Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions in the Armpit of Diogenes by DINGO the DISSIDENT binge-thinker here since 2008.

Monday, 4 September 2023

Ignorant immigrants.

Few of the rich foreigners
(mostly from England and Holland)
who come to live in France
have read Ronsard, Villon or Montaigne,
or Zola, Balzac, Maupassant, Prévert or Verlaine;
nor do they know anything of French social history.
So 'French attitudes and behaviour'
are to them something of a mystery.


Jindra K. Hrdlička said...

When I came to Canada 1968 there were over 200 cultures living here. Most of them were and still are mystery to me.
I wasn’t ignorant many just didn’t appeal to me. So I became ‘cherry picker’ and integrated only two or three.
I like your ‘staying power Antoníne.

Wofl said...

Thank you for your staying-power, Jindra!

I'm amazed that anyone is still reading my stuttering (n)utterings...

Jindra K. Hrdlička said...

Hugh Prather Notes to Myself - my first book about some self improvement.
I went through Blogging to Myself even Facebooking to Myself never really connecting much.
Now I just have ‘Connecting with Myself’ in non-sexual way.

Wofl said...

I had never heard of Hugh Prather until today.
Here is one of the reviews on goodreads.com

Since they're both attempts to make sense of life and personal responsibility in diary form, this reminded me of one of my favourite books of last year, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I'll state a few differences:

- Meditations was clearly never intended to be read by anyone else. Notes to Myself manages to maintain a deeply personal feel but is far more accessible, clearly having been written with a wider audience in mind.

- While reading Meditations, getting into the mind of Aurelius often felt like being inside a cement mixer. His thought process seemed like a continual, churning struggle against certain desires and habits in order to shape himself into an ideal. Notes to Myself is influenced by Stoicism as Aurelius was, but takes a more modern, mindful approach, with a greater emphasis on overcoming problems through acceptance.

- Of course, some of the previous point is undoubtedly due to a difference in scale: Aurelius was a Roman Emperor during the height of its power, while Hugh Prather is in every sense an 'ordinary person'. On the one hand, this means Aurelius' writing is vaster in scope and deals with a wider array of issues and responsibilities, and as an account of that kind there's nothing else like it, but on the other, Prather's is more relatable in the modern day on average.

- Aurelius is far more disciplined and well-educated in his approach. He was taught by some of the greatest tutors of his time, as you would expect from the adopted son of the Emperor. Hugh Prather seems largely to be exploring these ideas by himself, and as such is occasionally rather naive, but that does little to devalue the rest. Aurelius lent on ideas that had a fairly strong philosophical basis, whereas Prather's thoughts are occasionally treated as self-evident, though there is value in some of these, as they were relatable or able to be reasoned out.

- A handful of Prather's notes are 'a bit Christian-y', just as some of Aurelius' are 'a bit Roman pantheon-y', but these parts can be safely ignored while doing little to alter the read.

Both are the sort of book where you get out of them what you put in. Much of what either of them say can be said to be obvious, but at their best, both express even the most obvious ideas very well, and serve as an excellent reminder, since the obvious isn't always readily available in a bind. I intend to consult both in the future.

Jindra K. Hrdlička said...

Thank you Anthony. An excellent review, obviously it wasn’t available when I read the book so many years ago.