Mermaid’s August 2018 WordPress Tea Party

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (pixelated)

A blogger on WordPress had a great idea for a splendid blog post and I want to indulge it–WordPress blogger The Little Mermaid is having her second-ever “tea party.”

 

The Little Mermaid, on one hand, is a Disney film character, who you have probably seen in the animated feature if you have an interest in Disney.  My own family has the videotape of the film because I have a younger sister.  In Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Ariel, seeks her escape from the sea, but, furthermore, The Little Mermaid is the name of a blogger who has had a delightful idea, that being to host WordPress “tea parties.”

 

The Little Mermaid writes that her first tea party, last month, was open-ended in terms of what content she wanted to read, but for August, The Little Mermaid has invited participants to post about books they enjoy, about which I thought I could circuitously add something to the conversation.

 

https://findingenvirons1.blog/2018/08/22/join-in-the-fun-join-in-the-august-2018-tea-party/

 

I am late in any case, but I’ve joined in by enjoying some of the tea party guests’ blog responses and by weblogging the August invite to the tea party and tweeting it.

 

As to what books I might read, most often I enjoy nonfiction, on such a subject as the business behind Google, for example, or of the blockchain.  Another kind of book I enjoy is the type that references techniques and strategies for personal change and success.  I like both physical volumes and books on my Kindle.

 

As I’m sure you’re aware, the accessibility of books in 2018 is completely staggering.  If you are a full-ahead author on the Internet I think you know that Twitter has seen a gold rush of self-published titles.

 

  • DIGITAL GOLD

 

The last book I got to read is not of this kind, however, not an eBook.  It is, in fact, a book that is near-academic, but interesting all the same.  The title is DIGITAL GOLD, written by Nathaniel Popper.  It is the story of the development of Blockchain and Bitcoin.

 

The blockchain is, I understand, a mega-trend.  I wanted to come to an understanding of what blockchain is about.  The blockchain is the process of cryptocurrency mining that could dramatically affect the long-term value of data currencies like bitcoin.

Dimensions: 1884 x 1152
Photographer: Icons8 team

All about bitcoin’s origins and its eventual emergence and success, Popper’s book interested me quite a bit.  I found it very satisfactory.

 

  • The Stranger

 

Reflecting in a different light, my favorite book isn’t nonfiction; it’s instead a famous novel.  Its appeal is legendary.  I have read it a couple of times, the perennial favorite The Stranger by the late Albert Camus.

 

This novel of Camus’ is an existential novel, in terms of its thematic elements, with the plot about a man who grieves his late mother in a markedly strange way, which you might characterize as embittered and perhaps confused, too.

 

Existentialist fiction usually tackles questions of the meaning of life, such as in The Stranger, looking at why the main character’s grief is necessary and how it is that it’s enacted in the character’s specific manner after his mother’s death.

 

  • Casino Royale

 

Reflecting again more on what makes a good novel, I think I’d argue that the most overrated book I ever read is Casino Royale, by the late Brit Ian Fleming.  Casino Royale, Fleming’s first novel about MI6 agent James Bond, 007, is the spy appearing in the film adaptation of the Fleming novel starring Daniel Craig as 007.  While Casino Royale is certainly an agreeable read, to think that with its publication one of the most successful film franchises ever would result, including film roles by several actors playing the character James Bond, leads me to characterize Casino Royale as perhaps indeed overrated.

 

Dimensions: 6144 x 4069
Photographer: Lukas

Casino Royale is about the spy 007 targeting an enemy’s gambling habits in order to complicate the enemy’s financial resources at the casino tables, thus rendering him less effective an enemy.  That Ian Fleming wrote the enemy as a Russian, I believe, is prescient of today’s turbulent world scene.

 

Fleming was drawing inspiration from the historical Cold War, and that is why the sign is there, that Le Chiffre, the name of the villain who 007 challenges at the card tables in Casino Royale, is Russian.  Even the other day, August 21, the Trump administration’s Paul Manafort was demolished for his thieving and his conspiring with Russian political agents.

 

What You Feel, You Can Heal

 

To go on, The Little Mermaid tactfully asks in her August tea party blog post the question of which book most distinctly impacted your life.  It is of a personal nature, to name a book that positively impacted you, but I think of What You Feel, You Can Heal, John Gray’s first book, published in the nineteen-nineties.  When I was a twenty-something I sat in at a conference to hear a speaker give his thoughts on wellbeing.  The gentleman gave advice on dealing with personal difficulties–he recommended John Gray.

 

What You Feel You Can Heal blog post
Opening paragraph for my What You Feel You Can Heal eBook

Gray’s best-known book (and there are a series of them) is Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, a book about relationships.  You know the speaker at the conference referred to social relationships suggesting something like that.  It isn’t Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus that interested me, although I subsequently read that one a couple of times.  Gray’s first book, What You Feel, You Can Heal, is about goalsetting through one’s lifetime and other matters of positive productivity, impacting me much more substantially than Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

 

John Gray, though young when he wrote What You Feel, You Can Heal, is recounting what he learned before emerging as an author.  He fleshes out his view of several stages of life that Gray observes in many other people, all at once in What You Feel, You Can Heal, bringing these ideas together to form this book.

