Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: Literature For A New Movement

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 20, 2012, 11:46 p.m. EST by GypsyKing (9780)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

"The past is never dead, in fact it isn't even past."

This quote, from William Faulkner, is something we must all take to heart, because even in the internet generation, when an enormous amount of information lies at our fingertips; it is the legacy of writers and thinkers through the ages that offer us the clearest path to positive change.

In light of this belief, I have made a short list of books that everyone in the struggle for positive change should be at least somewhat familiar with. As I say, the list is random, mostly literary fiction. There are hundreds of books that might have made this list, but these were the ones that came to mind. I am sure that reading even a few of these books will give us a stronger sense of the foundation and justification for this movement, so here it is:

  1. Plato's dialogues
  2. The New Testament
  3. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  4. The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maughm
  5. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  6. 1984 by George Orwell
  7. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  8. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  9. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  10. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer
  11. The Broken World by Brent Hightower
  12. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
  13. Red Sorghum by Mo Yan
  14. The Autobiography of Mohandas Ghandi
  15. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  16. Shindlers Ark by Thomas Keneally
  17. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  18. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee
  19. Light in August by William Faulkner
  20. The Masque of the Red Death by E.A. Poe

If you are looking for comedy, or light reading, than this list would be better overlooked. But the business of social transformation is generally not a light subject or endeavor.

169 Comments

169 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 3 points by freakyfriday (179) 2 years ago

You forgot Animal Farm!!!!!

[-] 3 points by tomtalltree (5) from Houlton, ME 2 years ago

Could never forget that one!

[-] 3 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Damn, you're right! Please everybody, add Animal Farm to this list!

[-] -1 points by e2420 (-28) 2 years ago

when you have OWS leaders staying in hotel rooms b/c tents aren't for them, you MUST read Animal Farm

[-] 2 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Yeah, that's right up your alley. "Everyone is equal, but conservatives are MORE equal than liberals." hahahaha

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Yes, and they have the gall to say that others want "entitlements!" They can suck-up the wealth of the whole world, and say that someone who wants a simple roof over their head is asking for an "entitlement!" It's sickening! Truely sickening!

[-] 3 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Sickening but not unexpected of a sociopathic philosophy. One day, mental health will catch up with this era and it will be a very interesting read. Many of these people are sick. Really and truly demented. It's only a matter of time before we figure out just how much.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Point right on! One day we will wonder why we let narcissists and anti-social personalities run the world! But now the truth is out there!

[-] 3 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

"Point right on! One day we will wonder why we let narcissists and anti-social personalities run the world!"

And for so damn long!

[Removed]

[-] -1 points by e2420 (-28) 2 years ago

Those two OWS leaders were conservatives?

[-] 2 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

No idea. Just pointing out what must be going through your head while reading Animal Farm. ;-)

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Humans all need acceptable shelter. To the extent they have lived in tents it's a sacrifice most aren't willing to make for their convictions, and you try to turn that into a negative. Totally see-through trolling, if you ask me.

[Removed]

[Removed]

[-] 2 points by Craptastic41 (16) from ANIAK, AK 2 years ago

I can agree with most of those. Good choices.

[-] -1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Wow, a voice from the land of the midnight sun! Thanks.

[Removed]

[-] 2 points by ithink (761) from York, PA 2 years ago

In Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Wow! Now thats a really interesting title! It seems to me I have heard of this somewhere but I know damn well that I've never actually seen it. Is it rare and out of print?

[-] 1 points by ithink (761) from York, PA 2 years ago

Not at all, you can read it online at Project Gutenberg (along with many others).

http://www.gutenberg.org

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I finally got the time to actually look at your link and I LOVE it! Teriffic! A hundred thanks for that wonderful contribution!!!

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Wow! Never heard of it. Project Gutenberg; I'll have to check it out. Hey, I'll give you one that you might be interested in, and it even has a real relevence to Occupy . . . "Confessions of a Justified Sinner" by James Hogg.

