Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Just another Tuesday

Hi Everybody,

I want to apologize for the lack of posts recently - as my days become more and more routine around here, I find myself surrounded with fewer and fewer things to blog about.  I'll continue to keep the posts coming, but I have a feeling that the posts may begin to take a more internalized direction.  Regardless, the posts will continue to come - that I promise.

One of the things I really like about living down here is that I have the opportunity to read more.  I rarely watch TV down here (as I don't understand the majority of it), so it leaves me with more time to actually pursue other activities.  In the past month I've read two books - "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins, and "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu.

The Selfish Gene was a game-changer for me.  The book outlines a way of looking at evolution and the growth and development of all life on this planet.  It centers around the idea that all life stems from the advancement and growing complexity of its DNA - the blueprints for constructing the "gene machines" (plants and animals).  Without getting too in-depth, the book proposes some interesting theories for how and why many of the features of life work as they do.  It also describes how different characteristics would proliferate in different "gene machines", and how different groups of animals would evolve different behavioral characteristics, and how a mindset or physical characteristic would spread through a society if the conditions were right. 

I don't know if it was just my brain yearning for some more academic learning, but I found this book to be fantastic.  He demonstrated an interesting world-view with examples and ideas from nature, all of which made sense.  Great read.

"The Art of War" was slightly less impressive.  I came into the book expecting great things, as it's referenced by many different businessmen as a good read, and it was even quoted a couple times in the movie "Wall Street".  I expected the book to be chock-full of apt metaphors, interesting double entendres, and classic Eastern wisdom.

...and to be honest, I was disappointed.  A lot of the material in the book is pretty on-the-nose with respect to battling in Ancient China.  There are some ideas to be taken away, with regards to espionage, knowing the enemy, and putting yourself in positions to succeed.  But overall, the book is really just filled with short descriptions of how to build an army, and how to take over nearby lands.

I think the majority of people who read this book and are blown away by it are people who are naturally not that bright.  They read a sentence like "One skilled will profit by it; if he is not, it is dangerous." and go nuts.  They think to themselves "Wow, there are so many possible interpretations to this idea!", but instead of actually considering all the possible avenues and interpretations of this sentence, they merely revel in the fact that other interpretations exist.  Thus, if a body of work is relatively vague or metaphorical, it becomes easy for those of a lesser mental constitution ('fools', if you will) to latch on and pretend to glean unparalleled levels of understanding from it.  I call this the 'Donnie Darko' Theory.  Of course, maybe there is a deeper level to The Art of War that I was unable to decipher in my relatively short study of the novel.  But I doubt it.

Hey, it wouldn't be an internet blog without a healthy helping of snark and criticism, right?  Just keeping up with the specified quotas. 

Also, I've been checking the past couple days, and that dove from the previous entry is not moving.  I'm pretty sure she's laid an egg in that little potted plant, and is guarding it vehemently.  Looks like I won't need to go to the store for eggs this week.

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