Tag Archives: predecessors

The Packaging of Life

The Packaging of Life

So there is a whole wealth of knowledge out there and we study it either diligently or grab it out of the time gust that blows by us, regardless we have to take notice of it and think about it in order for it to serve a purpose and be useful. I cannot state enough that no amount of education is worth the money and time if in some way one fails in their attempt to communicate that knowledge to the masses at hand, either indirectly or directly.

Anyways… on to the meat of things….. There are somethings that I cannot say any better than our predecessors, neither do I need to, but it is important to be reminded, so here it is:

“Perhaps we know more about the world than we used to and insofar as knowledge is prerequisite to understanding, that is all to the good. But knowledge is not as much a perquisite to understanding as in commonly supposed. We do not have to know everything about something in order to understand it; too many facts are often as much of an obstacle to understanding as too few. There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding.

One of the reasons for this situation is that the very media we have mentioned [radio, TV, etc.] are so designed as to making thinking seem unnecessary (though this is only an appearance). The packaging of intellectual positions and views is one of the most active enterprises of some of the best minds of our day. The viewer of television, the listener of radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements – all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics – to make it easy for him to “make up his own mind” with the minimum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind, somewhat like inserting a cassette into a cassette player. He then pushes a button and “plays back” the opinion whenever it seems appropriate to do so. He has performed acceptably without having had to think.” – Adler from ‘How to Read a Book’

My problem is that American life style relies too much on what package of life we choose for ourselves. It isn’t about the package or packages, it is what you do with your knowledge and how you put it together without letting others know what package you’ve purchased for yourself. It is easy to plug into the system, join a club or social group, go to school, work in a specific field… that is why we do it, because it is easy, especially when you can get positive feedback and be accepted by those around you. But what is the point of joining a group and uploading all their facts into your brain of you can’t apply it to everyday life without their logo on your T-Shirt or cheerleaders on your sideline. Perhaps I’m going off on a tangent… give me some space to come back into orbit….this gets better….

What really has got me going tonight was the above quote, which you have all heard the message from millions of times hopefully, and a friend of mine who pointed out that “we are the luckiest people in the world.”

And what are a lot of so called lucky people here doing? Watching shitty TV shows so they can numb themselves from reality by turning off their brains for far too many hours a day and possibly as a result drugging up the 4 year old because mommy is too tired to play with him since she was working all day to buy the big new TV. But at least she has something to mindlessly talk about at work the next day. How is that for a nice packaged life? You can buy that one too, on clearance in this market.

People are slaving themselves away all for an illusion of a packaged lifestyle that doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist people, you can watch it on TV as much as you like but it ain’t you in that story, you are in your own story. So why not make it unique?

‘Supposing truth is a woman’ to ‘defects in the mind’

‘Supposing truth is a woman’ to ‘defects in the mind’

It all started in the begining of September while waiting – like a dog who isn’t allowed to eat off the dinning room table but is constantly in view of the forks of dripping steak going into the mouths of those who, for reasons unknown to the dog, enforce these rules to keep it under control – for a phone call that never came. Not that I really expected my pink nokia to purge out its ambient tone, but at the time I really had nothing else going on in my life since I had already made the best chicken soup of the century, perfected my spinach omlet recipe, taken a swim for 40 minutes, and meet up with one of my best mates for lunch.

This simple life wouldn’t be complete, I guess, without something outside of my grasp to wait for, so I gave into the wait. While doing some slow yoga stretched I picked up Adam’s copy of Nietzche’s
‘Beyond Good and Evil’
that I have been scanning through for years, off and on, in Adam’s bedroom while he and Allen engaged in conversation. I borrowed the book in promise to give it back before I left for Aussieland again, which was a bold face lie because I didn’t intend to give it back until I came home, but left the option of giving it back sooner open with my promise. The meaning of words is perhaps worth another note, so I won’t go into it here. Luckily Adam is cool with that aspect of me, or at least he should be by now and has no choice but to be.

I couldn’t begin at the beginning of the book because the first part references a whole bunch of philosopers that I have probably heard of but didn’t know anything about… so I skipped with my favorite topic of the ‘natural history of morals’ and other sections that I need to read again to fully grasp. So inorder to understand Nietzsche I realized that I had to read his predecessors and come back to Beyond Good and Evil.

My first stop was to Borders in Bondi Junction where I picked up
‘The Portable Nietzche’
which contains a number of books and exerpts in one low cost edition and is also translated by Kaufman. This book present the same problem as stated above so I began reading Dosteosky’s
‘Crime and Punishment’
because I already had grabbed that book 6 months previously from the book swap shelf in the Morgan Stanley office, and no I didn’t put a book on the shelf in its place because based on the rest of fluff on the shelf I didn’t think anyone but the person who dropped off the C & P would be interested in anything I’ve got. I had decided to go traveling 3/4 of the way through C & P and so I got another volume containing multiple works by Mr. D called
‘Great Short works of Dostoevsky’
to bring with me, which I have yet to read because once I got to Mullimbimby in Byron Shire I fell in love with
‘The Consolations of Philosophy’
by Alain De Botton. This was exactly what I was looking for. It is probably the most fulfilling book I have read so far and it covers five different philosophers, offering me a platform by which to jump to the lilypad I wanted to land on. From there I Downloaded
‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’
by Goethe which I have read part of but am too cheap to print it from an internet cafe and even though the Emperor of France had read it several times over, no one seems to have heard of it today in the book stores.I picked up Schopenhauer’s
‘Essays & Aphorisms’
because I couldn’t find ‘The Will to Life.’ After sucking in knowledge and being inspired to work on my writing style (which is why you might have stopped reading by now, because I have chosen a subject that most find boring in exchange for practicing my style, which… needs a lot of work, I know, but this is for me not you, unless you actually want some good advice on what to read). I then bought another book by De Botton called
‘How Proust can change your life’
Which didn’t quite change my life and wasn’t as good as the philosophy book of his but got me hooked on Marcel Proust and his style, so I got a copy of
‘Days of Reading’
And then I went back to Beyond Good and Evil last night…. low and behold… I have more shopping to do.