Books and Things

I’ve had time to read a few books in the past several months in spite of all the effort I’ve been putting in trying to develop a new church website for our Norway UU church using Joomla. OK, while I’m at it, why not mention loose bowels? I seem to have not diarrhea exactly but a pronounced looseness bowelwise and also perpetual sleep problems, not unrelated perhaps. Good God! I didn’t intend to get off on this subject!

A few weeks back I finished “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., a neuroscientist. Her stroke deactivated a significant part of her left brain making it possible for her to function only through her right brain. The experience of this was what was amazing to her, and to the reader as well, I’m sure. The world, the universe, becomes something totally different. A feeling of oneness with the world and remarkable insight, a certain kind of spirituality where there exists no pressure to do anything, just to exist in the lap of the profoundest of feelings of wonder and, yes, joy. Of course, this was dangerous for her as the bleeding in her left brain was not stopping. With great effort she managed to save herself.

So, the mind has resources and perceptual abilities we never imagined.

Speaking of mind, I’m now working my way through “Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self” by Marilynne Robinson. She really takes on the Richard Dawkinses of the world! She’s saying that there is a place for subjectivity and indeed religion, although so far she hasn’t said much about the latter. Some of it is hard for me to follow, but other parts ring bells. She goes after memes in a big way and tries to show how memes theory contradicts gene theories. I haven’t read the rejoinders by the rationalists yet, but I’m sure they’re tearing into her unmercifully because she really goes after them in this book.

Incidentally, Jon Stewart even gave her a favorable interview recently.

This quote from her has been highlighted by several reviewers: “Our religious traditions give us as the name of God two deeply mysterious words, one deeply mysterious utterance: I AM.” In other words, why the Hell am I here, who am I, why is anything here, and what does it all mean?

OK, that’s it for now.

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