Damn. I'm gonna have to break down and read the books again. I own them all. I just gave up on them. George spins a fantastic yarn, but it's been six years since the last book was released and there's no news regarding the next book's release date. The last time George updated his web site on the subject was 2008.
According to Wikipedia, there are two more books after that. Heaven help me. At the rate he's going, I'll end up re-reading the entire series whenever he puts out a new book. Six years is a long time to try and remember a story that complex.
There's also the concern that he'll never finish. George isn't exactly a spring chicken.
I was rummaging through backups this afternoon and stumbled onto this little tid bit. If you enjoy Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and have not read Terry Pratchett, you need to start now. If you think you might enjoy a sort of Forgotten Realms meets Benny Hill (65% geek, remember?), give them a shot. This is a tid bit from Hogfather, a conversation between Death and his granddaughter.
Thank you. Now...tell me..."
WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU HADN'T SAVED HIM?
"Yes! The sun would have risen just the same, yes?"
"Oh come on! You can't expect me to believe *that*. It's an astronomical *fact*."
THE SUN WOULD NOT HAVE RISEN.
She turned on him. "It's been a long night, Grandfather! I'm tired and I need a bath! I don't need silliness!"
THE SUN WOULD NOT HAVE RISEN.
"Really? Then would would have happened, pray?"
A MERE BALL OF GAS WOULD HAVE ILLUMINATED THE WORLD.
They walked in silence for a moment. "Ah," said Susan dully. "Trickery with words. I would have thought you'd have been more literal-minded than that."
I AM NOTHING IF NOT LITERAL-MINDED. TRICKERY WITH WORDS IS WHERE *HUMANS* LIVE.
"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need...*fantasies* to make life bearable?"
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little--"
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE *LITTLE* LIES.
"So we can believe the big ones."
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
I've been reading Rewriting the Soul: Multiple personality and the sciences of memory. It was recommended to me by one of my professors. I picked it up more for the "sciences of memory" part than the "multiple personality" part. I confess I am a skeptic of multiple personalities (officially Dissociative Identity Disorder or DID now). It's been a very interesting read. His commentary on how we acquire knowledge in the social sciences was particularly intriguing.
[Binet's] measures of "intelligence" had to agree, generally, with preexisting judgments and then be adapted at the margins. Had he declared that many children who could not cope with French elementary education were intelligent, he would have been mocked. Had he said that the better students at the lycées where stupid, he would have been reviled. ... Binet's great innovation, the testing of intelligence, made sense only against a background of shared judgments about intelligence, and it had to agree with them by and large, and also to explain when it disagreed. Who shared the judgments? Those who matter, namely the educators, other civil servants, and Binet's peers in the middle classes of society.
...One result of calibration is that prior judgments became both sharpened and objectified. What were once discrimination made by suitably educated or trained individuals were turned into impartial, distant, nonsubjective measures of intelligence. Intelligence became and object, independent of any human opinions (my emphasis).
Now, I was aware that IQ tests are under fire for being culturally (white, middle class) biased, but it wasn't until I read those words that I understood the why and wherefore.
Many sociologists of science, and a few philosophers, have recently welcomed the idea that scientific knowledge is a social construction. They contend that science does not discover facts, but constructs them (Hacking, 1995).
Makes you stop and think doesn't it?
Finished book two and no angels yet. There was a small tid bit about a heterosexual fellow discovering his feminine side, but that was about it.
In other news I was telling my sister that I wanted to go see The Golden Compass and she responded (with some passion) "No! Don't see that movie! [I'm thinking at this point she's joking.] It's an atheist agenda to destroy God! You do still believe in God, don't you?" Didn't see that coming. I had no response for her except to chuckle, which she didn't like much.
I'm not sure how unique it is to Mormonism, but the commonly held belief is if you leave the church eventually you will fall completely into wickedness and corruption. Hence the question asking after my belief. Probably checking that I'm not completely lost. Yes, I do believe in God, but probably not in a way she would find satisfactory.
You see, I don't believe in a jealous and petty god. I believe that heresy is man made because God doesn't need people to believe in him. I once told an atheist friend of mine, Tony, that my god doesn't mind that Tony doesn't believe in him. He doesn't throw tantrums when people don't do what he says. In fact, I'm not sure he has all that much to say. I don't think I believe in a god who is actively involved in the daily lives of individuals. I believe he is there and that human beings can reach out and tap into his power if they want, but if they don't that's fine too.
I call God "he" mostly out of habit. I'm not sure God has a sex and if he does I'd be stunned and disappointed if he conformed to our narrow and silly definitions of gender. While I'm open to the idea that what we understand to be God is really some pervasive, impersonal force that binds all life together (channeling Yoda now), I find it more comfortable to think about an actual being, an individual, but maybe that's just habit, too.
