Welcome to my blog. Each post is somewhat of a literary review and somewhat of a presentation and discussion of the book.
The intention is not so much an academic analysis of a book or its context, rather, it is, simply, an exploration of interesting ideas. As I find them interesting, undoubtedly others will too, and I hope my posts offer a window into great works of the past, prompting readers to pick up some of these fascinating books, or simply just appreciate the wisdom or folly of the authors and this fledgling writers’ attempts to present them.
The world as it is, or at least as it is for my generation and those succeeding mine, is not sympathetic to the longer, drawn-out modes of writing which provoke thought, contemplation, and serious debate. More common, and more popular, are the eye-catching titles advertising a short and simple read which you forget the moment your eyes leave the screen. They aren’t challenging, they aren’t original, and they’re about as interesting as a picture of a fish you haven’t seen before – intriguing for all of a couple of minutes whilst you show one or two people then forget about it for the rest of your life.
The challenge is preserving the book, the printed word, and the reflective article. Academia is more or less insulated from this trend as it’s sphere, by the nature of the content, cannot exist in abbreviated form. Philosophy, politics, economics, religion, and history in the public sphere, however, can be harvested, ground and distributed all too easily. Whilst I am in favour of speaking plainly and attempts to reduce complexity, wherever possible, into understandable terms, writers have to know the limits of this endeavour, and have to retain, in full, the idea or argument they seek to simplify. Too often you find in print, or in speech, the reduction of broad and great ideas into inexcusably simplified language which trims the original of fundamental meaning and/or its essential nuance.
In a hopeless effort against this trend, these reviews try to show the greatness, goodness, and wisdom of those who have gone before us as well as their pettiness, meanness, and folly. They try to demonstrate that, in the broadest of terms, what we can feel or think has been thought or felt before, that none of this can be discovered without reading long, drawn-out works. Reading, that old friend of Wisdom and ally in his war on Folly, is the chief means by which man can better himself. It cultivates the imagination, and it is in the imagination we take moral decisions. Without an extensive reading you cannot have an extensive imagination and without an extensive imagination you cannot have a strong morality.
Morality steers our broken vessel through the charted waters of life. It sees the cracks in our ship and orders the crew to watch them; it senses the winds and calls for the crew to use them; it knows the tides and asks the crew to respect them. Above all, morality provides everything the captain needs to make every decision on his journey. Only the destination escapes its terrifying power, and even that it is influenced by morality, for how can a destination be truly separate from the journey, and is it not the journey which determines how we see the destination.
Like a jewellery store cabinet, this blog displays shiny gems with dazzling lights shone at them from dynamic angles. But the readers must ask behind the counter for the key and appreciate the value of the gems for themselves, and see whether they are all that dazzling away from the light.
If only one person picks up a book as a result of my endeavour I will proclaim this blog a success, for that is all I could ever ask for.