Basically I'm not that active on the net - I'm still mostly and ink and paper guy - force of habbit I guess. I also really just like printed books. There's something magical in a printed book that seems somehow lost on a screen. I don't know why.

[-] 1 points by ithink (761) from York, PA 2 years ago

ok, I will look into it. I like this thread, thank you for starting it.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Thank you for commenting!

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

A commentator here just reminded me of a novel that surely should have made this list, and that is Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.

[-] 1 points by Revolutionary (267) 2 years ago

Please continue to up date this list by adding more good stuff in addition to the web sites as well.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I'll try. Thanks.

[-] 2 points by Revolutionary (267) 2 years ago

If possible a list of good web sites posted by people on this web site may also be made by some one(at present I cannot do it) which shall be cherished as a treasure for all of us.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Very good point. Shadz66 is our best guy for web sites.

[-] 2 points by Revolutionary (267) 2 years ago

Thanks ,please convey my request to Shadz66 .

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I'll do that.

[-] 2 points by Revolutionary (267) 2 years ago

Thanks a lot.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I would like to add here, A People's History of America by Howard Zinn.

[-] 1 points by Shule (1696) 2 years ago

How about "Nolie Me Tangerie" by Jose Rizal.....

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I recommend the Iron Heel by Jack London and expect that life will imitate art (Art who?)

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Hmmm, decent list (I've either read those books, read other books by the same authors, or researched the subject matter). As for the New Testament, Thomas Jefferson put together a collection of the sayings of Jesus (his moral teachings minus the fantastic), which would be my recommendation, at least for those who appreciate substantiating evidence (and I think Aristotle is probably better than Plato, although one obviously needs to read to both before they can compare) :)

But people should also have an idea of where the "other side" is coming from, for which I suggest Ayn Rand, the "Virtue of Selfishness" (a very short book). I would also add (to the "good guys" list) John Stuart Mill (in my view understanding Utilitarianism is important), and of course writings from thinkers like Proudhon (although he had many personal inclinations that are offensive by today's standards, he was still a noteworthy intellectual), and of course Peter Kropotkin.

Importantly, people should really have an understanding of American history (if I were to recommend anything as a "starting place" ... American history would be it). Learn about the progressive movement in the earlier part of the 20th century, the history of the labor movement, civil rights, our legal evolution, where many of the ideas behind our Constitution came from (thinkers like Hobbes, Locke, etc.).

Better yet, to sharpen one's thinking (in preparation for understanding and critiquing the ideas of thinkers from our past), David Hume is a must read.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Perhaps because I am not radical, I find there to be a strange lack of Religiosity in the New Testament. Jefferson took the "fantastic" out of the New Testament. What's so fantastical about it? The New Testament isn't as fanatical as people who haven't read it would like you to believe. If the fantastical portions of the New Testament were good enough for Thoreau, Emerson (who didn't believe Jesus to be divine), and John Stuart Mill (who admired the early Christians), then Jefferson's adaptation is nothing but pointless.

John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty" is a great read. Less about utilitarianism than simply how to think and live life independently. A good companion piece to Thoreau's work (though not as literary or inspiring). Mill isn't on the other side. He's actually on our side.

I agree about American History. The best place to start is Zinn's "A People's History of the United States."

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Yes, I've read "On Liberty" (absolute greatness, Mill has always been at the top of the heap as far as I'm concerned, although I would say Hume probably made the greatest contribution to philosophy). But anyway, I've also read the New Testament (I wasn't always secular, I was raised Christian), and yes, it's full of fantastical (and absurd) claims.

I mean, Mill and Emerson were basically atheists, and Mill's admiration for early Christians notwithstanding, Jefferson's compilation of the sayings of Jesus, just makes getting at the relevant stuff more efficient.

And .... I didn't say Mill was on the "other side" (I quote myself: "I would also add (to the "good guys" list) John Stuart Mill"). I didn't call Mill one of the "good guys" because I think he's on the other side :)

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Sorry, I missed that over the two or three times I'd read your post. Chock that up to human error in this go-go-go world.