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (pixelated)
Science fictions novels (the photo has been pixelated)

One last note:  although it may seem juvenile, while not expressly for young adults, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by the late Douglas Adams, and the four novels Adams wrote to follow his success, are the books I would most earnestly recommend to someone new.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is funny and strange, a blend of science fiction and humor.

 

Both in the novel and in the film adaptation, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the story of hapless Brit Arthur Dent, who hitchhikes to the stars the day that the Vogons, who are dimwitted, horrible monsters, demolish the Earth.  From there it is up to Arthur to get by in travels through the skies.

 

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a resource Arthur has to comprehend his troubles:  the Guide is an encyclopedia describing everything in the universe.  It is as if Douglas Adams, though writing for comic purposes, foresaw the development of the world wide web.

 

I have enjoyed The Little Mermaid’s tea party and I wish her well, as I do everybody else who thought to join in.  I appreciate every opportunity I have to contribute, and when there is some response to something I have written, I am always flattered.  You are welcome to “like,” follow, and/or comment as you see fit.  See you in September!

Asking if Secularisation of a Society is Bad

Leonardo da Vinci

Just the other day, I saw a WordPress blogger asking for debate if secularisation is good or bad.  She defined it, and I take it she means the decline of the influence of religion, like, for example, the power of the Catholic Church, on society around the world.

 

https://lovableliterature.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/debate-is-the-secularisation-of-modern-society-a-bad-thing/

 

This year I made time to read Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, a novel about a man and his son trying to survive some time from now in the future when society no longer exists as it did previous to the events in the novel.  I think of church attendance preventing circumstances in our world like that in this Cormac McCarthy book.

 

If strong leaders utilize the unitary values of religious institutions in a way that helps people lead lives of better prosperity, it would be likely, I think, that people will make better progress in the world, decreasingly supernatural as it is.

 

Reading The Road, I didn’t think much supernatural dread happened to the characters, probably in part because to create their own resources they were too hard pressed to deal with the spiritual implications of society being at an end.

 

If I think about secularisation as it could relate to the plot of the novel, I think that the leaders of the world which existed before the events of the book have failed in their ability to keep the structure of its society intact.  Maybe this owes to an overall weakness in the story’s idea of religious institutions, but I can’t that except by thinking it is a possibility, judging that religious symbols seem to exist in the book.  The man on the road is a little like Jesus, set apart from others by his singularity.

Leonardo da Vinci
Imitation of The Last Supper

There isn’t an explanation for readers of The Road why society ended–it is a question only that it is gone, and how a much harder reality supplants it, the “road” of the title.

 

Isolation is the new struggle to overcome adversity, instead of questions like how did the world’s institutions fail and what can be done now, in their absence.

 

The novel’s interesting because society as a whole is over and done and there is no solution available.  It is a story of apocalypse.

 

The man traveling in isolation with his son seems unconcerned if there were religious institutions before society fell to pieces.  I don’t see why there wouldn’t have been institutions–in every other detail I can think of in The Road it matches the world as it’s known today, which leads me to think that parts of the world in the book weren’t secularised, as our world in real life remains only in part secularised today.

Dimensions: 3941 x 2931
Photographer: Iryna Tysiak

I tend to think that order would fragment in the event of too much secularisation because people need to feel that there is something supernatural about their lives, that they owe something to God.

 

I am optimistic about trusting religious authorities because I see a sphere of religious influence making a more positive outcome for our world.

 

I am glad to have had an opportunity to write a few thoughts on how thinking back to reading The Road helped me articulate an opinion on secularisation.

 

I was likewise glad that I took time this year to read the book by Cormac McCarthy, as well as having read Bethany’s post asking about secularisation.  The Road is the only title of McCarthy I am familiar with, but the cover of the paperback copy I read advertised that it had sold well.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’re welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or “subscribe.”

A Reflection of Where I am with this Blog

August 7, 2013

Often, once a week, I do digital Botox on my blog–I update an old post.

This achieves a couple of things–it helps with the SEO ranking, I understand, for the post, as a search engine will probably believe it’s new information.  What I’m really doing is curating blog posts which I wrote in the past.

I started with this first entry, originally published July 10, 2014.

 

Blogs are commonplace.  If you do any writing, a blog is a helpful way to establish one’s name as a writer.

 

Sometimes it goes with a change of direction.  For instance, a fact came to light of which you were unaware.

 

If you have fears about becoming known to the public, a blog may not be the best way to talk on the Internet.  Or, perhaps, if you have run out of time, and have new responsibilities in your life, or simply new interests, making a blog has become less a priority than you thought it would be.

 

However, the decision to blog is significant, and making the choice to blog from a unique angle may work in your favor as you develop your blog for the Internet.  You can get the result you desire.

 

My head these days is busy, all the more so with social media.  There is a wealth of information on social media, long in the running.  Although blogging is popular, try to inject yourself into the mix while remaining professional (and therefore detached).

 

For some time, I took advantage of the prompts WordPress offered, both their daily prompts and their weekly challenges.  The Internet is a wonder of our time, and it would be amiss not to present a helping hand to others.  It is often a convenient part of day-to-day life.

 

Taking a look into digital communications pays off in various ways, which I will leave to you.

 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to, “like,” comment, and/or follow my blog.  All the best to you.

August 7, 2013
Disbanded in 2006, Louth United Church stands in front of Maple Lawn Cemetery, the not-for-profit we maintain