The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 20th, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

Read more... )
The feudal analogy is taken from Bruce Schneier (highly recommended).

Hi malenkiy-scot,

Thank you for using the Reading List application by Amazon. LinkedIn has recently discontinued their application program, including the Amazon Reading List. Unfortunately, this means that the application is no longer available on your home page or profile.

We wanted to let you know that your Reading List information has been preserved. We are working to make your information available and will be contacting you soon with more details.

Kind regards,

At least it seems I can get the data back.


Jun. 13th, 2011 09:01 pm
From Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature by William James:

The next step into mystical states carries us into a realm that public opinion and ethical philosophy have long since branded as pathological, though private practice and certain lyric strains of poetry seem still to bear witness to its ideality. I refer to the consciousness produced by intoxicants and anaesthetics, especially by alcohol. The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour. Sobriety diminishes, discriminates, and says no; drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes. It is in fact the great exciter of the YES function in man. It brings its votary from the chill periphery of things to the radiant core. It makes him for the moment one with truth. Not through mere perversity do men run after it. To the poor and the unlettered it stands in the place of symphony concerts and of literature; and it is part of the deeper mystery and tragedy of life that whiffs and gleams of something that we immediately recognize as excellent should be vouchsafed to so many of us only in the fleeting earlier phases of what in its totality is so degrading a poisoning. The drunken consciousness is one bit of the mystic consciousness, and our total opinion of it must find its place in our opinion of that larger whole.
Read more... )
Ведьма предсказала, что принцесса уколет себе палец веретеном и умрет. Тогда король велел отрезать принцессе все пальцы

Я читал эту сказку миллион раз, но такой абсолютно очевидный подход мне в голову ни разу не пришел!
From William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience.

We would make known in our own persons the usefulness of rule, of discipline, of resignation and renunciation; we would teach the necessary perpetuity of suffering, and explain the creative part which it plays.

We would wage war upon false optimism; on the base hope of happiness coming to us ready made; on the notion of a salvation by knowledge alone, or by material civilization alone, vain symbol as this is of civilization, precarious external arrangement ill-fitted to replace the intimate union and consent of souls.

We would wage war also on bad morals, whether in public or in private life; on luxury, fastidiousness, and over-refinement, on all that tends to increase the painful, immoral, and anti-social multiplications of our wants; on all that excites envy and dislike in the soul of the common people, and confirms the notion that the chief end of life is freedom to enjoy.

We would preach by our example the respect of superiors and equals, the respect of all men; affectionate simplicity in our relations with inferiors and insignificant persons; indulgence where our own claims only are concerned, but firmness in our demands where they relate to duties towards others or towards the public. For the common people are what we help them to become; their vices are our vices, gazed upon, envied, and imitated; and if they come back with all their weight upon us, it is but just.

We forbid ourselves all seeking after popularity, all ambition to appear important. We pledge ourselves to abstain from falsehood, in all its degrees. We promise not to create or encourage illusions as to what is possible, by what we say or write. We promise to one another active sincerity, which strives to see truth clearly, and which never fears to declare what it sees.

We promise deliberate resistance to the tidal waves of fashion, to the 'booms' and panics of the public mind, to all the forms of weakness and of fear.

We forbid ourselves the use of sarcasm. Of serious things we will speak seriously and unsmilingly, without banter and without the appearance of banter;--and even so of all things, for there are serious ways of being light of heart.

We will put ourselves forward always for what we are, simply and without false humility, as well as without pedantry, affectation, or pride.
Words effect nothing; it is the power of the personality that stands behind them.

- Adolf von Harnack

This is so obvious, it makes so many things so clear that it's a wonder how I could miss such a basic idea for so many years!

["Here Vroomfondel, why do we never think of things like that?" "Dunno," said Vroomfondel in an awed whisper, "think our brains must be too highly trained Majikthise."]

Один мой знакомый утверждает (или по крайней мере утверждал раньше), что человеку суждено прочитать ту или иную книгу в то или иное время. Если она попадет ему в руки раньше этого времени, то он либо ее бросит, либо совсем не поймет, а то может и что-нибудь совсем непотребное случиться.

Прочитай я Исповедь еще года два-три назад, я почти бы ничего не понял. Скорее всего, мне бы довольно быстро стало скучно и я бы бросил, несмотря на небольшой размер этого эссе. Сейчас я прочитал его запоем... На этом и остановлюсь.
Наконец-то прочитал Токвиля (спасибо Киндлу). Ну, что можно сказать? Чувак - гений.
Are any of Richard Posner's books readable by laymen? Would you recommend anything?
Шаги и решения нашей жизни определены склонностями, симпатиями, строем и опытом души, которые окрашивают все наше естество и накладывают отпечаток на всякое наше действие, так что оно гораздо правдивее объясняется ими, чем теми разумными доводами, какие мы приводим в его пользу не только другим, но и самим себе. (C)
From here. Thanks to [ profile] ymarkov for the link. (The paper itself actually deals with a completely different matter):

Herodotus tells us that Persians “are extremely fond of wine;” indeed, “it is usual for them to be drunk,” particularly “when they are debating the most important issues.” They attach so much importance to inebriation that “any issues they debate when sober are reconsidered by them when they are drunk.”