I wouldn't say Emerson was an atheist. He was a "Christian" who didn't believe Christ to be divine. He was closer in belief to his godson William James, who regarded the New Testament to be the greatest work of humanity regardless of divine inquiry. Emerson's "Circles" should allay any concern of his "atheism." As far as religious institutions go--Emerson and James didn't believe in them. But I doubt either would consider himself atheist.

I think all of the New Testament is relevant. What would The Iliad look like if we siphoned out the "fantastic" elements and got simply to the relevant stuff? What would the Tao te Ching look like if we got rid of all references to the Tao?

[-] 0 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

It is also good to read Adam Smith, Thomas Pain and even Milton Friedman for a better understanding as to where the right wing perspective gets its ethos from. The Wealth OF Nations, The Age of Reason" and Freedom and Capitalism are good reads too.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Indeed, all great books. I've read Smith, Friedman, but for some reason I never read Pain (besides encountering many of his quotations). Although, I'm already secular, so I'm not sure how much he'll teach me that I don't already know :)

[-] 2 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

How is Thomas Paine right wing? He was the guy who was even too progressive for the Founding Fathers.

[-] 2 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

You are right. Paine is too revolutionary to be considered a Conservative. He would probably turn in his grave If he read what I wrote. My bad. How about Locke instead?

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

I have yet to read any Locke. What do you think? From what I understand, he's the opposite side of Hobbes, which should suggest he's liberal. Or "classically liberal," since he was the founder of that, right?

By today's standard, he's probably pretty Conservative--since he was such a proponent of "property rights." Contrast this with Paine who was at least three centuries ahead of his time and is still fairly progressive.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

Because there was not one Founding Father who did not at least study the liberal tradition, I see both Conservative and liberal as deriving from lockian principles. Property rights and the social contract, ie the constitution, are represented in his writings. Also his way of infusing religion and property together would make him a champion of any right wing movement. I guess i could see Hobbes representing the mirror image of what Locke was trying to get across, considering he was a staunch supporter of the Crown. His Leviathan just screams submission and fidelity to the state.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Hahaha, that Leviathan does all right. Come to think of it, I think you're right about Locke. I HAVE heard Conservatives mention his name with ease.

Out of curiosity, what is your feeling towards the Constitution?

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

I believe we are long over due for a convention, but the document serves a good purpose and should be something are nation should be proud to have penned. The ambiguities of some of its tenants are now starting to show.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Friedman maybe (although it depends how you define "right wing" ethos, I mean, the Rand crowd would certainly take issue with his monetary theory), but Smith/Paine conservative (I'd have to disagree)? I mean, I can see where people "might" get that impression with Smith (but it's really not true) ... but I have no idea how one can associate Paine with conservative ethos?

[-] -1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Thanks for contributing here. I am in agreement with all but Plato and Aristotle. Good recomendations, and yes, people should at least be aquainted with Ayn Rand, even if it takes a strong stomach:)

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

You know, I should have added Orwell to the list, and Hemingway. For Whom the Bell Tolls, Animal Farm, 1984!

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I did list 1984, and I would have listed more of his works had I wanted to go on. He was the kind of prescient thinker that can sometimes save the world if people take heed. You can't read too much Orwell. Also, I definately should have put in something by D. H. Lawrence. All of his work is worth reading, but I would especially recommend "Lady Chatterly's Lover." It is not (as reputation would have it) even remotely vulgar, nor is it at all the kind of book the title would imply. It is a great critique of the whole class system and the repressive psychology that underlies it.

[-] 1 points by occupypuppies (71) 2 years ago

1984 is much too depressing and not really relevant. TRY CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE BY THOREAU. http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil1.html

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Great Book! Good to see you back.

[-] 1 points by ancientmariner (275) 2 years ago

"Secret History" Procopius

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Thanks for that link! Further evidence that this movement is here to stay!

[-] 1 points by forjustice (178) from Kearney, NE 2 years ago

I suggest "Imagined Communities" by Benedict Anderson.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

This work is entirely new to me, could you tell me a little more about it?

