Lily and Bread

“If you’ve got only two pennies left, buy a loaf of bread for one and a lily for the other.”

— Chinese proverb

Constantine, where art thou?

Continuing on the track from the previoust post, I realized that just as with reading, I’ve said very little on politics (and philosophical topics) lately. Not that I’d like to do any further explaining today, except for reminding myself of the fact that I’ve still not managed to give my thoughts on exactly why thalassocracy might just be the best way of governing (though, admittedly, you need to incorporate other things in as well).

Earlier today I managed to read an article in FT about Francis Fukuyama and his ideas on the present situation (not that good) and how things will proceed (hope for the best, prepare for the worst). He has (almost, I’d say) resurfaced along with Henry Kissinger who had an interview with FT published last week where they mostly spoke of China but also mentioned a few other things (now, thinking back, the interview might have been in the Guardian, but I cannot remember that well — I guess it is of rather small consequence where exactly it was).

Given that my original hope was reminding myself of the need to write of politics, and now I’ve ended up writing about it, I guess it only fair to continue on the track that I’ve chosen (or that’s chosen itself for me).

I noticed an interesting idea a few days ago which dealt with the possibility of resurrecting (in some form) the non-territorial organizations of the past (much as the Knights of St. John or Malta or whatever they are called today //Sovereign Order of Malta, quite possible// have an observer status in the UN) to replace some of the countries that will be lost in the upcoming centuries. I myself do believe that same notion could also be carried forward to seasteads once they get underway (the sooner the better) and why not to other good ideas as well (might not have any more need for a purely military-banking order but what if we incorporated diplomacy into it as well?).

And quite separate from that, yesterday was a day which is considered rather universally the end of the Eastern Roman Empire. There’s been lots of notions running around at exactly how Constantine (Konstantinos) organized the defenses of his city; and in many a place have I seen/read of them being much like the Western knights trying to do their utmost in a valiant situation. I guess that is one of the finest ways of looking at it, especially given that if you’ve got the opportunity of immortalizing the last ruler of a legacy of two millennia in a last charge against impossible odds then you do it… because, even if did not happen exactly that way, then it should have, eh?

“To Spend Time On Reading…”

The original post can be found here, but since it touches greatly on writing and literature and reading, I have decided to post it specifically on this blog-side as well (with very few minor edits). Here it is.

Lately, I’ve read quite a bit — science fiction mostly, the rest would fall under the genre of philosophical writings. I’ve also got my hands (finally, around six-seven years after starting with the first book!) on ‘Noble House’ and ‘Whirlwind’ which means that when I wish to continue reading about British arrogance and commerce in the Far East I can freely continue doing so. James Clavell is a bit too good to miss out, so I’m planning to take it up as one of the next (not the next though: first I’ll make sure I’ve got all of the New Republic Era //all == as much as I can and have// read; after that a bit of Mahan, and then, I guess, onwards to the Clavell books).

I started using an interesting web-site called GoodReads.com. Seems to keep a list of what I’ve (you’ve) read — something that I consider rather useful. I have tried to keep such a list in the past but it never works out; on the computer/online it should amount to something better though.

Reading the New Republic Era has made quite an impression though: with the previous ten-odd books by John Marsden (on Australia and such) and now a whole lot by different authors I’ve seen how there’s a difference between styles, and what that actually means. Just to bring out a few, then if we look at Matthew Stover (my friend Natalie would probably cringe just on hearing his name) then he often starts long discourses about things not-that-directly related to everything else. Yet, it suits me well since I see the relevance of the things he poses and it creates a deeper background; Roger MacBride Allen on the other hand uses deeply comical situations along with fast-paced action which has made me like the overall depth less though the few scenes that are in all of them do make a sort of impression as well as the characters he creates; Timothy Zahn is just great, of his creation is the tactical genius Thrawn and I believe that (much like John Howe in his newsletters) Zahn allows himself to dedicate the entire artful being that he projected into Thrawn into the entire action of his writing — the books simply flow and while not as funny as MacBride Allen’s they still offer a sense of completeness and thoroughness; finally, Mr Marsden…

Ah, John Marsden’s books… I have to say, it might have been the first young adult (or whatever-nonsense they call that) series that I ever read, but it was good. Enjoyable. The language, as has been often noted, was exactly that — deeply in line with the intended audience. The books — content — is not that wonderful in the Tomorrow and Ellie series but it is still an interesting question to wonder about, especially given the war is a simple background setting to the larger problem of human interaction. I do deeply recommend reading Marsden and not for the same reasons for why people should read either J.R.R. Tolkien, J. Clavell, W. Somerset Maugham, or Kawabata Yasunari. No, the reason to read John Marsden is to read about becoming human/inhuman, growing up — no, maybe not quite that: I cannot place my hand (paw?) on what it is that is there, but there’s something worthwhile… it is not the beauty of the style nor any other obvious literary quality, but something less tangible perhaps (or therefore, instead, more tangible?).

I did also want to say a word about a few of the characters that have struck me as wonderful as few can be from the New Republic era books that I’ve read, but I believe I’ll keep that for another time now.

 

To Spend Time On…

… reading. Lately, I’ve read quite a bit — science fiction mostly, the rest would fall under the genre of philosophical writings. I’ve also got my hands (finally, around six-seven years after starting with the first book!) on ‘Noble House’ and ‘Whirlwind’ which means that when I wish to continue reading about British arrogance and commerce in the Far East I can freely continue doing so. Clavell is a bit too good to miss out, so I’m planning to take it up as one of the next (not the next though: first I’ll make sure I’ve got all of the New Republic Era //all == as much as I can and have// read; after that a bit of Mahan, and then, I guess, onwards to the Clavell books). Continue reading “To Spend Time On…”

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