Archive for the ‘Poetics/Aesthetics’ Category

Books and the Lightness of Travel

August 13, 2009

8 months since last post, a repaired laptop, and returning to CT tomorrow to work at a retreat center (after the dentist).  I’ve been trying to decide what books to take with me.

I’ve settled on small ones.

  • Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy  The Christian Future and Planetary Service. I feel I need Eugen at all times and these two are focused on issues of society’s speed and the need for communion.
  • Ira Stone A Responsible Life: The Spiritual Path of Mussar.  Stone’s translation and commentary for Wisdom & Mussar by R. Simcha Zissel is a surprise gift as the appendix.  Mussar means “instruction” or “correction” and refers both to a literature of self-improvement throughout rabbinic Judaism and also specific activities. Stone’s encounter with Zissel’s Kelm school of mussar through the lens of Emmanuel Levinas brings the tradition to greater contemporary relevance.
  • Dalai Lama Spiritual Advice for Buddhists and Christians.  Short and quick.
  • Pirke Avot “Chapters of the Fathers”.  Olitsky brings major commentaries to his pages of both English and Aramaic. This is a major effort for the next few months to be able to teach this tractate.
  • Margaret Atwood Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth.  The cover has a balloon near the top above the print and a thumb tack at the bottom facing up.  I started this in June and it was a riot.  Part of my effort see the financial bubble as a poetic invention.

Perhaps Walter Brueggeman The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant and a Daniel Elazar edited book on covenant and constitutionalism.  There’s a project in me about the federating, communing in personal and political dynamics, drawing on Jewish and Christian sources and seen in US history.   Not sure if that deserves my time now.

I’m concerned once again with the “culture wars.” Hopefully that may subside as a I depart the DC area. It forced to drop an idea of reviewing several classic studies of legislative dynamics through the lens of health care reform 1970s-1990s.  Yet there is less legislative activity now compared to the culture war of the town hall meetings which all media outlets excitedly channel to the viewer.

Was tempted to bring an Aquinas-based reading of salvation history through he lens of Torah & Temple and a book on Lonergan’s own intellectual conversion.

There are also a number of books relevant to retreat management or other activities where I’m going. They’ll have to wait here. I’m committed to easy of travel.

That’s the update. Scattered interests, as ever.

Catching Up with 2 Poetic Images From Daily Living

December 24, 2008

I’ve thought about updating here numerous times since I arrived in Fall Village, CT 10 days ago.  Alas, I’m rarely sitting down at my laptop when I’m not exhausted.  I find myself quite content amid a flurry of work and snow.  However, I must get two ideas out before they are lost.

On the train to NYC I found a large, carpeted floor space in the last car to rest my weary back. I took my usual three deep breaths and a lower back disc slipped back into alignment. For about 3 years I’ve been able (or had to) do this a few times a day.  When the alignment is sufficiently off, my low back experiences a painful constriction of motion until this “crack” occurs.  This restores motion and eases painful pressure.

Prone on the train, a constellation of aging, body deterioration, and the soul’s growth connected in my mind’s night sky. Twenty years of ‘adult’ responses to anxiety and stimuli erode the body.  My lower back pain demands reduction of built up tension.  Breathing deeper, as this crack requires, calms nerves. Aches of aging train the spirit to confront its repression and shadow preparing for the long dark night of adulthood. (more…)