[-] 1 points by forjustice (178) from Kearney, NE 2 years ago

It's about nationalism, particularly the raise of nationalism, as it exists today.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Interesting, thanks.

[-] 1 points by SkepticismAndWonder (29) from Imperial, CA 2 years ago

I would also suggest The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan, assuming any of you haven't already picked up one of his books.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Yes, I have, but never that one. I'll put in on my list. Thanks.

[-] 1 points by SkepticismAndWonder (29) from Imperial, CA 2 years ago

You're welcome.

[-] 1 points by sabastionzgt (4) 2 years ago

Video about OWS movement !!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6Xy_jN9tFg

[-] 1 points by sabastionzgt (4) 2 years ago

If you like the video share it with the world !!!

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I did, and I will! When I see things like this, I know we will use every nonviolent means to make this a world where we can ALL be entitled to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness! All it takes is a generation that will not be swayed from that calling. Thank you for all your efforts. I never thought I'd live to see the day!

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Thanks! Wow, this is great! I've already got a new book to read and a new video to watch! I like this internet community thing. Just goes to show that an old dog can sometimes learn new tricks.

[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 2 years ago

Theory of the Leisure Class — Thorstein Veblen

Class: A Guide Through the American Status System — Paul Fussell

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I've read the "Veblen," must have been 25 years ago. Yeah it's good! I had forgotton that book altogether; thanks for reminding me! The other is new to me, I'll check it out!

[-] 1 points by UncomonSense (386) 2 years ago

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

Not for any particular political philosophy, but for the effect of totalitarianism in any form upon people.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Great, never read that one, I'll have to get a copy!

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

You're forgetting Catch-22 by Joseph Heller...

[-] -1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Another really good book! I really like that to because of the humor, even though it's dark humor, it really is funny.

[-] 2 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

It's also indispensable for understanding the doublespeak of the 21st century and the absurd/grotesque nature of our warmongering bureaucracy.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Yes, that and 1984 both, of course. As you probably know Orwell coined the tern "doublespeak in that Novel. Thanks for adding Catch 22 here, it definaltely belongs on that list.

[-] 1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

The term that Orwell coined in 1984 is doublethink, not the old and familiar doublespeak. Doublethink is interesting because it describes the act of accepting two contradictory ideas at the same time.

Did you read 1984? I'm wondering because doublethink is an integral concept in that book. It's surprising that you would have missed it or confused it with doublespeak.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

You got me there Thrasymaque. Congradulations!

[-] 1 points by Peacewillprevail (6) 2 years ago

So did you get it? He's right you know.

[-] 0 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

The point was not to get you. It was simply to correct a mistake for the benefit of all forum users, including yourself. The idea of doublethink is too interesting to be confused with doublespeak which is a common concept of lesser depth.

Did you sleep yet?

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20453) 2 years ago

This is a great list, GypsyKing.

Another good novel is "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Yes, I've read it and I agree. An interesting companion to that would be "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Don't listen to the fear mongers. Just occupy the library and grow a really good garden with root vegatables and squashes and plant some fruit trees, and things will be all right, pretty much no matter what happens. We still have a vast and fertile country, and we will find that if necessary we can do without the supermarket. People's needs are a lot fewer than we think. If we all just did this there would be a lot less fear out there.

[-] 1 points by SkepticismAndWonder (29) from Imperial, CA 2 years ago

Don't forget the Iron Heel or Gore Vidal.

[-] -1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

You're right, I should have included Vidal. There are a lot of fine works I left out. Those were just the ones that came to mind on the spur of the moment.

[-] 0 points by 1169 (204) 2 years ago

Great post GypsyKing and yes include the New Testament, I'm sure there are countless books that could be included (Brave New World-Huxley) like a snow ball going down hill the list will get bigger.

[Removed]

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by hoot (313) 2 years ago

A good addition to this list would be most anything by vonnegut i think its a great combination of the light comedic reading as well as callin for the need of social transformation

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Yes, Vonnegut isn't to my taste personally, in a literary sense, but I love where he is coming from philosophically, and for anyone who likes his style that is great.

