where i’m writing from

March 22, 2014

Am I still a book blogger or simply on hiatus?

“Aren’t you due for another blog,” asks Kathy of mirabile dictu.

Yes and no.

Although I’m certainly not an active book blogger at the moment, I’m still reading, always reading.

The Righteous Mind by J. Haidt validates Hume’s famous thesis that reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions.

Where I’m Calling From by R. Carver, a bloke I’ve been wanting to read ever since I learned that he and I share many geographical locations in common, from Chico to Cupertino, and beyond.

Carver sits at the feet of the common. I like that, a lot. Blue collar gritty stuff.

Plus his prose is as addicting as Candy Crush.

Moral Tribes by J. Greene is a full-court press that smothers the idea of moral incommensurability and replaces it with a pragmatic understanding of utilitarianism.

His work is fascinating in that he combines first-rate philosophy with leading-edge neuroscience.

The result is a new appreciation of moral psychology. Highly recommend it.

J. Greene almost had the pleasure of meeting me in Berkeley. He doesn’t know this yet, but he and I will get along famously.

I’m confident that way.

Lastly, An Equal Music by V. Seth, a novel that roused me to enthusiasm early on with prose like “What I lost I have never come close to retrieving” and “I become the music of the scale. I mute my will, I free my self” but have since tired of the glacial plotting.

Beyond reading

Is there such a thing? No. Even when I’m on business travel, I read everything around me as though they were pages.

I recently boarded a plane early in the morning.

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I landed in Honolulu and went for a glorious two-hour urban hike.

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I saw signs…

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…and tentacles and suckers. That, or “Aloha” in Braille.

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Then I devoured the soft and juicy bits of things to sate my hunger.

4I looked out the window of my room.

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I saw people lying in the sun near the pool.

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I went for a swim and because decency requires that voyeurism not take the form of a clicking camera phone, you’ll just have to trust me when I say that I saw many beautiful people. The ugly young were pretty, and several of the old cougars were pretty, too. And even that pale German tourist wearing way too-tight James Bond swim trunks, even he was handsome after a fashion.

That is all.

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Resilience

September 26, 2013

photo: Compassion | photographer: Magnuss | PHOTODOM.COM

I am new to the glories of photography, both as an amateur photographer and as a critic of photographic art. I think this image is perfectly sublime. Often storytelling compositions have a deep depth-of-field, enabling the photographer to layer subjects in a scene from foreground to background. It’s a wonderful technique and, as I’m learning, very difficult to do well. By contrast, this extraordinary photograph has a very shallow depth of field. But its power to tell a story is undiminished; in fact, deep focus would clutter the effect very quickly. I also appreciate the formal balance of colors and shapes, and subject and object. And the hands and the face and the blue eyes and the smock have held me rapt for days now since I first saw this image. It deserves wide circulation.