Philosophy and Literature with Iris Murdoch and Bryan Magee

I love doing the washing up, it gives me a chance to catch up with a whole host of interesting YouTube channels.  As you might expect these are a pretty eclectic mix; Agadmator’s chess match analyses, Bob Ross‘ happy little paintings, David Lynch’s weather report, a few channels dealing with apologetics, film reviews, Football Manager (as I have no time to go indepth with such a game), other assorted retro games, and science videos.

This time I wanted something a bit different so typed ‘literature’ into the search bar.  Having previously done this and ended up scrolling through a bunch of identikit YA booktubers I, understandably, left it a few years before trying again.

The below video turned up, and having heard of Iris Murdoch, but not having read any of her works I decided to give the interview a whirl. It’s an interesting chat that takes places in that nostalgically British way of having a dull studio filled with browns and beiges. I already have Murdoch’s Existentialists and Mystics: Writings on Philosophy and Literature, on my list but any recommendations for her fiction would be most welcome.

Dune – Frank Herbert

Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

Fondly, yet hazily, recalling David Lynch’s attempt at bring Dune to the silver screen, and wanting to avoid spoilers from the new version, my hand was ‘forced’ into reading this.  Dune is an impressive, epic space – or should that be spice? – opera and sci-fi classic which stands the test of time.

From the off the world building feels fully established, and as the reader follows 15 year-old Paul Atriedes, we learn the complexities of life and the relationships of powerful factions as he does.  It really helps push the story along so there isn’t a lot of stopping to go into minutiae. There is also some of the usual jargon that comes with alien languages but it’s not too elaborate, thankfully so doesn’t get tiresome and distracting.

Speaking of worlds, Arrakis is a looming brooding presence, It is open, vast and unforgiving. The atmosphere is one of ancient mysteries with plenty of secrets left, even after the book is finished.  That all known universe interests centre upon this unique planet makes all events much more significant. Continue reading “Dune – Frank Herbert”

Another Worthwhile Read

Two reblogs in two days because quality stuff should be shared. This time it’s the turn of my very good friend Vicki and her short memoir about her younger days in Paris, a city that seems to encourage so many memorable works. I will be purchasing my copy soon, so come join me.

creativeshadows

Here you can see at top above the cover art and back cover (with blurb by the stupendous and kind Katy Naylor, of Postcards from Ragnarok and the voidspace) followed in the second image by the internal frontispiece of the book, which is being published by the equally magnificent and kind Alien Buddha Press.  Look for me on Amazon, and acquire a copy for yourself!  Shadowoperator (Victoria Leigh Bennett)

View original post

Poems from the Northeast – Victoria Leigh Bennett

A poet’s spiritual homeland is oftentimes not exactly the same as his or her homeland by birth. This book is a book of poems composed over a lifetime lived entirely in the northeastern United States and Toronto, Canada. It features a wide range of literary and personal topics with which the author hopes to enliven, instruct without condescension, move, and above all entertain her audience. It is hoped that there is something in this book for nearly everyone, from the full-fledged poetic connoisseur to the most casual of poetry readers.

This review has been a long while in the writing because there is so much to experience in the pages of these three collected books from Vicki.  You can find more of her, always thought-provoking writings here, whilst you are waiting for this book to arrive, as you will probably want to order it.

I found this collection somewhat perplexing, every time that I read through the book I found new favourite poems, so either I am easily delighted, or the wealth of moods catered for is ‘muchos’.  I am inclined to the latter. From simple observations to the big questions of life the variety is there in abundance.

Poems from the Northeast is a delight for the reader, with many references and allusions to authors, poets, artists, and philosophers littered throughout, I had a great time hunting for them, or looking through the internet to explore names I knew but haven’t yet read.  Continue reading “Poems from the Northeast – Victoria Leigh Bennett”

Systematic and Philosophical Theology – William Nicholls

Theology today can mean anything from reverence for the living God to the proposition that God is dead.  How has the ‘science of thinking about God’ reached this dilemma?

In modern times theology has run into that same crisis which has been induced in the whole of civilized culture by the direction of science.  The volume outlines the directions in of thought adopted by such modern theologians as Barth, Bultmann, Bonhoeffer and Tillich in the face of scientific challenge.  it reveals a liveliness and openness in modern religious thought which suggests that, whatever it may become in the future, theology is not dying.