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

Capitalism - the unknown ideal Ayn Rand

Atlas shrugged Ayn Rand

both good books about our society

[-] 4 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

I just wish all those Randian acolytes would follow the mission statement laid out by Ayn, and find a gulch to go hide in so the American people can rebuild what their greed and her busted philosophy has destroyed.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

You said it!

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

Im sorry you dont like the books they helped me change my out look on life for the better

[-] 3 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

Yeah, sorry, I live in a republic where compromising is necessary, and a mixed economy is the truest form of compromise. I believe you would have better luck living the Randian experience in a totalitarian nation. May I suggest North Korea?

[-] 3 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Seconded.

[-] -1 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

I'm living the Randian experience everyday. I to believe in compromise of a market that is why a free economy is the perfect scenario

How i live the Randian experience everyday but i don't do anything for my self i will take my salary because it is earned as payment. i have moral and an ethic code that can trump any others. i know what must be done to save this world but government always gets in the way. We must build a society of science instead of the bullshit that we have before us.

[-] 2 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

And who decides what are solutions and what are gimmicks? Who pays for the roads when everyone is competing with one another to survive? If man is despicable enough to corrupt government, what chances do we have when the referee, the voice of the majority, Is beholden to those with all the resources? Randian thought may be great for an individual, go getter, but I don't think much shit will get done if there is no way to write laws and survival of the most entrepreneurial becomes the new mode of social interaction. Have you really thought this one all the way through?

[-] 1 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

yes i have i thought it through and we need a government that is truly neutral we don't have that. We never have but we can make it that way. Laws will always be there as people of this land we must make them neutral and unbiased against everyone. No one person can have a disadvantage. If we think on the simple level of one person and think form person to person we can see that direct effect the laws will have.

Roads will always be built society will always have us together we are herd animals nothing more.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

You don't find a disconnect saying, "we are herd animals," and also embracing selfishness?

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

no because i am an animal i have a strive to live breed and protect my pack. Now what we are told separates us from the "true" animals is morals and ethics. Even though it is proven that they also have ethics and morals. I'm not embracing selfishness. I'm embracing self awareness of others and including yourself. If we made a law that targets one type of person whether it be about how much money they have or what type of career choice they made, then that law is wrong and will continue to be wrong. For unjust laws are not laws at all.

the point i'm trying to make is would you want that to be done to you. And if you can answer that question truthfully then you can decide.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Pure social Darwinism, a perversion of both Darwin, and society.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

That's really sad.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

I've been begging them to make good on their idiotic bluff, for some time.

They won't you know, they are far too selfish and lazy......:)

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

It would be too big of a shock to their ego to admit they need us more than we need them. You're right. It'll never happen. I sometimes wonder if Ayn was a Russian mole sent in to destroy us from within. The way she played on what made capitalism great, and turned it inside out, almost seems like it was a well laid out plan. lolol. I say what i say because it has to get under the skin of those who are American exceptionalists to come to grips with the premise that one, lonely Russian girl brought down the American way.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

That wouldn't surprise me at all.

She caricatured all the things that are wrong with the system and glorified them. Then she endorsed and glorified one of the worst human traits of all..........selfishness.

All while not actually producing anything at all.

Kinda like WallStreet.................................:)

No wonder they love her.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Yes, the idea of selfishness as a virtue strains credibility, but understanding Rand really isn't that simple (and I think we do ourselves a disservice by not interacting with Randian philosophy in a more thorough way). If for no other reason, Rand is important because so many people seem to gravitate to her philosophy. So I think ad hominem attacks are best avoided (I mean, just think how we feel when someone attacks a thinker we like on the basis of personal attacks against character, we're very quick to point out the logical fallacy, and so by appealing to ad hominem's, we short of shut ourselves down before we even get out of the gate).

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

I played the straight forward non ad hominem approach early on in the forum.

