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paulfrankspencer

paulfrankspencer

Joined July 2018

literary fiction, philosophy, theology, and anything else by recommendation - thoughts and creativity at bgfg77.com
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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

Of the self:

"Maybe like the expression of a gesture the meaning of which is uncertain. But which in expanding into the world erases a thousand other histories."

:perhaps also of art, if you like thinking about that instead

review
paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy
Pickpick

"The mind has to be capable of its own existence."

Austensibly this is a fictional dialogue between a self-committed genius and her therapist, a serious consideration of mathematics and the essentialism that it can and cannot support. But McCarthy is not a mathematician, and this is nothing more than an aged intelligence wrestling with the void and the improbability of mind that rises out of nothing and can confirm nothing objectively but itself.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

Finding the limits of a system was not just finding the limits. It was finding what lay beyond the limits.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

I hadnt known until that night that at its worst lust could be something close to anguish.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

Any number truths hitherto unknown to us have entered the human domain through the testimony of a single witness.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy
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First proofreading error I've caught, 145 pages into the second book.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

Name one thing about the world that makes it a better place than the world of 1900 that isnt due to science.

paulfrankspencer @brittanybooks @batsy My fiance says women's rights. 3w
2 likes1 comment
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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

Do you believe in an afterlife?
I dont believe in this one.
Do you?
I've no idea. It strikes me as extremely unlikely. But again the probability is not zero.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

That a drug can restructure the world into something like an objective reality is a claim with as little validity as the objective reality itself... I had no more reason to place my confidence in a drugged state of mind than in a sober one.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

Rage is only for what you believe can be fixed. All the rest is grief.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

All the ones I named are dead.

Is that a requirement for greatness?

It's a requirement for not waking up tomorrow morning and saying something extraordinarily stupid.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

Your life is set upon you like a dog.
Is that a quote?
Not that I know of.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

He talks all the time and uses idioms that I'm sure he doesn't understand. As if he'd found the language somewhere and wasn't all that sure what to do with it. In spite of that - or maybe because of it - he'll sometimes say something quite striking.

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paulfrankspencer
Stella Maris | Cormac McCarthy

Intelligence is numbers. It's not words. Words are things we've made up. Mathematics is not.

paulfrankspencer Hinting early at essence. 3w
3 likes1 comment
review
paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy
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Pickpick

McCarthy at or very near the height of his ability. A narrative with details of magnitude that are unresolved, resolutions that are ultimately unimportant. Two characters embroiled in existential concern, who question reality and labor to find meaning within the essence of subjectivity. An aging author's wrestling with philosophical angst, wrapped in masterful prose.

paulfrankspencer We end with dreams, reminiscent of No Country for Old Men. 3w
paulfrankspencer Also, I should note that the printed hardback box-set edition is wonderfully bound and printed. Really high quality. No proofreading errors. Beautiful. Having produced a few books of my own and hating to spend money on poorly produced books, I really appreciate this. 3w
batsy Glad to read your review.. I would probably read an entire book by him just riffing on dreams and the unconscious. 3w
See All 6 Comments
paulfrankspencer @batsy Well, you just read the 2 that will get you closest to that. 3w
batsy True! "Nonfiction" is what I meant... Though I guess in his own way he also blurs that fiction and nonfic distinction in these two. 3w
paulfrankspencer @batsy Yes, it seems to me that these are probably his best attempt at nonfiction. 3w
2 likes6 comments
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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

He said that a Godless life would not prepare one for a Godless death. To that I have no answer.

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

I feel like I've encroached on your friendship.

It's just there, Bobby. It always was. No erasing. No encroaching.

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

"Suffering is a part of the human condition and must be borne. But misery is a choice."

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

"You have to be careful who you do away with. It could be that some part of our understanding comes in vessels incapable of sustaining themselves. What do you think? Maybe you'd have to be crazy to think that."

As an uncle of a gloriously delightful and beautiful young girl incapable of sustaining herself, I think this, crazy or not.

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

Do you really think that you could see Jesus and not know who the hell it was?
...
I dont believe anything about God. I just believe in God.

