Saturday, October 27, 2007

Another Roadside Attraction

Once in a while you get to read books that are unputdownable (yeah! wanna read them straight for 6 hours). I always thought that Still Life with Woodpecker was amazingly brilliant but I just realised that "Another Roadside Attraction" has the same bearing on it that Atlas Shrugged has on The Fountainhead. I have never before seen so many ideas compacted in one book. Phew! It was such a trip reading this one that I might consider doing it again in a month or so.

If you dont have clue of what I am talking about, here; savor some thoughts from the book (approximately represent only a 10-15% of the lines of thought in the entire book, so you know what the original contains). If these dont whet your appetite, no need to worry about reading the book ( its written with a certain style to attract only certain minds)

A zen buddhist walks up to a hot dog vendor in the park and says: “Make me one with everything"

The most important thing in life is style. That is, the style of one's existence - the characteristic mode of one's actions - is basically, ultimately what matters. For if man defines himself by doing, then style is doubly definitive because style describes the doing..

And it rained a fever.And it rained a silence. And it rained a sacrifice.And it rained a miracle.And it rained sorceriesand saturnine eyes of the totem

Happiness is a learned condition. And since it is learned and self-generating, it does not depend upon external circumstances for its perpetuation…

I'm only interested in three states of consciousness. I'm interested in amnesia, euphoria and ecstasy. Amnesia is when you don't know who you are and desperately want to know. Euphoria is when you don't know who you are and don't care. Ecstasy is when you know exactly who you are and still don't care.

It is content, or rather the consciousness of content, that fills the void. But the mere presence of content is not enough. It is style that gives content the capacity to absorb us, to move us; it is style that makes us care.

Hardly a pure science, history is closer to animal husbandry than it is to mathematics, in that it involves selective breeding. The principal difference between the husbandryman and the historian is that the former breeds sheep or cows or such, and the latter breeds (assumed) facts. The husbandryman uses his skills to enrich the future; the historian uses his to enrich the past. Both are usually up to their ankles in bullshit

Laws are the most obvious example. Laws are abstractions. Laws symbolized ethical arts, proper behaviour towards other human animals. Laws have no moral content, they merely symbolize conduct that does. These symbol junkies are always yelling about how we've got to respect the law, but you never hear one of them say anything about respecting fellow beings. If we respected each other, if we respected animals and if we respected the land, than we could dispense with laws and cut the middleman out of morality. Here in Washington State the government has a slogan, you may have noticed it, 'Drive Legally'. If this were a concrete, realistic (as opposed to a civilized) society, the bumper stickers would not say 'Drive Legally' but 'Drive

The whole universe is a complex of rhythms. We each of us feel a need to identify our bodily rhythms with those of the cosmos. The sea is the grand agency of rhythm. The grain tops in the wind, the atoms in orbit are rhythmic. The uterus, which is a strong muscular organ, contacts with the birth of the baby-the rhythmic contractions, in fact, are the important motivations for the baby to emerge into the world. Rhythm is how it all begins

And it rained a sickness.And it rained a fear. And it rained an odor.And it rained a murder. And it rained dangers and pale eggs of the beast....And it rained an omen.And it rained a poison.And it rained a pigment.And it rained a seizure.

Science is an active response to the world.Mysticism accepts the world.Mystics scurry abouttrying to get in harmony with nature.Scientists turn nature into issues which "we" define.Science is resistance than acceptance..

From a scientific point of view, we can make no distinction between the man who eats little and sees heaven and the man who drinks much and sees snakes. Each is in an abnormal physical condition, and therefore has abnormal perceptions. "—Bertrand Russell (1935)

The difference is that one of them sees Heaven and one sees snakes -Amanda Ziller

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