The constant repetition of randism, has become tedious at best.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Right, and I understand what you're saying (die hard devotees of anything can be frustrating). Nevertheless, what I've done in the past (when discussing this issue) is simply pull a quote from Rand (typically, from Virtue of Selfishness, where she lays out her philosophy) and match it up against the ideas she attacks (for instance, she likes to attack hedonism).

When I show that Rand makes the same mistakes in interpreting hedonism that unsophisticated readers typically make (and pull a quote from someone like John Stuart Mill, who addressed those same objections in a very direct way), the response is much different.

If I try to challenge her ideas in a more cursory way (like merely saying selfishness is bad), the Randian can cite quotes that are very romantic and powerful (Rand became famous for a reason, some of her sayings, on first glance, are very appealing).

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Their reliance on adages and maxims is legendary, and I dismantled them for good effect.

It really isn't that hard to do as their philosophy is based on a work of fiction.

[-] 2 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

And she died on welfare, leeching off the very state she railed against her entire life. No matter how awesome the Randians look in their John Galt capes and tights, they still don't have a cure for old age.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Randism, isn't a cure for anything. It just provides a convenient excuse for selfish behavior.

That's all it ever did.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

A better synopsis of Randian philosophy is contained in "Virtue of Selfishness" (much shorter and better written than her fictional novels).

My short and to the point critique of Rand is ... as if humans need more encouragement to be selfish?

But I'm glad to discuss Rand in a more thorough way with anyone who finds merit in her philosophy (Virtue of Selfishness is on my bookshelf). I don't attack her personal character (I think her early childhood experiences with the Bolsheviks in Russia, which I assume were traumatic from her standpoint, strongly influenced her philosophy).

Ayn Rand wasn't the only thinker who disliked the Bolsheviks. Even Emma Goldman and Berkman became disillusioned with the Bolsheviks and Lenin. But Rand's major flaw is she never really understood the nuances of Anglo thinking. Sort of a weird thing to say, but anyone who's well read in American and British history (including our philosophical tradition) will understand what I mean. She viewed things in very stark and dramatic terms, and she didn't really understand how we massage the more abstract aspects of life and human nature.

In other words, she wrote as an outsider looking in. She romanticized the "idea" of individualism, without really understanding how we view and apply it in practice. Not surprisingly, many of her disciples (when she first started making a name for herself) were very young.

You just can't be satisfied with, for instance, Rand's attacks on hedonist philosophy, if you never read John Stuart Mill or Epicurus (and it seems like many of her fans are all too willing to simply take her word for it).

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

No, they're just nonsence, and evil nonsense at that.

[-] -1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Both pieces of oligarch propoganda, written by a deeply disturbed woman.

[-] 1 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

Still well know books that i was required to read in a public high school. The books themselves are wonderful read of a society on edge they opened my eyes at a young age to capitalism and to research it more.

I do put them in the same category as american psycho since they both touch base on the ideas of the mental mind of the rich.

Great Gatsby would be another one that would fall into this genre. The romance and language of these books is a truly wonderful read. You will need a very strong stomach for american psycho

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Okay, I agree with your take on this. We should read books by those we don't agree with as much as by those we do; in fact we should look at things from as many perspectives as we can. That's real education.

[-] 1 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

yep if you know all views you will know the correct one

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Yes, people need to be exposed to a wide variety of ideas, and if they are, and they agree with Ayn Rand, then as far as I'm concerned they really need to get some help.

Her view could be summed-up as social Darwinism, which is a perversion of Darwin, and also of enlightened social thought.

Just my opinion.

[-] 2 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

yep yep

[-] 0 points by economicallydiscardedcitizen (761) 2 years ago

The Plot Against America-Philip Roth

Somebody else suggested Catch-22 by Joseph Heller beating me to the punch so I had to add Philip Roth and digressing, who can forget Portnoy's Complaint? Somehow there's an oblique analogy in there applicable to Wall Street.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Thanks for the recomendation; haven't read that one but the title alone says a lot.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I just had to add one more title to this list: All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren.