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

What you write down becomes fixed. It takes on the constraints of any tangible entity. It collapses into a reality estranged from the realm of its creation. It's a marker. A roadsign. You have stopped to get your bearings, but at a price. You'll never know where it might have gone if you'd left it alone to go there...

paulfrankspencer The idea is always struggling against its own realization. Ideas come with innate skepticism, they dont just go barreling ahead. And these doubts have their origin in the same world as the idea itself. And that's not something you really have access to... 3w
paulfrankspencer Once a mathematical conjecture is formalized into a theory it may have a certain luster to it but with rare exceptions you can no longer entertain the illusion that it holds some deep insight into the core of reality. It has in fact begun to look like a tool. 3w
paulfrankspencer You talk about your arithmetic exercises as if they had minds of their own. 3w
See All 6 Comments
paulfrankspencer I know. 3w
paulfrankspencer Is that what you think? 3w
paulfrankspencer No. It's just hard not to. 3w
3 likes6 comments
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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy
This post contains spoilers
show me

The answer to your question is no.

That wasnt my question.

Sure it was.

-Well there it is. I'll take Bobby at his word.

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

No matter the magnitude of your doubts about the nature of the world you cant come up with another world without coming up with another you.

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

"She knew that in the end you really cant know. You cant get hold of the world. You can only draw a picture. Whether it's a bull on the wall of a cave or a partial differential equation it's all the same thing."

More good philosophy wrapped up in creative dialogue/narrative.

batsy There's some stuff in Stella Maris about dreams and where the Kid "comes from" (for Alicia) that feels like an extended meditation on these thoughts. 3w
4 likes1 comment
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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

The quotes are coming in hot and heavy in this dialogue:

"He had been dreaming. At some last reckoning a child's name had been called but the child did not answer and the ship of heaven plowed on all alight into eternity leaving her alone on the darkening shore forever lost."

This may be a spoiler, but I'm pretty sure this book and the next are the process of unraveling the thought, so it probably doesn't spoil much.

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

I suppose even if you're off the board you might still get to sit around and see how the game turns out.

I think I know how it turns out.

Yeah. Just a pure analytical proposition I suppose. Requires not knowledge, just definitions.

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

How do I know what to trust?

You dont have a choice. All you can believe is what is. Unless you'd prefer to believe what aint. I'd have thought we might be past all that by now.

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

Which leads us to the paradox that where there's no kind there cant be one.

One as a number or one as a being?

Either. You cant have anything till another thing shows up. That's the problem. If there's just one thing you cant say where it is or what it is. You cant say how big it is or how small it is or what color it is or how much it weighs. You cant say if it is. Nothing is anything unless there's another thing. So we have you.

#philosophy

paulfrankspencer Certainly we will see how consciousness, being, and God factor into these thoughts. McCarthy will be asking good questions and making interesting points. 3w
5 likes1 comment
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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

"You have to believe that there is good in the world. I'm going to say that you have to believe the work of your hands will bring it into your life. You may be wrong, but if you don't believe that then you will not have a life. You may call it one. But it won't be one."

batsy This was one of my favourite passages. 1mo
paulfrankspencer @batsy Yeah, the whole scene was kind of a nice respite from a lot else that was going on. A good reset, of sorts. 1mo
7 likes2 comments
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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

"Having read even a few dozen books in common is a force more binding than blood."

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paulfrankspencer
The Passenger | Cormac McCarthy

"Bright people often have a good load to carry. But boredom is seldom a part of it."

review
paulfrankspencer
The Tatami Galaxy: A Novel | Tomihiko Morimi
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Pickpick

A delight. Much like the show, but you get so much from the first person telling rather than the third person showing, as well as much more meaning from the final chapter that wraps it all up in a more satisfying way.

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paulfrankspencer
The Tatami Galaxy: A Novel | Tomihiko Morimi

"It's dark at the foot of a lighthouse." In regards to hiding somewhere quite near where folks would look first.

Not sure if I've just never heard this, or if it's a Japanese saying, or just Morimi's, but I like it.

