Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A quote and a few thoughts

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
--- Frank Herbert, Dune


Much of my though and subsequent life has been gleaned from the written word. I don't remember the first book I read but I remember my grandmother reading stories to me from The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. I remember reading "A Pilgrims Progress" when I was about five years old.

Fiction has always been my favorite and Science Fiction my love. I discovered Robert Heinlein through a beloved older cousin that bought me two of his novels when I was six years old. After that I read everything by Heinlein I could get my hands on.

I learned that true friends are more rare than diamonds and to do the right thing for self respect and not for praise or reward.

Later, I read books of philosophy and religion, then politics, history and biographies, (and the back of soup cans and cereal boxes).

Through that reading, I gained an appreciation of humanity, even with all its warts, and a cynicism that has always disturbed my family greatly. I learned that civilization is ephemeral and to prepare for the worst but live for the day. I learned that life is paradoxical and if these things seem contradictory, life itself is a constant contradiction.

The one thing I know for a fact.

Without individual freedom, all of the knowledge in the world is worthless.

18 comments:

MissingLink said...

Without individual freedom, all of the knowledge in the world is worthless.

Amen to that.

Without individual freedom we don't have any access to this knowledge.

nanc said...

you must be a very good friend to have - thanks for your insights. i can tell a good man by what he pens.

beakerkin said...

Warren is the best friend a person can have and I count myself to be quite fortunate.

This may sound odd but to a certain extent I have lost my fear on 9-11. I guess that hitting a deer or a car accident seems passe.
I do not worry as much as I used to and I accept things as they are.

My fight was reborn on the Friday after 9-11 when the Commies blamed the Joos while the building were still burning. The Cold Warrior returned from hibernation on that day and woe upon the utopian that crosses my path.

We have our first jihadi invasion of my blog. This looks like JB's new name. If Tarzana CA shows up on the site meter we know it is him.

nanc said...

you are indeed fortunate, beak.

i thought that looked too much like his lowness to just be coincidence.

Always On Watch said...

Warren,
Without individual freedom, all of the knowledge in the world is worthless.

Profound!

About reading...My mother potty-trained me by handing me a book while I was sitting on the throne. I've had a library in my bathroom ever since.

Reading to young children is the first step to promoting literacy. The choice of material matters very much once children start talking. My mother opted for Bible stories from Hurlbut's; I memorized some, word for word. She also read to me certain children's classics, including fairy tales and Aesop's fables. As I became able to read for myself, I discovered Little Women and read it every summer for some five years. The book never got old for me, and I still enjoy reading and teaching excerpts from it.

Yes, I'm a bookworm--and proud of it. My preference used to be fiction (E.A. Poe and Stephen King for "relaxation"--those writers taught me how to control my own fears), but since 9/11, I spend more time reading nonfiction. I don't read much science fiction, but love Dune.

nanc said...

warren - you're doing a smashing job at beak's hotseat! perhaps i'll allow YOU to take my test for me.

aow - i too am a bookworm. you have described e.a. poe and king to a tee - also two of my favorites. my kids like his movies and constantly ask if i've read one of his books or seen one of his movies and which is better, emphatically i say the book is better. my favorite is "the stand".

reality and non-fiction now top on my list - strange how 9/11 changed us all.

Warren said...

Thank you all.

Missinglink, btw, I've been admiring that cute little "devil" that you use for an avatar. ;^)

Even with access to knowledge, without the freedom to act on it, our rolls in life are little more than that of custodians or ambulatory data banks.

Out of curiosity, would you agree with me that one of the big factors in the fall of the eastern Block was that the Soviets were unable to control the dissemination of knowledge from the west? Its seldom I get to ask the opinions of people that have lived under the heel of Communism.

Nanc, before I could answer your post I had to go deflate my head!

I'll let you copy off my test paper if you don't tell anyone. I always was a sucker for women, used and abused then tossed away like an old newspaper. LOL

BTW, In a few days I'm going to put up a few links for you to click on to get your opinion and your likes and dislikes regarding an avatar.

Warren said...

Always and Beak,
I'm running short on time, I'll reply to your posts tomorrow. :^)

nanc said...

thank you, warren - i hope you weren't the user and abuser...and if you were the one being used and abused, let me know and i'll make their lives miserable!

i didn't cheat - it's much easier to plead ignorance when the occasion arises.

cannot wait to see the avatar links - they'd better be good or i redecorate your site!

elijah said...

Nice post, I dont feel so bad now about being the only person in my clique who read, actually most of them probably have not read a single book..[Dr. seuss not included].
I began reading because I left highschool and realized I knew nothing.Like a monkey on your back you felt like you were not being told the truth. I guess they left that for university.
Life can make you a cynic, unless you have led a grossly sheltered life, but reading will most definately highten anyones cynicism.
But what eventually surprised me was that all that I learned wasn't worth much.
Excuse me now while I fish out my copy of Pilgrams progress, maybe now I will read it.

MissingLink said...

Well Warren,
Tassie Devils are great fighters I wish I could always share their fighting spirit.

Warren said...

Beak said:

"This may sound odd but to a certain extent I have lost my fear on 9-11."

I don't find it odd at all. When you face up to your fears they are replaced with determination.

Unpleasant, primitive emotions, (i.e. fear and anger), are like that. They are hardwired into our brains so deeply that they can overrule our conscious minds.

Many people never learn to face their fear.

Warren said...

AOW,
Young minds are such wondrous things. I must have been a veritable sponge.

We lived next door to a family of Lithuanian immigrants and I played with the younger kids. My mother tells me that I was speaking Lithuanian when I was four, but I don't have any conscious recollection of it although I do remember the kids and their parents and remember talking to them and playing.

It must be fairly common. A friend of mine remembers speaking to his grandmother, when he was very young, and being told fairy tales, although she only spoke German and he doesn't understand a bit of the language now.

Warren said...

AOW,
I believe that I have read everything written by Poe and most of Stephen King's works. My father used to run me out of the house without my book so I would play.
:^)

Warren said...

Nanc,
It seems that I was always the receiving end. I got even by getting over it, quickly!

One of them was Cathy, the three time loser, that I named in my "interview".

(I picked a real winner with that one!) LOL

Warren said...

Elijah,
I started to read, A Pilgrims Progress, again, a few months back.

I just couldn't keep my mind on it so I finally gave up.

One of the great places online for reading these great old classics is, "Project Gutenberg". But there is nothing quite like a real book.

You can find "A Pilgrims Progress" there and download it to your computer or read it online.

Take a look through their database sometime. If its in the public domain, its probably there.

Rosemary said...

You say that with winds of truth blowing at your back.

Also, I'm glad to know you also read the cereal boxes. I could not eat without reading something! lol.

Again, a marvelous article.

Warren said...

Thank you Rosemary.

I prefer the copywriter that works for Grapenuts. He seems to be a more serious journalist.

;^)