[Removed]

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by occupypuppies (71) 2 years ago

Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinksky

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The essay "Politics and the English Language" by George Orwell: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman: http://www.tenant.net/Community/steal/steal.html

Everything You've Ever Wanted to know about anarchy but were afraid to ask: http://www.radical.org.uk/anarchism/

The Abolition of Work: http://deoxy.org/endwork.htm

Body Wars

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Wow, what a great list! I had the chance to spend an evening with Abbey Hoffman once - great guy!

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Ok, what was that like?

[-] -1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I saw him debate G. Gordon Liddy at a university in Michigan. He called Liddy Gee Gee, which I though was hysterical because Liddy is, or was, such an idiotically puffed-up, macho kind of guy.

This was in the late 80's when Abbey was swimming against the zeitgeist something fierce, and so me and a couple of friends were the only ones talking to him after the debate. The four of us went to a bar and talked all evening. He still had the vestages of his famous sense of humor, but having been beaten-up by the cops a few dozen times, a long struggle with Manic Depression, and The Reagan regime to contend with, he was looking pretty down. He never did lose his Fuck You to authority though; not to the end. He was an American Hero, too far ahead of his time. He had the audacity to think liberty wasn't just having your eggs your way at McDonalds. I was glad to have met him.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

That is too cool. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/chicago7/hoffman.html

It isn't literature but I love it.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Once again, Great List!

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

PS I hope you're doing okay, and that you're among friends, somewhere safe for awhile.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

I recommend all the works of Kierkegaard. He's my favorite writer. If I had to chose one, it would be Diary of a Seducer.

Another great book is The Reveries of the Solitary Walker from Jean-Jacques Rousseau. If you read French, you should read it in its original language. The writing is beautiful and makes good use of arcane verb tenses. A pure joy.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Rousseau was great, but I would add Hume's critique of that sort of thinking (and understanding the Humean view of inductive reasoning, Hume's fork, the "is-ought" problem, etc.), and Kant & Nietzsche is important in this context as well.

[-] -2 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Plato doesn't have a book called the Dialogues. Your use of a capital letter in this case and the fact that all your other entries are books are misleading. Perhaps you can tell use which dialogue we should read. There's almost 50 of them.

It's the New Testament, not the New Testement. And, of course, that book should be omitted from this list.

It's almost as if you think the people on this forum don't read.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Man you have some persnickity little points there. Thanks for enlightening me.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

I think precision is important. Someone who doesn't know Plato would be confused to read Dialogues with a capital letter. It's better to clarify that his dialogues embody all his work.

If you're going to be so arrogant as to suggest reading material for other users on this forum, you should at least provide a clear and precise list.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

What exactly is so arrogant about recommending books?

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

It assumes people here need a list of books to read.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

No it doesn't. I'm just expressing an opinion. I think it's arrogant of you to say that it's arrogant of me to recommend books. Who are you, the universal censor?

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

What have I censored? Again, use the dictionary. I have not suppressed anything on this page. Quite to the contrary, I provided corrections for some of your many mistakes. Free of charge!

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

You have said that I am arrogant for recommending books. That is in effect a way of trying to censor me.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Did I suppress your speech in any way? No. I have only expressed an opinion. That is not censorship. I find it strange that you would post something on a forum, then be angry when people reply to your post with an opinion about it. If criticism scares you, it would be better to stay away from Internet forums.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I don't like your interrogatory manner. You act as if you are some kind of petty official handing out demerits to inferiors. I have no problem talking with people who don't adopt an overbearing, pedantic attitude.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

I'm simply posing questions. I was wondering why you think I'm censoring you when I'm not. We can forget it. It's not important.

[-] -3 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Oh yeah, it's persnickety, not persnickity. Don't you have a spellchecker for your browser?

And, les misérables, not Les Miserables. (You're missing an accent, and titles aren't capitalized in French)

[-] 1 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Oh boy! Grammar lessons from a pedantic dunce with a thesaurus! My favorite!

Thug: "Hey, don't blame me. I'm just the messenger."

Parker: "Now you're the message."

Think about it.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

No, I don't use spellcheck. It makes you lazy.

