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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I’ve edited together another selection of texts, this time, a collection on animals and how I view them philosophically and theologically.

You can order it directly through createspace here:

https://www.createspace.com/3654593 

The book should be available elsewhere soon — check for it on Amazon!

Can animals be considered persons? Can they know right from wrong, and be expected to do penance? Can animals partake of eternal life? What does God expect out of humanity in relation to the animal world? Why did the Holy Spirit appear in the form of a dove?

These and other questions are addressed in this fascinating and unique collection of essays on the nature and place of animals in the world.

 

 

Table of Contents:

4    Introduction

17   January 17, 1787

27  Consequentialism and Animals

40  On Pets

54  The Sign of Jonah

69  All Creation Sings the Glory of God

88  God and Creation

99   The Dove: A Representation of 5he Divine Plan in Animals

117 Quid Sumit Mus?

124 Concluding Remarks

134 Select Bibliography

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It’s now live — one can order, at least from CreateSpace, my collection of short stories, Thumbnails of the Fantastic.

Soon, it should be listed on Amazon (CreateSpace is related to Amazon), and when I can find it there, I will let people know. I do not know if ordering it directly from CreateSpace or from Amazon will change things or not — though I would expect, if you order it from Amazon, they might put its shipping with everything else you order from them (so I would hope).

The collection is of twelve stories — some science fiction, some fantasy, some horror, but all of them have elements of myself and my thoughts on life, the universe, and everything in them.

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We were expecting rain for sometime, but it didn’t come as early as it was expected. But once it did, it didn’t let up; it remained with us, sometimes becoming fast and furious, until evening, making it a good day to stay indoors. I watched tv, cleaned up around my apartment, and read — only going out in the morning briefly, before the rain, to get some coffee.

The book I read was The World Jones Made by PKD. It was one of his earlier novels, but I thought it was also one of his more original ones — about a man (Jones) who mentally existed in two time zones, seeing and living in both, a year apart from each other. It, of course, made him unbalanced; he used it to rise to power as a religious figure turned world ruler. Since he knew what anyone was going to do, he would always act accordingly and overcome all opposition. This made him too sure of himself. He wasn’t perfect, even if he came to believe in himself too much. What lay beyond that year of knowledge he didn’t know, and would only have to guess — and so the consequences of his long term plans were, in the end, were what eventually did him in. And yet, he tried to even take control of that — to make himself seen as a martyr, to validate himself in the minds of his followers, and to perpetuate himself and his ideals even if he, in reality, made mistakes; and in this way, PKD made, what I thought, a very interesting representation of a kind of anti-Christ (whether or not that was his intention).

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Saturday — a Day of Rest

For Saturday, I tried to take it easier and rest a bit; the cold was feeling better, but nonetheless, still there. It’s hard to tell if it is the calm before the storm; whatever was in my throat has loosened up, but it really hasn’t been expelled. So, I did a brief amount of cleaning in my apartment, and read another PKD novel during the day (Eye in the Sky). While the beginning of the novel was quite compelling, the ending fizzled out, so it’s not one of Dick’s best stories, but it had its moments.

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Apocalypse Means Revelation

Thursday was another great day, although in the late afternoon and early evening, I could feel that it was getting warmer, and slightly uncomfortable, so that I didn’t want to stay outside as long as I did on Wednesday.

I decided to start a series on literature on Vox Nova — of fantastic or weird tales, and what they reveal to us about the human condition. I’ve wanted a way to discuss some of my favorite authors and what I find important in their writings, and I thought this would be a good way to do it. But I’ve decided I need to also include a few others in the series to make it do what it should do, otherwise, it would have just been “Apocalypse of Henry’s Reading.” The series itself will be done infrequently (a part will be written when I feel inspired to do so), and long, but when it is done, I think it will have provided an interesting and insightful look into a category of literature too often overlooked.

Unless I change my mind, the first author I will address in the series is John Ruskin.

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Not So Fast

The water did not come back on until several hours later than we were told it would come on. I’m sure this meant the work involved was harder, more difficult than expected, slowing things down. This really bothered me, because it prevented me from getting my day properly started until much, much later than normal. I wanted to get some things done in the morning, but I couldn’t do so, until I was cleaned up, and that of course required the water to be on. Moreover, the air conditioning did not work properly in the morning, and it was only much later in the day when cool air was being blown through it (I think this was connected to the water outage, but I am not sure).

I finished Confessions of a Crap Artist;  because the focus was less on Jack and more on his observations of his sister and her romantic relationships with her husband and her adulterous affair (and the disaster which comes out of those relationships), the aspergeric aspects of Jack were less prominent in the second half of the book than in the first. I’m not sure what I make of the book; it is very typical PKD and yet it isn’t. The characters and situations are very typical for PKD, except, of course, it wasn’t a science fiction novel. Or was it? I think one of the questions of science fiction, especially for PKD, is that science fiction should be speculative and deals with specific ideas extrapolated from scientific data. His presentation of Jack could, in some odd fashion, fall under that description.

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On Friday, we got notices that on “Monday from 10pm – 5 am” the water will be off as they replace an important pipe in the basement. While I figured out what they meant by it, I did think there was a slight possibility this would take place on Sunday night and into Monday morning, because the water would be out for more hours in the morning than in the evening. For clarity, it should have read, “From Monday evening to Tuesday morning.” Of course, I probably am one of the few people who cares to look at a text and reason out its meaning when the text is vague.

For my leisure, I started to read Philip K. Dicks’s Confessions of a Crap Artist. Like most of Dick’s novels, it contains a group of people with many unlikeable characteristics as they intertwine their lives (and destroy themselves in the process). The thing which I found quite interesting is that title character, Jack, seems to have symptoms of an extreme case of aspergers. I noticed signs of it in the novel’s opening lines:

I am made of water. You wouldn’t know it, because I have it bound in. My friends are made of water, too. All of them. The problem for us is that not only do we have to walk around without being absorbed by the ground but we also have to earn our livings.

Experiences with aspergers differ from person to person. But, as we see in Jack’s comments, people with aspergers often look at the world through a different lens from everyone else, being focused on aspects of earthly experience which others take for granted. Indeed, not only is their focus different, it is quite excessive and forms the basis for their unique obsessions in life.

If one takes the cues offered by PKD, then Confessions of a Crap Artist is one of the first novels to show the world in the light of an adult sufferer of aspergers, however extreme the case is for Jack (and whatever other problems Jack also has which are unrelated to aspergers). It’s unlikely that PKD would have considered writing such a novel; but he could have known someone with aspergers which became the model for Jack.

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