I read a Jewish proverb once that said something to the effect that God rejoices when his children out wit him. I like that.
All I could come up with for my sister was that I had been reading the books and that I was enjoying them, so no promises. I was kind of surprised I hadn't heard anything from the usual suspects condemning the movie, so I asked a friend of mine who's usually more on top of those kinds of things. Apparently the wingnuts are actually nervous because the movie takes a softer stance toward religion than the books. They're afraid people will like the movie and read the books. Because God, you know, hates it when people read something he hasn't written himself, or from which he hasn't at least got an endorsement deal.
Have you ever stopped to wonder if all the evil in the world is the result of malcontent? Wanting what you don't have? Wanting something you can't have? Wanting more than what you already have? There's a line from The Matrix about the Merovingian. Neo asks, "What does he want?" and the Oracle replies, "He wants what every man with power wants. More power."
I guess I'm thinking mostly of the rich and powerful, 'cause it's one thing to be working three jobs to feed your family and to want to only have to work one. It's something else to want a third house in Tuscany cause your second house in Bordeaux isn't enough. I'm not sure where the cut off point is. There are certainly plenty in the middle class who are guilty, but does wanting a BMW instead of a Mazda count? I don't know. A Bentley instead of a Mercedes probably does.
A while back I read an article about the monstrous yachts the insanely wealthy own and some of them bitching because some harbors in the Caribbean aren't deep enough for their yachts to pull up pier side and they actually had to endure the inconvenience of taking a launch to shore. We're not talking about a rubber dinghy. The launches were full sized luxury speed boats. (When you're spending 15 million on a yacht what's a few hundred thousand more?) That definitely counts. I'm sorry, but there's some psychopathology there.
One would think wealth distribution would be relatively easy to get your head around, but it's always more complicated than it first appears. There are never easy answers, but one of the characters in The Golden Compass got me thinking along these lines. And they say fantasy is just fluff...
Oh, and if the movie does only cover the first book and it ends where the first book ends...people are going to be ticked.
Yes, I'm reading The Golden Compass. I needed to some light reading in part to fill the times on an airplane I can't use my laptop and in part to break up all the high-falootin' reading I've been doing lately. One can only read so much scholarly literature before one's brain goes to mush.
In an approach pioneered by Cleary, Humphreys, Kendrick, and Wesman (1975), a regression model is applied in which a test or indicator variable serves as the predictor variable, and the score on some important “gold standard” serves as the variable to be predicted. In this model, an indicator can be considered fair or unbiased for both groups only if the regression lines are the same for the groups in question. Regression lines can differ in both the slope of the line and its intercept value. Different slopes suggest that the indicator is differentially useful across levels of the indicator for the groups, whereas different intercepts suggest that the indicator is systematically over- or underpredicting the gold standard for some group.
I picked this up not so much because of the impending movie release as a blurb in this month's issue of Out. It mentions the existence of two gay angel characters in the second book. Naturally my interest was piqued. I'm curious as to how that is presented in the book. I'll let you know when I get there.
Second book? Yes, it's a trilogy, a fact missing from all the marketing hype. Is the movie only the first book or all three? I don't know. I sure hope it's only the first. You try and munge a whole series into one movie and you are asking for a flop. Just ask Disney (The Black Cauldron) and 20th Century Fox (The Seeker: The Dark is Rising).
If the movie powers that be have a brain between them (which is often open to debate) they have produced the first book and are waiting to see how much money the first movie makes before committing to the other two. If the movie is as entertaining as the book, they should do well.
According to my informal observations, most people who are attracted to being psychotherapists like closeness, dislike separation, fear rejection, and suffer guilt readily. They tend to be self-critical, to be overly responsible, and to put other people's needs before their own. They feel more unentitled than deserving. They try to avoid feeling greed, anger and other "selfish" states of mind and become disturbed when they notice evidence of their own competitiveness or hostility. They favor defense of reversal, attempting to nourish the child in themselves vicariously by taking care of the child in their client. They identify with victims rather than with oppressors, with children rather than with parents.
Notwithstanding that some qualities are unique to a pyschoanalytically oriented approach, much of its healing potential is shared by therapists of all sorts. Although my attitude about this derives from personal experience, it is compatible with some very stringently conducted research. Analyzing the work of of Luborsky et al.(2000), Messer and Wampold (2002) observe that the current emphasis on "empirically supported treatments" is based on a discredited medical model an has contributed to an empirically unwarranted devaluation of the experiential, psychodynamic, and family therapies. They further conclude that specific, symptom-targeted strategies are effective "only insofar as they are a component of a larger healing context," and that (as we have known for a long time) more variance in outcome arises from differences among therapists than from differences among treatment approaches.