The_Penniless_Author It's also true in a literal sense, as I discovered during a childhood game of tag (actually "release", which was like a tag/capture the flag hybrid). I hid not 50 feet from home base, in the shadow of a spotlight on the side of an industrial building. No one could see me, even when they passed within a few feet of where I was standing. I felt like I had superpowers or something. I'm going to start using this saying in my everyday conversation now 1mo
paulfrankspencer @The_Penniless_Author Ah, the good ol days of capture the flag and release and sardines and kick the can and all those other games. Love the real life example! 1mo
8 likes2 comments
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paulfrankspencer
The Tatami Galaxy: A Novel | Tomihiko Morimi

"Just as a long-lived animal acquires a mystical air, so too does a student who spends many years at university."

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paulfrankspencer
The Tatami Galaxy: A Novel | Tomihiko Morimi

"There's nothing so worthless to speak of as a love mature."

blurb
paulfrankspencer
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My pre-orders from all the way back in June finally arrived at my local bookstore. I am so pleased I finished my last book last night. Starting Tatami Galaxy now!

review
paulfrankspencer
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Pickpick

A compelling narrative, not so academic to become a plodding effort, but thorough enough so one can begin to understand the life behind such incisive existentialism.

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paulfrankspencer

"Humanly speaking, there's nothing fun or pleasant about being the extraordinary one in petty circumstances... it's become painful."

Can't say if this quote from Kierkegaard is truly prideful or simply truthful.

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paulfrankspencer
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blurb
paulfrankspencer
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Happy Hanks-giving from WYEP. All day, Tom is sharing a playlist with PGH. Listen in: https://wyep.org/hanksgiving/

paulfrankspencer I've been listening for at least an hour. Really enjoy it. 2mo
8 likes1 comment
blurb
paulfrankspencer

Just started tonight. I'm gonna like this one.

review
paulfrankspencer
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Pickpick

A Iranian refugee's memoir as told from his childhood perspective with the humor and wisdom of an adult. What a wonderful treat to read!

Highly recommended. Infinitely readable. Transports you into Persian myth and terrifying clashes of politics, religion, and inter-cultural fears. Finally, a beautiful humanizing of Christian hope and faith. Really, you should read it.

12 likes1 stack add
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paulfrankspencer

"Sometimes you just want somebody to look at a thing with you and say 'Yes. That is a thing you're looking at. You haven't lied to yourself.'"

#witness

batsy Yes. So very needed, I think, to keep ourselves rooted. 3mo
paulfrankspencer @batsy When I grow up and write my own philosophy, this is going to be a very important part of it. 3mo
10 likes2 comments
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paulfrankspencer

"Grownies will talk sometimes in boring words about boring ideas to groom each other like apes, to let each other know they're pals."

review
paulfrankspencer
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Pickpick

Anleitner gives a wonderful introduction to Christian theodicy (the problem of evil): academic in its sources, popular in its presentation. If you've never thought much about the topic, this book is a wonderful place to start.

Numerous proofreading errors plague this independent debut.

If all you want is a brief intro, read the book. If you want some more depth, listen to the podcast series: https://youtu.be/3LBuVVx_YEU.

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paulfrankspencer
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Mmhmm. Me too.

rwmg imminently or immanently? 3mo
paulfrankspencer @rwmg immanently. There are more than few proofreading errors in this one, though this particular mistake slipped my attention. Kudos. 3mo
7 likes2 comments
review
paulfrankspencer
You Are Not a Gadget | Jaron Lanier
Mehso-so

The parts of this book that make it a manifesto, the pithy one liners and unabashed critique, are so much more interesting than the sociological/evolutionary theories that come in the second half. An incisive look at technology's aims and limitations from an insider.

review
paulfrankspencer
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Pickpick

Beautifully descriptive of the religious and philosophical metaphors that trace the historical development of humanity's relationship to technology. Far more balanced and generous than the first chapter had me thinking it would be.

That said, there is just nothing in me that will allow me to understand the author's general hope for AI, which says as much about my pessimism as it does about her willingness to engage in the end.

review
paulfrankspencer
The Illustrated Man | Ray Bradbury
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Pickpick

An excellent collection of short stories. They transport the reader immediately into each world, and leave you with the mood lingering. I suppose this is just what short stories should do.

Some of the science fiction feels quaint now, but so well written, who could complain?

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paulfrankspencer
The Illustrated Man | Ray Bradbury

"The only muscles they have occur in their jaws from their ceaseless chewing of gum."