Over the last year I have been paying attention to some famous American apologists and have come to the conclusion that they are very much like politicians in their answers to questions.  Finding Systematic and Philosophical Theology at the back of my bookcase has allowed for some more meaty theological thought instead.

The theology in question is focused on German protestantism of the first half of the 20th century, although there is some mention of Catholicism as well, when ideas converge.  All this is actually a lot more interesting than it may sound, believe it or not.

For laypeople who are reading out of general curiosity, such as myself, the first chapter is handy in summing up theology of the church upto the 19th century, before dealing in a more detailed way with 19th century German belief. Continue reading “Systematic and Philosophical Theology – William Nicholls”

Hitting All the Right Buttons

The days are flying by of late, what with now working fifty hours a week, it’s been hard to get a chance to blog, (and I am aware I need to answer comments but that will be done at a later date) so it came as a bit of a surprise when Crissy told me we were nearing our six hundredth subscriber on  our YouTube channel.

When you read this we will be at that specific number and so can announce that we already have our plans to pay forward all the kindness that has come our way – especially over the past year and a half – by donating to a charity chosen by our winner.  We will also be sharing some other prizes out for other lucky entrants, see our Facebook page for that, link below.

Here is your chance to win in The Johnsons’ Road to 1,000 Subscribers! Milestone Giveaways and Raffle! Join in these 4 easy steps:

1) Subscribe to the Johnsons’ YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/TheJohnsonsLoveAndLaughter

2) Like The Johnsons’ Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/TheJohnsonsBabyPower/

3) Share your favourite The Johnsons’ YouTube video on your Facebook timeline and story with a witty caption and tag your chosen loved one, following with #TheJohnsonsPayItForward.

4) Send the screenshots of steps 1 to 3 to the Johnsons’ Facebook page and the link of your chosen charity. Wait for the confirmation of your raffle entry.
Raffle draw will be done once we reach 1,000 subscribers.

What’s in a Novel?

Most people, left to their own devices, think not in clichés but with originality and brilliance; that most individual voices, once heard, turn out to be voices of beauty and wisdom.

Photo taken by Alfons Morales.

I think we all agree that a novel is nothing if it is not the expression of an individual voice, of a single view of experience — and how many of the good or even interesting novels, of the thousands published appear each year? Joan Didion (I Can’t Get That Monster Out of My Mind – 1964)

Pippin Pals

With the UK most likely going into lock down again sometime soon, there will no doubt be quite a few children who will continue to be confused by all the goings on so a book about Covid, its implications and the precautions needed, plus a hearty thanks and some appreciation for health workers, etc. will come in handy for parents.

:Donna Marie, blogger and author says; I made available on my site for families with kids, educators, staff and their families and students hoping they stay safer by helping them comply, especially if they have to do in-person learning. They’re in 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17 sizes to print for home or classroom; they show, in pictures, how to wear and handle masks properly, and thoroughly wash hands. This entire project is my contribution to helping children during this pandemic.

Approaching the new measures from a child’s point of view with all the emotional aspects, as well as explaining all about Covid and protecting oneself, the book also encourages family time and creativity, which helps to balance out and bring something positive into discussion. Continue reading “Pippin Pals”

Good Form

In reading, friendship is suddenly brought back to its original purity.  There is no false amiability with books.

If we spend the evening with these friends, it is because we genuinely want to. – Marcel Proust

 

* Image found on Pixabay

On the Shortness of Life – Seneca

The writings of the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca offer powerful insights into stoicism, morality and the importance of reason, and continue to provide profound guidance to many through their eloquence, lucidity and wisdom.

Picking this book was entirely thanks to a video by PewDiePie, who, in between his usual meme and gaming content enjoys indulging in books, and particularly those of a philosophical nature. This time he explored Stoicism.  Being at a loose end for a book, and not having a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations to hand, this slim tome was the next best thing.

Of the three essays on offer, those being On the Shortness of LifeConsolation to Helvia, and On Tranquillity of Mind, the first was my favourite, mainly because of all the famous Roman military and political figures that have become familiar over many books about that empire. The message of bettering oneself is always one that resonates strongly as well and writing that encourages reading is already preaching to the converted.

Each essay is written to a particular person, the first to Paulinus talks of spending time fruitfully in the timeless pursuit of wisdom through philosophy, the second consoles his mother on his exile to Corsica, and the final essay is written in letter form to Serenus, in which he offers advice on how to achieve a peaceful mind with moderation and self-control. Continue reading “On the Shortness of Life – Seneca”

%d bloggers like this: