The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

A New Old Thought

A thought came to mind the other morning while I was preparing to go out. This seems to be happening more of late than ever before. Perhaps because of my blogging. I get these concepts in my head and then an urge to expand on them so I do.

In any event, the concept was about re-reading books. I realized that I rarely re-read books but that, when I did, I got something different, something new, from them. I have decided that our perspective changes as we grow older and different aspects of a story, or theory, or concept, become important.

I actually first noticed this when I was re-reading some Frederik Pohl novels; the Gateway series, to be exact. The series is about man's discovery of an ancient race called the Heechee (not their real name but what humans called them). And they only discovered artifacts, not the Heechee themselves. That was to come later, much later. I don't want to re-tell the tale, even in summary, but the first time I read it, it was a tale of adventure and space travel mixed with a man's guilt and angst. The second time I read it, I discovered a whole subtext about immortality and what constitutes the "self" or perhaps the soul.

Another take: Souls in Silicon

Well, that popped into my head when the thought of re-reading of books emerged. And, just now, I have related this to my Snippet of Life posts in my mind. I am "re-reading" my life through writing them. And seeing new aspects of it.

13 comments:

Neo said...

years ago I did read and reread probably a few dozen times, 2001; A Space Oddyessey
found parts I had missed each time I read it and found it more interesting each time I did read it.
also found when in high school if you voluntarily retake a class as I did geometry, it is far more dull and boring the second time.

Douglas said...

I can't imagine Geometry being any more boring than the first time. Actually, it had its moments of interest and fascination. It was the seemingly endless emphasis on memorization of axioms, postulates, and so forth that bored me. The math was a snap and the formulas self-explanatory so why did I need the exact words once given to describe them? One of the great mysteries of education.

redchair said...

Hi Douglas,
Excellent point. I’ve actually been doing the same thing. I have many books that I treasure like old friends. I kept them close for years on my book shelves and now finding myself going back to them. As my understanding of life has matured and changed, thus has my comprehension of the authors intent and underlying message.
Vikki

The Logisitician said...

Depending on the particular articles on our blog which you have read, you may have noticed that I have been reading my college textbooks (circa 1969 - 1974)again in recent years. Interestingly, despite all of the yellow and green highlighting and notes in the margins, I actuallly remember very little of what I read in college. However, it all sounds far more interesting, and makes sense, now at this stage of my life.

To make my situation a little more bizarre, at some point in my life, someone suggested that no hard bound book should ever be discarded. Consequently, at some early age, I began to collect old books that I found tossed aside, and simply placed them on my bookshelves. I periodically pull one down and review it. It's amazing stuff.

One final note. When I joined a patent law firm in the late 1990s, I was surprised to learn that patent attorneys never throw away old dictionaries. Why? The definitions, as used at various points in time, are important to interpreting and analyzing patents of a certain era.

I strongly suggest never throwing away books.

Small Footprints said...

I recently heard an intriguing idea ... that the process of reading a book, changes it. I typically won't re-read books ... but this idea so fascinates me, that I might just have to test it out.

Take Care!

Small Footprints
http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com

The Logisitician said...

Earlier, when I read this, it occurred to me that books arguably have more depth and complexity than movies, music, and artwork, all of which we may choose to interpret repeatedly. Or do they?

The Jules said...

I don't often re-read books either, but you've given me a nostalgic hankerin' to re-do Mr Pohl's books. I remember liking them.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

I was actually more concerned with the frequecy that this was happening... the going out or the thinking...

The whole ovelesog is a conundrum. I used to hoard books. I read, hoard, years later, re-read, and restore it again to its rightful place. But since i have been travelling of course all my books went in my garage sales.

Douglas said...

Books, paintings, sculpture, almost every endeavor is "art" and each item is perceived differently each time we re-examine it. I attribute that to changes in personal perspective caused by meaningful (and not so obviously meaningful) events in our lives.

Douglas said...

Books, paintings, sculpture, almost every endeavor is "art" and each item is perceived differently each time we re-examine it. I attribute that to changes in personal perspective caused by meaningful (and not so obviously meaningful) events in our lives.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

I was actually more concerned with the frequecy that this was happening... the going out or the thinking...

The whole ovelesog is a conundrum. I used to hoard books. I read, hoard, years later, re-read, and restore it again to its rightful place. But since i have been travelling of course all my books went in my garage sales.

Douglas said...

I can't imagine Geometry being any more boring than the first time. Actually, it had its moments of interest and fascination. It was the seemingly endless emphasis on memorization of axioms, postulates, and so forth that bored me. The math was a snap and the formulas self-explanatory so why did I need the exact words once given to describe them? One of the great mysteries of education.

Small Footprints said...

I recently heard an intriguing idea ... that the process of reading a book, changes it. I typically won't re-read books ... but this idea so fascinates me, that I might just have to test it out.

Take Care!

Small Footprints
http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com