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An important book

An important book
May 27, 2013, 11:45:06 AM
What is the most important book you've ever read? Try to pick just one, and then explain why. Not necessarily the best or the most perfect, but the one that has spoken to your awareness with greatest profundity.

I have read many great books, but picking the one that had the greatest influence on me really isn't that hard. It's Arthur Schopenhauers The world as Will and Representation.

I got it for my 18th birthday. It was the first book of real philosophy I ever read, and it was a hard-, sometimes frustrating read. Took me a long time to finish. I had to read many passages twice or thrice, and there was still a lot of things I didn't quite get the first time around.

But I was determined to get through it. I had to understand it. It seemed to me incredibly important for me to understand it. Such was its power.

In a way, this book made me feel very stupid - but at the same time, it encouraged me not to be. It encouraged me to learn.

Dicovering Schopenhauer-, the beauty, subtlety and incredible thoroughness of his thought was an eyeopener. Here, I heard a voice of real wisdom. Something entirely different from the mindless chatter of an everyday understanding. Here was someone who understood. Someone who didn't just pretend to know, but actually knew.

Knew what? That there is a profound difference between the world as it appears, and as it truly is. That the appearances can be known and understood through reason, but that reality isn't reasonable in itself (or unreasonable, for that matter). That wisdom is the proper understanding of the divide. That there is always something we know and something we don't know. That there must always be a reason for every concrete thing we know - but that there can never be a reason why we know as such.

That...

We know things. But we don't know everything. For everything is nothing to be known. Life lies way way beyond the intellect - and true intelligence is to know this.

Also, Schopenhauer has a wicked sense of humor.

Yes, as far as influencing my own thinking of the world, The World as Will and Representation stands head and shoulder above the rest. There is only one true competitor: The collected Calvin and Hobbes. But that's a another story.

Now, tell me yours.

Re: An important book
May 27, 2013, 03:18:54 PM
Different books have been 'important' to me based on what I needed to absorb at the time.  When I was 14, The Anti-Christ was a revelation.  At 25, struggling with the horseshit of academia, White Noise was the antidote.  The last really 'important' book I read was Kelly Gallup's Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout.  Your mileage may vary.

Re: An important book
May 27, 2013, 03:21:10 PM
Cosmic Trigger I: Final Secret of the Illuminati

First time I read it, it was like receiving a revelation of the universe beamed into my brain, and I still learn something each time I reread it.

This is the book that made the distinction between reality and perception apparent. Humans often like to think that what we perceive is real, and only that is - however, we often lack information and make erroneous judgments in order to fit our existing belief systems. Meanwhile reality keeps merrily churning away, laughing at us.

This was the book that cultivated a sense of agnosticism in me about everything I experience. It lessened my desire to label and define everything and instead simply observe. And be.


Re: An important book
May 27, 2013, 06:02:12 PM
Tao te Ching: Lao Tzu (so it is said). Stephen Mitchell translation.
Life made beautiful in very few pages. Innocence extolled. Knowledge ridiculed. Wisdom implicit.
The first book to remind me I already knew all I needed to know. And what I didn't know, I didn't need to.
The stage set for a quantum leap into the cosmos.

Illusions: Richard Bach, made an excellent primer, for Tao te Ching, which I crossed paths with many years later. Both are all about simplicity and mystery. The two basic ingredients for life.


Re: An important book
May 27, 2013, 09:56:27 PM
The closing of the American Mind  - Allan Bloom

Re: An important book
May 29, 2013, 12:21:59 PM
Explaining why something is important is the fun part of communicating something important - both for the reader and the writer. Please share thoughts.

Dylar: You have a point. But I would still like to know what sort of thoughts The Antichrist set in motion in the head of a 14 year-old.

Nietzsche is a fantastic-, but also a tricky thinker, I think. One can easily be let to believe that he says things that he really doesn't. Especially his later works are very susceptible to projections from the reader.

Re: An important book
May 31, 2013, 03:34:16 PM
Dune by Frank Herbert did it for me. I could probably write an essay on how amazing this book is, I'd use my soul as ink, oh holy moses the pages delight me so. 

There is a strong Nietzschean influence, profound wisdom, tumultous plot and dialogue. It's the kind of book I can read a page of and then read and reread again wringing continually more meaning and joy from it.  Frank Herbert was one of those wonderful rational types riding the psychedelia wave of the sixties (see also Phillipe K Dicke) without succumbing to the bullshit culture surrounding that scene. I cannot recommend this book enough and hold it in similar esteem as Houellebecq's The Map and the Territory.


I quite enjoyed The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Mostly because I find it tragically beautiful, the prose is well, pretty amazing. The words are beautiful on the page, melodious, if that makes sense. And the story is rendered more poignant knowing the authors eventual fate. I'm fairly sure I gained something from reading this book beyond the experience, something hard to define, a kind desire to foster a gauged dissociation from the immediacy of emotional wants. Your mileage may vary, actually your kilometerage may vary, mate, but I still recommend this book because it's a beautiful thing to read.

Also The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq was amazing, I'm not writing a summation of it until I read it again, suffice to say I feel compelled to read the rest of his works, he is incredibly metal, and by lord I've recommended him to all my intelligent friends.

Re: An important book
June 01, 2013, 05:44:02 PM
Without a doubt the most important book for me was this book of Greek mythology.  It's one of the first books I recall reading and the illustrations are superb.  This is probably why I think the best way to honor reality is to mythologize it.

Re: An important book
June 02, 2013, 01:08:57 AM
I plan to read Aldous Huxley - The Perennial Philosophy. Is it good, difficult to read? I find most philosophy goes way overboard for me.

Re: An important book
June 02, 2013, 12:43:31 PM
I plan to read Aldous Huxley - The Perennial Philosophy. Is it good, difficult to read? I find most philosophy goes way overboard for me.
You should definitely read it, it's a little difficult but if you get to a part you don't understand, just keep moving and you will probably understand it in a different passage.  The book kind of explains the same thing over and over in slightly different ways, so if you don't get it the one way, you'll get it the other way.  I also have a love/hate relationship with hardcore philosophy but this is not like the insanely technical philosophy that goes to incredible lengths in an attempt to be perfectly precise.

Re: An important book
June 04, 2013, 01:26:06 AM
I plan to read Aldous Huxley - The Perennial Philosophy. Is it good, difficult to read? I find most philosophy goes way overboard for me.
You should definitely read it, it's a little difficult but if you get to a part you don't understand, just keep moving and you will probably understand it in a different passage.  The book kind of explains the same thing over and over in slightly different ways, so if you don't get it the one way, you'll get it the other way.  I also have a love/hate relationship with hardcore philosophy but this is not like the insanely technical philosophy that goes to incredible lengths in an attempt to be perfectly precise.

Thanks. From what I gather, the intention of the book is to illustrate a common ground between human belief systems. Different interpretations of the same path so to speak. So your description is most fitting. I'll let you all know how it all goes.

 :)