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Blog Archive August 2010

Enlightened and Enriched

The role and importance of the enlightenment continues to be debated. The early start is traced back to the 1660s in England.This article reviews that past and the twist and turns these ideas have taken through later centuries. "Even more important was the Enlightenment notion of freedom of expression. In our age, we think of technological change as natural and obvious; indeed, we consider its absence a source of concern. Not so in the past: inventors were seen as disrespectful, rebelling against the existing order, threatening the stability of the regime and the Church, and jeopardizing employment. In the eighteenth century, this notion slowly began to give way to tolerance, to the belief that those with odd notions should be allowed to subject them to a market test." And the nature of nationalism: "In the nineteenth century, Europeans used their new technology to oppress, exploit, and murder non-Europeans; in the late nineteenth century, they replaced the transnational ideals of some enlightened thinkers wit:h an often ugly nationalism that taught the masses that the way to show love for their country was to hate its neighbors; and in the first half of the twentieth century, they turned on one another with a brutality and destructiveness that history had never witnessed before."


Posted: 8/8/2010 11:19:47 PM 



If you enjoy novels with a political twist, here is a list of the best 50 novels for political junkies.

The top five are:

·  Brave New World, Aldous Huxley: Aldous Huxley’s classic novel is set in a world where a global government limits procreation and forces its citizens into a cycle of endless economic consumption. A must-read for anyone interested in tales of the extent to which a body will go to control its subjects.

·  1984, George Orwell: Released in 1949, Orwell’s novel depicts a totalitarian society in which the government constantly revises historical records in order to appear blameless and correct. Chilling and ahead of its time.

·  Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury: The controlling political system of Bradbury’s dystopia has outlawed reading and, by extension, free and critical thought. The novel revolves around the way people cede control of their lives to silent governing units.

·  Blindness, Jose Saramago: Jose Saramago’s searing work won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. His novel deals with the citizens of an unnamed city as they succumb to a freak epidemic of global blindness. The splintered government quarantines more and more of the people as society devolves. A harrowing look at how oppressive systems exist on all levels.

·  Seeing, Jose Saramago: The sequel to Blindness finds many of the same characters returning, this time for a more direct attack on corrupt politics. The populace casts blank ballots at an election to protest the government’s distance and detachment, spurring the government to greater heights of alienation and control.


Posted: 8/8/2010 11:18:03 PM 


Bangkok’s Multiple Personalities

J.Sydney Jones's interview with me is up at Scene of the Crime "Bangkok’s Multiple Personalities: Christopher G. Moore's Vincent Calvino Novels." http://is.gd/e5pVZ

Posted: 8/6/2010 1:36:56 AM 



To understand hardships from the inside, you need to be patient. People who suffer either complain all the time or stay silent. In both cases, the nature of suffering is communicated. It is in the crucible of anguish that defines the person in later life. Withstanding adversity in the face of overwhelming odds is difficult as it is rare. But people do arise above their hardships and we call that ability to keep going a virtue.

Our eyes are wide open to our own injuries, despairs, and insults but we are often blind when others around us have the same inflicted on their lives. We walk passed the beggar. We don’t notice the blind lottery seller. Or the old man selling baked bananas wrapped in banana leaves.

Read more:

Posted: 8/5/2010 10:57:54 PM 



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