Monday, November 20, 2006

What I Haven't Read

Here is the shocking truth. I have not read:
Those are some of the omissions I know about. Then there are entire areas of knowledge, such as macroeconomics, and world history, where I feel woefully under-informed.

But enough of this negativity. I am reading a beautiful book by Diarmuid O'Murchu called Evolutionary Faith: Rediscovering God in Our Great Story. I had started it some months ago, and although it was entrancing, I bogged down somewhere and set it aside while I read The Alphabet Versus the Goddess by Shlain (another excellent book; on my shelf, if you want to borrow it). Now, at a low point in my sense of hope, I have returned to O'Murchu's book and I am finding it a healer for my soul. O'Murchu will be at the Calling Lakes Centre in June 2007. From the program bulletin:
If you have read any of Diarmuid's books, you will know that they are dense, crammed with information and new thinking. Diarmuid, in person, is engaging, easy to follow and always intensely interested in engaging in discussion.
One more thing: I just took a look at Diarmuid's website (see the link from his name above) and came across a list of books that he has found inspiring. More reading! I have a moment of shrinking dismay, like the feeling I used to get when I stood among the stacks in the university library, but oh, there are some tantalizing titles there.


Madcap said...

Another synchronicity, Sister Laura. I was getting acquainted with Diarmuid last night on the NCR homepage. I'll have to check out a book someday.

So many books unread, so many dishes that need doing... Oh well. I guess I'm living out the Spirituality of the Dishpan. And all my "cultural" events centre around yoghurt making! I figure if I keep working at it, I'll be fairly well-read by the time I'm 85, squeezing books in the between-times.

Rachel Carson, she wrote A Year On The Lawn? (Or something like that title.) I read that. None of the others.

arcolaura said...

Ah, the sacredness of warm soapy water.

I sometimes wonder if I could rig up some sort of book bracket over the sink, with some way to turn the pages without getting them wet.

Haven't heard of A Year On The Lawn - I was thinking of Silent Spring, or The Sea Around Us, one of those.

Madcap said...

You haven't heard of it because she wrote it under the nom de plume of Hannah Holmes. (Or maybe I was wrong about the author? I can't quite credit being wrong, but I suppose it's possible... !!!)

Sorry! But I think you'd like it anyway, even if it's not Rachel Carson. Who knows? Maybe you'd prefer it! I enjoyed it.

Jim said...


I followed your link to Diarmuid and very much like what he has to say.

While reading his comments on his new work 'The Transformation Of Desire' these paragraphs especially caught my attention.

"Why does desire become so problematic for humans and why is it often difficult to challenge and discipline? I suggest we are dealing with an archetypal power imbued with a transpersonal form of energy in the face of which it is not so much a question of what we do with desire, but rather how we can allow desire to guide and challenge our lives. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the more we try to control desire the more we drive it out of control.

Currently, desire tends to be studied by psychologists and philosophers, particularly a group known as phenomenologists. I allude to their contribution in Part One of the book. I find their analysis anthropocentric, heady and excessively rational. Scholars of other disciplines like the neatness of this approach: it guarantees that we, humans, remain in control. And that more than anything else is what I am trying to challenge in this book: excessive control is precisely what drives authentic desiring out of control and creates the psychological and spiritual nightmares that haunt humans in our times."

This reminds me so much of our rational 'objectivity' that has allowed us to accept the unacceptable. I've been told throughout life that I need to be more objective, and not take what is going on around me so personal. But my "desire" is to be one with the nature around me and believe that what is happening to her is happening to me, I feel it.

Desire, I believe, is the life force of all creation, that the microbial soup of an inhospitable planet transformed itself, and the planet into a place of great beauty and diversity out of the desire for survival. Early in the evolution of life on earth, that life nearly went extinct because it was creating oxygen as a waste product, and oxygen was a poisonous gas to the micro-organisms of the time. But through a desire for survival, a few of the cells of these life-forms mutated, learning to assimilate oxygen, and the rest is history.

Desire and procreation go hand in hand, both requiring a good degree of subjectivity...

Have you read Lynn Margulis, 'Symbiotic Planet'?

arcolaura said...

Jim - thanks for those thoughts. I expect you would very much enjoy Evolutionary Faith. Diarmuid refers to Lynn Margulis frequently, along with several other fascinating authors I had never heard of. Whole new vistas opening up for me.

Madcap - enjoyed? Oh, good! There are too many titles on my list that are not to be enjoyed so much as employed.

But my reading and learning may be taking a whole new turn. Right now I am reading homeschooling regulations and resource pages and wondering what I have got myself into. Between the bullying and the boredom, the situation at school is looking like more than even an adult should have to tolerate. Parent-teacher interviews are on Friday, and we'll talk about alternatives, but if they don't have satisfactory answers, I want to know that I can just decide to walk away. I'm not afraid of teaching, but I'm a little daunted at the idea of overseeing the entire process, making sure we meet all the learning needs in the time available - and still have some fun. Gosh, I don't do so well on that in my own life!

Madcap said...

Talk to people who are already doing it, as many as you can find, different styles of homeschooling. It's not as overwhelming as it seems when you're first chewing on the regulations. They're just a lot of legal blather, the folks doing it are the ones to ask.

Adults would NEVER tolerate what children are expected to put up with in school. Can you imagine an adult being told to think of office harassment as "an opportunity to build character"? Hate school, hate, hate, hate....

Got me going!

Anyway, I'm here and willing if I can be of help.

arcolaura said...

Thanks madcap. That office analogy was my thought exactly, when I heard what was going on. If I thought we could fix the problems in school, fine, I'd do my part to make that happen, but there seems to be a lot of talk about "zero tolerance" and then zero action. Under those circumstances, a parent stepping in just makes things worse.

But now as I look at it, I'm more and more convinced that I can offer a much better learning experience anyway, so the problem is turning into an opportunity. Good stuff.

Deb said...

I have not read a single one of those books! I have not read much at all lately, at least in book form. Most of my reading seems to be online, especially blogs. I need to discipline myself to read books more.

The desire to homeschool has reared its head here lately too.

arcolaura said...

Me too, Deb. I spend far more time reading bloggers' opinions of books and news and reports and such than I do reading the original writing. This post is the beginning of a conscious shift. And Collapse arrived today, and I am loving it. This guy spent some of his teenage years on ranches in Montana, has worked with oil and gas companies - lots in common here!

I'm finding the homeschooling idea more and more comfortable the more I look into it, and other homeschooling parents seem very happy to share ideas and resources. I keep realizing more and more positive reasons to do it, not just negative reactions against the school system. Formal requirements are probably a bit different where you are, but I'll try to pass things along that could help.