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  1. #1001
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    I think Rii is referring to what I talked about in the religion thread.
    I just read three posts by Rii and couldn't figure out if he was trying to commiserate or condone such a point of view. Quite frankly, I still can't.

    Not that it matters. You already know my rebuttal on that point anyway.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  2. #1002
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    A great deal of religious folk have difficulty even getting their head around the idea that one can have morality without religion. This isn't because they are "poor, tiny people" but because for them the concepts have been inextricably linked since day one, serving as the conceptual scaffolding upon which everthing else is constructed. Fortunately you can't actually "turn off" religion in someone's brain, but if you could it is probable that most of what passes for moral sensibility would switch off too. Religion is not THE foundation of morality, but for adherents it is certainly a foundation. And nor is it any different in principle from the "lenses" that non-religious folk develop. There is little doubt, for example, that my moral sensibilities and their political expression are in large part a function of the psychological effects of early childhood experiences. Every system has its centre.
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    On topic: 1Q84. I'm quite enjoying it so far. It seems like it should feel slow, but it doesn't at all.
    Last edited by Sparkasaurusmex; 28-05-2012 at 05:19 AM. Reason: back on topic

  3. #1003
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkasaurusmex View Post
    Small tangent:

    His concept on trustworthiness and its relationship to the wealth of nations sounds a lot like putting the cart before the horse. In other words, while I can see a correlation between having a fair trust of my fellow citizen and the success of business in my country, I don't think my fellow citizen is more trustworthy than anybody else in the world.

    However, I do think that the institutions in place enforcing things like property rights and contract law, and the guarantees that those institutions are answerable to as large a swath of the citizenry as possible, have a notable effect. I don't have to trust my fellow man so much as I can trust that the government is keeping us all on the level, and I do that by voting, and failing that, recalling, censuring and protesting.

    But like I said, that's a minor quibble, and I have nothing to complain as per his neurological experiments. In that sense, I kinda view him like Jared Diamond: Interesting biology, but way off-base when it comes to extrapolating that to the fields of sociology or political science.
    Last edited by Nalano; 28-05-2012 at 06:24 AM.
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  4. #1004
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    Donna Tartt, The Secret History. I think it's an accidentally brilliant book.

  5. #1005
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Small tangent:

    His concept on trustworthiness and its relationship to the wealth of nations sounds a lot like putting the cart before the horse. In other words, while I can see a correlation between having a fair trust of my fellow citizen and the success of business in my country, I don't think my fellow citizen is more trustworthy than anybody else in the world.

    However, I do think that the institutions in place enforcing things like property rights and contract law, and the guarantees that those institutions are answerable to as large a swath of the citizenry as possible, have a notable effect. I don't have to trust my fellow man so much as I can trust that the government is keeping us all on the level, and I do that by voting, and failing that, recalling, censuring and protesting.

    But like I said, that's a minor quibble, and I have nothing to complain as per his neurological experiments. In that sense, I kinda view him like Jared Diamond: Interesting biology, but way off-base when it comes to extrapolating that to the fields of sociology or political science.
    Yeah I don't know if he has anything to really go by other than personal philosophy when he gets outside his actual studies, but the interesting point is that maybe moral behavior is at least reinforced by biological means.

    Also, just finished The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. It is okay, but I still haven't read a Heinlein book that I've liked as much as Stranger In A Strange Land. I think enjoyment of books (or video games..or anything) has a lot to do with circumstance and mindset when you go into it.

  6. #1006
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkasaurusmex View Post
    Yeah I don't know if he has anything to really go by other than personal philosophy when he gets outside his actual studies, but the interesting point is that maybe moral behavior is at least reinforced by biological means.
    Oh, certainly. We're biologically social animals, which means not only do we not feel every single other human being we come across is a threat, but we like helping other people much in the same way we like sugary foods and orgasms. But I was under the impression that such was patently obvious.
    Last edited by Nalano; 28-05-2012 at 08:09 AM.
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  7. #1007
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Gotta agree with you there, but it's always important to use scientific study to help understand how our brains and world work, even the seemingly obvious stuff. What's obvious to you and me could be considered sacrilege to someone else (though even concrete science might not help in some of those cases).

    Umm... I'm not reading anything else at the moment. I guess I should mention Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Anton Wilson are tied for my favorite author.

  8. #1008
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    I like Vonnegut, I do, and got to see him live briefly before he died. He had somewhat of an acerbic personality, tho I suspect that's largely because of the venue.*

    I kinda feel that my favorite author has to be dead, lest his live self come and contradict what I like about his body of works. I also feel, in an equally irrational way, that he can't be obvious lest my own reputation for being well-read be put into question. He also, for that matter, can't be too obscure, since I'd then look pretentious.

    In this manner, on my shortlist I've ruled out Neal Stephenson, John Brunner, Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Davis, HL Mencken, Gore Vidal, and Anthony Burgess for being too popular and have then to choose from the triply depressing options of Dennis Lehane, JG Farrell and James Sallis, and since two of those guys are still alive, that leaves only one.

    *My fellow compatriots at the time he was to make an appearance were all Cornellians of the Daily Sun - the school newspaper - and, since they were going to meet a Great Author, went to a bookstore to purchase copies of his books to sign. Along the way, they decided to prove to one another just how forward-thinking they were - lest they be seen as counter-culture liberals by buying Vonnegut en masse - by also purchasing copies of Atlas Shrugged. Fucking hivemind monkeys.
    Last edited by Nalano; 28-05-2012 at 09:44 AM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  9. #1009
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkasaurusmex View Post
    Umm... I'm not reading anything else at the moment. I guess I should mention Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Anton Wilson are tied for my favorite author.
    Hmmm,
    Kurt Vonnegut is also one of my favourites too but I've never heard of this Robert Anton Wilson chap - do have any recommendations? You've also reminded me I must also get myself a copy of 1Q84 as it's been a while since I've read some Murakami.