Continued in the footnote:

Herodotus Histories, I, 133, p. 61. It is now clear why Esther had to arrange two separate drinking parties. Since she obtained permission from the king to invite Haman when the king was not inebriated (see Est. 5:4), it was not final. Therefore she organized the first party in order to receive permission from the king to invite Haman when the king was inebriated (see Est. 5:7-8). Once official permission was obtained, she organized a second drinking party to present accusation against Haman (see Est. 7:2-5). This is why, although the king had granted Haman permission to kill the Jews (see Est. 3:8-11), he was furious when he learned that Haman wanted to proceed with his plan (see Est. 7:5-7), although permission was granted when he was sober. It is worth noting that the Shiites in Iran reject the tradition ascertaining that Mohamed had forbidden to drink wine.
Всех с праздником. Если кто хочет зайти в воскресенье - приносите свою выпивку, или вы серьезно рискуете остаться трезвыми.
См. Terry Pratchett [1]

После изрядной дозы Пратчета понял, что он мне порядком поднадоел. Слишком уж длинно пишет. Более-менее понравились только Going Postal и Carpe Jugulum. При этом Going Postal - скорее всего из-за того, что ее слушал, а не читал.

Для справки, список прочитанного:

Men at Arms
The Last Continent
Carpe Jugulum
The Fifth Elephant
Thief of Time
Night Watch
Monstrous Regiment
Going Postal
Тот, кто решается описать "отказ", заранее обречен на провал. И я это хорошо понимаю. Кто был в длительном отказе, тому это объяснять не надо. Кто не был - тот все равно не поймет. Невозможно рассказать о бесконечных днях и ночах полной безысходности и исчезающих надежд. Отказ - это тысячи исковерканных судеб и запланированное, сознательное подавление воли. Это бесправие, возведенное в закон, при отсутствии малейших возможностей защиты. Отказ - это преступление государства перед каждым отдельным человеком, открыто выразившим свое желание выйти из-под контроля и власти этого всепожирающего монстра под названием Советский Союз; это превращение людей в предмет спекуляции и торговли, старательное и планомерное низведение человека до рабского состояния под прикрытием заботы о благе и независимости государства.

С сыном автора мы с первого по пятый класс просидели за одной партой. С первого дня первого класса, когда мы еще ничего друг о друге не знали.
Была ли эта книга выпущена по-русски? Такое ощущение, что нет.

Instead of the risen Christ it was Putin who was revealed to the people at Easter. A service was held at the Church of Christ the Redeemer… At the beginning of the Great Matins service there stood, shoulder to shoulder with Putin as if at a military parade, Prime Minister Fradkov and Dmitry Medvedev … head of the president's office… The three men clumsily and clownishly crossed themselves, Medvedev making his crosses by touching his hand to his forehead and then to his genitals. It was risible. Medvedev followed Putin in shaking the patriarch's hand as if he were one of their comrades, rather than kissing it as prescribed by church ritual. The patriarch overlooked the error…

The beginning of the Great Matins service was even more comical than the handshakes with the patriarch… The television commentator, who was a believer and theologically knowledgeable, explained to viewers that in the Orthodox tradition, the doors of the church should be shut before midnight because they symbolize the entrance to the cave where Christ's body was placed. After midnight the Orthodox faithful taking part in the procession await the opening of the church doors. The patriarch … is the first to enter the empty temple where the Resurrection of Christ has already occurred.

When the patriarch had recited the first prayer after midnight at the doors of the temple, they were thrown open to reveal Putin, our modest president, shoulder to shoulder with Fradkov, Medvedev, and Luzhkov.

You didn't know whether to laugh or cry. An evening of comic entertainment on Holy Night.


Oct. 21st, 2007 11:09 pm
Прочитал. Первая половина (приблизительно) - отлично, каждое слово - пародия. Вторая половина - немного тягомотно.

В букинистическом магазине сказали, что Пратчета со вторых рук купить практически невозможно: как только он появляется - сразу раскупают. А новые книжки здесь дороговаты. Что делать?
На днях, в ожидании машины из починки, заглянул в книжный магазин и купил Thud!. Читать пока не начал, т.к. по возвращении в гараж оказалось, что машину уже починили. (Вот сволочи, обещали 2 часа, а управились за час!). Вопрос для фанатов: от 0 до 10, как вы оцениваете эту книгу по сравнению с другими книгами Пратчета?



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