Green Time

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vincent Van Gogh

"Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and that we obey them without realizing it."

—Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, April 3, 2015

Arthur Schopenhauer: Cautionary mote about buying books

Space is at a premium even with a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment.  I have many, many books because when m.s. caused me a month of blindness I  panicked about not being able to read anymore so I have been buying all kinds of books.

Consider Schopenhauer before buying more books:

“... that when you're buying books, you're optimistically thinking you're buying the time to read them.
(Paraphrase of Schopenhauer)” 

When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process.

 In learning to write, the pupil goes over with his pen what the teacher has outlined in pencil: so in reading; the greater part of the work of thought is already done for us.

 This is why it relieves us to take up a book after being occupied with our own thoughts. And in reading, the mind is, in fact, only the playground of another’s thoughts.

 So it comes about that if anyone spends almost the whole day in reading, and by way of relaxation devotes the intervals to some thoughtless pastime, he gradually loses the capacity for thinking; just as the man who always rides, at last forgets how to walk.

This is the case with many learned persons: they have read themselves stupid.”

― Arthur SchopenhauerEssays and Aphorisms

Arthur Schopenhauer

Buying Books To Appropriate their Content

Why do people buy more books than they have time to read? Is it merely due to being too optimistic about one’s free time.

Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena

Schopenhauer might have been describing my relationship to books; the need to buy books, to collect books, to read books, and to learn from books.

In addition to “possessing” a book, I would also like to “appropriate” it’s contents —  In addition, I want to “master” its contents -— come to understand what is in it to integrate the contents with things learned elsewhere to synthesize it all to produce new ideas and explanations.

It is indeed an error to confuse buying a book with simultaneously appropriating its contents.  — Knowledge and understanding are not concrete “things” that you can purchase with a credit card like the contents of a box of cookies or jug of milk.

There is no doubt that I wish that one were the same as the other. I buy more books than I have time to read.

Do I do this because I am implicitly and unconsciously imagining that the purchase of a book is sufficient to appropriate its contents?

Or is it merely a sign that I am far too optimistic about the time available to read?

If you buy more books than you can possibly read ask yourself why.  You might be confusing the purchase of a book with appropriating its contents?