    Currently reading Against the Day. I hear it had a somewhat mixed reception among Pynchon fans but I'm finding it to be surprisingly easy (for this kind of thing) and enjoyable to read. It's still very much a Pynchon novel - numerous characters, frequent trips to the bizarre, high-flying prose, silly songs and a whole lot of historical and mathematical references, most of which I'm probably not getting - but it somehow feels just a little less dense than the other stuff I've read by him, as well as containing more than a few characters I genuinely care about.

    Got some David Markson lined up next and after that A Clash Of Kings.
    Last edited by Angel Dust; 28-05-2012 at 11:18 AM.

  10. #1010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    I like Vonnegut... He had somewhat of an acerbic personality
    You of all people pointing this out made me chuckle :)

  11. #1011
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    I had half an hour to kill a few days ago so I decided to buy a book and sit on a park bench (Mr. Sun I love you where you been all mah life). Anyway. Picked up The Book of Chuang Tzu, and boy do I ever love it. Sitting under a golden sky laughing at anecdotes that have travelled 2,000 years and across a gulf of culture and language difference just to get to me.

    That was a nice afternoon. Got me to thinking about our shared humanity.

    /hippy

    Also been reading On Stories, Richard Kearney. It's kind of continental in style, but accessible. That's a good combo.
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  12. #1012
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theblazeuk View Post
    You of all people pointing this out made me chuckle :)
    I never said I disliked it. :P

    One of my favorite stories about Vonnegut is his having been paid a ridiculous sum of money to conduct a master class in creative writing for Pace University. So he goes before the class.

    "Who here wants to become a writer?" They all raise their hands. "Then what are you doing here? Go home and write."
    Last edited by Nalano; 28-05-2012 at 01:17 PM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  13. #1013
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angel Dust View Post
    Hmmm,
    Kurt Vonnegut is also one of my favourites too but I've never heard of this Robert Anton Wilson chap - do have any recommendations?
    I should point out he is nothing like Vonnegut. Also he didn't publish a whole lot of books. My favorite is Shrodinger's Cat Trilogy (published today as a single edition...fat book) but he also Co-wrote The Illuminatus! Trilogy (also now published as one hefty novel) with Robert Shea.

    "Entry level" Robert Anton Wilson is Masks of the Illuminati, which features fictional characterizations of Einstein, James Joyce and Aleister Crowley.

    A fair warning, RAW is much more of a radical hippy than someone like Vonnegut :P

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    "Who here wants to become a writer?" They all raise their hands. "Then what are you doing here? Go home and write."
    hahaha I don't care if it makes me cliche, I love this guy.

  14. #1014
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkasaurusmex View Post
    I should point out he is nothing like Vonnegut. Also he didn't publish a whole lot of books. My favorite is Shrodinger's Cat Trilogy (published today as a single edition...fat book) but he also Co-wrote The Illuminatus! Trilogy (also now published as one hefty novel) with Robert Shea.

    "Entry level" Robert Anton Wilson is Masks of the Illuminati, which features fictional characterizations of Einstein, James Joyce and Aleister Crowley.

    A fair warning, RAW is much more of a radical hippy than someone like Vonnegut :P
    Yeah, I wasn't expecting him to be anything like Vonnegut, just that it was a new name and you've mentioned a couple of authors I like (Vonnegut, Murakami) already, so I was intrigued. Never mind 'entry level', what is his best/definitive work? I've got no issue with fat books, Against the Day is over 1200 pages long, so Shrodinger's Cat then?

  15. #1015
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Yep, that's what I would say.
    Illuminatus Trilogy is more of an epic adventure type story, but they both have a lot of stuff going on that isn't exactly written out... I'm never exactly sure if there's a point RAW is trying to make, but every time I reread any of his novels I find my interpretation has changed.

  16. #1016
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    Still stuck reading Felix and Gotrek, but nearly through.

    I'm up for some recommendations for someone who loves the byzantine politics and characterizations of Martin, the characters and fighting scenes from Abercrombie and the world-crafting of LeGuinn.

    A combination of those three would make me happy. Yes, I have read all there is of Fritz Leiber to read.
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  17. #1017
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    I can't really say that it matches any of the three you've listed, but my go-to recommendation for all fantasy books is David Gemmell. I think his strongest work is possibly Lion of Macedon (and its weaker sequel, Dark Prince) though it's not my favourite. Ultimately an alt-history take on the Grecian wars pre-Alexander, focusing on the general Parmenion. Then there's Sword in the Storm, which is kind of a take on celtic mythology and the invasions of Rome.

  18. #1018
    Activated Node tjv's Avatar
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    Just started The Bourne Sanction by Eric Van Lustbader

  19. #1019
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    I've read a lot of Gemmell. I like him, but prefer the more detailed characters of Robin Hobb for example. That reminds me, I need to check if the third book of the Shaman's Crossing is out by now. That was a fun if disturbing story.
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  20. #1020
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

    Almost all of his fantasy books are about OMG BEST EVARRR blokes, but they're flipping compelling, though not too similar to stuff you've read. Well, except Hobb. Yeah. He's like a cross between Hobb and Martin's political undercurrents to ASoIaF.


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