What are you reading?

This topic contains 470 replies, has 56 voices, and was last updated by  Richard L. 2 days ago.

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  • 16 Apr 2012 at 11:01 am #885

    Anonymous

    Bronco:

    I enjoyed THitHC a few weeks ago; during the past couple of months, I’ve been on something of a Philip K. Dick binge and have read at least a half-dozen of his novels; presently on the second volume in the VALIS trilogy (The Divine Invasion).

    Lon


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    16 Apr 2012 at 11:09 am #886

    Greg S.
    Member

    I just started “Freedom”, Suarez’s sequel to “Daemon”. The first major scene has Sobol’s virtual ghost lecturing at an Anasazi ruin. Don’t tell me Suarez isn’t a big fan of McCarthy.


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    17 Apr 2012 at 4:52 am #892

    Bunny McVane
    Member

    Lon, I just finshed VALIS a few months ago. Really wasn’t expecting things to go where they did in that book. Haven’t really read too much Dick though. Seems like there were some interesting Gnostic ideas in VALIS. How does The Divine Invasion compare?


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    18 Apr 2012 at 6:10 pm #909

    Anonymous

    Hi, Bunny!

    I just finished TDI yesterday, enjoyed it greatly — not as “autobiographical” as VALIS, as far as I can tell; PKD seems to know his history of religion — discursions on Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, gnosticism abound, woven neatly into the narrative. The 11th novel of his I’ve read in the past few months, and now well into the third of the trilogy: The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. Looking forward to more…

    Lon


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    18 Apr 2012 at 7:49 pm #912

    Bunny McVane
    Member

    Lon, keep up the good work, you are just a few more Dick novels away from being eligible for electroconvulsive therapy and a monthly Social Security Disability check. Seriously though, I think I would be pushing the sanity envelope if I read that many Dick novels in such proximity–kudos to yous. BTW — not meant as a put down to you, just think I might be boarding a train I would have some difficulty getting to slow down. I agree about how well Dick connects all those dots from different traditions; we were just talking about the problem of tradition in one of the “middle novels” threads. To some extent, I took away from VALIS a presentation of some psychotic vision of syncretism . . . all these literary traditions traced back to sacred texts–what if we actually met one of the founders of these traditions?–who in most cases were not the authors of the books that serve as their Tupac-like holograms. How many Mother Gooses are there out there “twisting it” (as John Lennon so famously said when comparing the Beetles to Jesus)? For those of you who haven’t read the novel, there is a character who may be a prophet. The prophet in question is an infant who is watched over by some nutcases in Califunya, one of which is named Mother Goose. Now that I think about it, I’m really curious to see where the next two books go.


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    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by  Bunny McVane.
    19 Apr 2012 at 10:46 am #918

    Greg S.
    Member

    With a big thank you to Candy, I ordered and just picked up William S. Bourroughs’ “Cities of the Red Night”. I read the first chapter on the subway back home, and it reminded me greatly of the ending of The Road, where a colony of like-minded freedom-lovers tries to keep a civil society going amid untold horrors and chaos around them. I’m really looking forward to this read and have put Suarez’s “Freedom” aside for now. There are different qualities fo Freedom.


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    19 Apr 2012 at 3:53 pm #920

    Glass
    Member

    The Law of Primitive Man by EA Hoebel just arrived (as did the world’s-greatest quiche courtesy of Rick W.).

    Update: The quiche is amazing. Too early to tell on the book.

    PS: Interesting show on PBS late the other night on the racist past of the author of the Outlaw Josey Wales book.


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    20 Apr 2012 at 11:00 am #934

    Candy Minx
    Member

    Oh…I might have to dig up a copy of COTRN to follow along Greg.

    Quiche in the mail. Will wonders never cease.

    I am about half way through the E.O. Wilson book…and it’s fantastic.

    Saw three people interviewed on charlie Rose, one about creativity, one on free will…and I shouldn’t watch when he has writers on his show…I just want to read their books.

    The fellow, Michael Gazzaniga, wrote a book just now called “Whose In Charge? Free Will And The Science Of The Brain.”

    Basically he says (much like the book I read last summer “The User Illusion” that free will does not exist. A part of the brain nicknamed “the interpreter” makes us feel as if we have a choice in say, moving our arm, but it’s an illusion.

    http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12301

    http://www.amazon.com/Whos-Charge-Free-Science-Brain/dp/0061906107

    http://www.amazon.com/The-User-Illusion-Cutting-Consciousness/dp/0140230122


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    20 Apr 2012 at 9:06 pm #937

    Re: “The fellow, Michael Gazzaniga, wrote a book just now called “Whose In Charge? Free Will And The Science Of The Brain.” Basically he says (much like the book I read last summer “The User Illusion” that free will does not exist.”

    Whoa! I read Gazzaniga’s book, and that’s not what he says. He says that free will is not inherited but may develop in the circuitry of the prefrontal cortex in our interaction with others.

    I must have read twenty other books on consciousness in the past two years and nearly all of the neuroscientists are in agreement on this point. It is clearer in David Eagleman’s INCOGNITO: THE SECRET LIVES OF THE BRAIN. Eagleman too says that free will can develop in the post-adolescent years but that our free will is not what young people think it to be–it is not the Ayn Rand ideal of free will, for instance.

    Our free will is really a free won’t. An enlightenment that allows us to go against our instinctual animal programing (desire/fear, blood lust, the will to power, etc.). Which is what the humanities have been trying to teach all along.


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    21 Apr 2012 at 1:55 am #943

    Candy Minx
    Member

    Heh heh…hey Well, t’s nice to see you’re out there reading Richard.

    Look I can murder any word…and I’m not great at paraphrasing, sure….so maybe this comes down to a matter of how you interpret what Gazzangiga says and what I interpret what Gazzanga says.

    I’m not going to try to convince you he said free will doesn’t exist. I think I take a less liberal response to what Gazzanga is talking about. I took him very seriously at placing free will and the brain in a very specific mode.

    Why don’t I quote what he said on the show? I took him very literally…I believe I did…or did I? Because I don’t have any free will. heh heh!

    Okay and here is what Gazzanga said on Charlie Rose

    “Free will is an illusion. Free will is just a miscast problem in my opinion and that is what I try to do in the book is not just assert that but to tell the story about how the brain is built what we know comes from the factory and the brain how its organized in terms of all these modules to ultimately paint a picture that our brain works in an automatic way just like a wristwatch. And we have this belief that we’re acting as if we’re in charge and I say that it is an illusion.

    The mechanism is a special module that we discovered in the left brain your left brain my left brain it’s called “‘the interpreter’ and what it does is it looks at our own behaviour, our own thinking, our own feelings, and it builds a theory, a narrative about Why am I feeling? Why did I just do that? Why am I having this hypothesis? And it’s a storytelling mechanism of all our actions of all our feelings and it begins to become your idea of yourself, what you believe you to be and so this big strong thing we have, ‘the interpreter’ no wonder we think ‘well that must be me moving my arm’ ‘I must be in charge’. So we build up this convenient theory to explain a vastly complex but automatic machine that is the human brain.”


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