...It makes little sense to teach students how to deal effective with the easiest clients, leaving them to learn by the school of hard knocks how to work with more challenging ones—all the while suffering from vaguely defined guilt that they are breaking textbook rules.
...there are some things students need to know that are even more basic and fundamental to psychoanalytic practice than how to interpret transferences and resistances or how to understand the working-through process or when to consider ending treatment. They need to know how to maintain their own self-esteem, how to behave in a way that is both professional and natural, and how to protect their own boundaries from the incursions that their more desperate clients insist on attempting. ...I also know that beginners need specifics and are not helped by vague statements to the effect of "It all depends."
...applicants to most social work programs know better than to tell their prospective teachers that they want to be therapists instead of administrators or social activists. Large segments of the public believe that therapy is about blaming one's parents, avoiding personal responsibility, and rationalizing selfishness. Therapists are neither well organized nor temperamentally disposed to battling their disparagers. So I am trying to give moral and conceptual support to trainees who, despite all these circumstances, know that psychotherapy is the project to which they want to commit the rest of their working lives.
...Perhaps it is more accurate to to say that my vision of science encompasses clinical lore as a legitimate source of knowledge in addition to what can be learned from controlled studies. I deeply believe we need to be just as respectful toward more poetic, metaphorically expressed, experience-based clinical theory as we are toward more highly controlled research.
...Because of the American affinity for the new and revolutionary, psychoanalysis in its youth was too often uncritically embraced here; now in its maturity it is too often uncritically dismissed.
...Despite my strong feeling that we need to do lots more research on psychotherapy and to pay attention to what researches have already established, I have learned much more from passionate practitioners than from dispassionate researchers.
Oh...I like her.
Okay, so I haven't exactly been following the pattern I tried to establish where I would post a little blurb about each book I was reading as I finished it. I've finished both Krondor: The Assassins and Krondor: Tear of the Gods with narry a word about either. Indeed, much as a "direct to DVD" movie, Krondor: Tear of the Gods never made an appearance in the currently reading list. I suppose what it boils down to is blogging is work, work I enjoy, but work nonetheless. I haven't had a lot of time or energy for "frivolous work" (read-work I enjoy) lately so I go straight to veg mode, which often means picking up a good book to get lost in. I find Raymond Feist's books easy to get lost in, and that's a good thing in a fantasy book.
For someone who recently said to a friend, "I hate religion, and I mean that in the nicest way," I find myself wondering why I'm reading this book at all. I truly have no use for religion, Christian, Unitarian, Pagan or otherwise. And yet it continues to fascinate me. Maybe I keep hoping that there is something out there that will speak to me, or, more likely, I'm still trying to come to grips with a force that was a major part of my life for much longer than not. I've had Mere Christianity sitting on my shelves for a while now. I'm not entirely unfamiliar with C.S. Lewis' work. I read the Narinia books a couple of times as a teenager and have read a couple of other of his works including The Screwtape Letters and Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold. I've heard assorted quotes of Mr. Lewis on the subject of Christianity over the years and have generally found them thoughtful, compassionate and sane. I was curious to see what his book has to say.
Here is where I attempt to set up a new pattern. Rather than waiting until the end of each book, I'm going to start making comments as I feel necessary. There is already much I could have written, and likely won't remember about The Mythic Past. Thoughts have similarly come and gone while reading A Clinicians Guide to Substance Abuse. However, having blathered on for a while now and having not really said much of anything, I'm going to stop now and go to bed before I fall asleep in my chair, and save a couple of observations I have about what I've read thus far for another time.
I actually finished this book a while back and am half way through Krondor: The Assassins. Finding the time to update the blog has been problematic lately. Some good things are keeping me busy. Some mundane things. The major thing sucking up time the past week has been Pride, but I'll post more about that later.
These are a part of a second trilogy called the The Riftwar Legacy, a reference to a war fought in an earlier four book seiries called The Serpentwar Saga. You don't necessarily have to have read The Serpentwar Saga before reading The Riftwar Legacy. It's actually been years since I read The Serpentwar Saga. I don't remember more than general details. Occasionally a reference is made to an event or character from The Serpentwar Saga that I don't remember, but it hardly impairs my ability to understand and enjoy the current story.
I'm a sucker for fantasy. Have I mentioned that before? If you haven't noticed, I can chew through light reading in pretty short order. Raymond E. Feist has created a believable world, and his characters are also believable and well developed. His plot lines are complex enough to keep your interest without stretching credibility. As credible as a fantasy world can be, that is.
He has a few odd one offs that don't belong to a particular series. I'll probably try and pick them up through the summer.