My New Diary, 10/25 to 10/27/2018

My idea is to take cultural icons for the Major Arcana, and other bits of modern life as the other features, to remove the need for study and make richness of association readily available. I settled on Marilyn Monroe, Henry Thoreau, Muhammad Ali, the Automobile, the Atom Bomb, Adolf Hitler, Laurel & Hardy, Queen Victoria, Abraham Lincoln, and so on, as the Major Arcana, as I tried to adapt my personal interests and existing knowledge to the standard structure of the tarot deck.

My New Diary, 10/24/2018: Late-Night Book Thoughts

Woke some time after midnight and it’s now 1:20 AM. I was reading Wing-Tsit Chan: A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, just getting started and enjoying it, but I looked at the three books on my bedside table and saw Eugene Thacker: Infinite Resignation. And had this thought that I wanted to record here: how can I go back to that book while I have not read this one yet?

Knowledge and “Christopher Columbus”

“Columbus discovered America in 1492.” This paradigmatic bit of knowledge was taught to me in the innocent 1950s (were they “innocent”? Or was this just another of the Lies My Teacher Told Me?). It might still be taught this way somewhere in the U.S., perhaps in a few schools in Tennessee or South Carolina as required by state law, but a likelier formulation might be...

Prison Diary: Bateson’s Peripheral Visions

Finished Bateson, and I must confess that I got a lot out of this third reading, as the wealth of quotes above make clear. She is no [Rabbi Harold] Kushner, pushing for his “authoritative” absolutes, but a rich and mature mind fertile with ideas. Her writing is sometimes troublesome, but there was ample reward in wrestling with her prose. An author to read again.

My New Diary, 10/9 to 10/11/2018

What I most like here is the idea that we learn to be bored. It may be possible to study our boredom to learn ways to turn it into something positive, either to increased self-understanding or as a cue to something subtle. [Mary Catherine] Bateson suggests, when bored, taking a closer look at what’s happening in the environment. But then, she wasn’t in jail. How about the Perfect Moment?

My New Diary, 10/6 to 10/8/2018

I keep starting projects and neglecting them, or even worse, forgetting about them. There was a time not that long ago when I wrote a note to myself to the effect that I needed to do certain things every day, like playing music, exercising, whatever. As often happens, writing a note is a nudge in the direction of forgetting all about it. Well, last night I piled on top of my recently-acquired tray-cart a few books related to such forgotten projects. Specifically, books on the Chinese language, and Sinclair Lewis: It Can’t Happen Here...