book is, at times, so far beyond the bounds of my understanding, it would be easy for me to dismiss it as absurd. Or plain strange. Not worth the effort. But it is! Truly. Like the back cover blurb from Independent of Sunday reads: How does Murakami manage to make poetry while writing of contemporary life and emotions? I am weak-kneed with admiration.

So am I. Murakami has a brain that I’d love to be able to “look inside”, to see how the connections are made, what type of leaps of the imagination that are necessary to spin this story… it’s so far from the way my brain works (or so it seems). But then again, that might just be another of the things I’ve come to know about myself, that isn’t anything but a belief, after all:
To know one’s own state is not a simple matter. One cannot look directly at one’s own face with one’s own eyes, for example. One has no choice but to look at one’s reflection in the mirror. Through experience, we come to believe that the image is correct, but it is just a belief. 


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

Read More