[-] -2 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Then you should work hard to spell correctly. I'll suggest a book for you: the dictionary.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

If your critisim of me is that my spelling isn't flawless, than you're right. Now you can declair your little victory and do a little victory dance. Or you might try having something of substance to say.

[-] 0 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

It's "declare", not "declair".

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Yep, I'm pretty tired right now, and my bad spelling gets even worse when I'm tired. I'm glad that people use spellcheck and that gives some of them a reason to feel superior. Some people need all the help they can get.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

I understand. Just a friendly little non-violent correction. It's not like we need the BlackBloc or anything. Carry on.

Oh wait, I think I read something about Blackbloc being part of OWS now. Seems we need to work on our spelling and creating a proper- like revolution. What's a revolution without a little BlackBloc violence. I wonder if the BlackBloc has read any of this book list.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/is-occupy-still-non-violent-or-as-my-prediction-un/

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

You and your master are becoming rather transparent. You all sit in the same room and pretend that you can stand each other's company. Well, the rest of us can't even pretend. We can smell you right through the ether.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

Meow.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

ether, not either.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Sorry, I don't get high on that stuff. That must be for trolls.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

No, I think most everybody here knows the difference between ether and either. You learn about ether in high-school science class.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

What the heck is ether it? Man, I really do think you've been snorting it! This conversation's over, and I would warn anyone here to avoid anyone using an Ancient Greek name. Answer, and you will be painstakingly anesthetized into stupifaction; probably with the ether Thrasymaque here has been snorting in his troll lair!

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Nice! You found a mistake in one of my posts. Thanks! Honestly, I love it when people help me better my English. I edited that post a few times and must have left an old version of the sentence. I'll correct it now.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Use a spellchecker and you won't need our help. ;-)

[-] 0 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

It's interesting. It comes from the French. Declare essentially means "to make clear." In French, the word "clair" translates to clear--like clarity.

There's nothing wrong with writing "declair." It looks quite beautiful and denotes the precise same meaning as declare.

[-] 0 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Lol! Good night April.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

There's no victory to be won here. I'm just helping you correct your mistakes because I think it's important.

Which dialogues from Plato have you read? Which one was your favorite and why?

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I have read most of them. My favorites are The Meno, The Phado and Apollogy.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Apology, not Appology. That is indeed a classic. A must read in my opinion.

Why do you think Socrates refused to flee after his hearing?

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

If you are really interested I will continue this conversation with you later. I've been up for twenty hours now. I'm glad to know that you've actually read Apology. I would be interested to talk to you about it, but I'm too tired right now to do so very coherently.

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Let Morpheus take you in his arms and fly you away to the world of dreams. We can discuss Plato's Apology another time.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Ah, I recognise that style, or rather the lack of it. There can't be two people in the whole world so aggressively and pointlessly pedantic. You think you're pretty clever with your little Trojan Horse thing, don't you? I take it that you, in your typically obnoxious manner, assume no one else here knows any Greek word origins. How many names do you go by here anyway, syphilis?

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

Ah, I recognise that style, or rather the lack of it.

If there was no style, there would be nothing to recognize.


Iv'e been honest about this from the very beginning. Iv'e repeated this on a gazillion occasions. I am all the characters in Plato's Republic. I thought that was always obvious. If I wanted to hide, I wouldn't use names that all have a connection between themselves.

The first book (or rather books) in your collection is Plato's dialogues. I thought you understood that I was Thrasymaque, Glaucon, Cephalus, Socrate, Polermarchus, and Adeimantus. I'm sorry, but I assumed you had read The Republic.


Did you sleep already?

So, what's your take on Socrate's choice to drink the hemlock instead of escaping?

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

My take is that anyone who believes he's all the characters in Plato's Republic is pretty far out there, and I would appreciate it if you didn't respond to any of my posts or comments in the future, in any one of your numerous guises.

[-] -3 points by Kirby (104) 2 years ago

What about Bambi?

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

That would probably be more on your level. You might also want to check out Peter Pan.

[-] -2 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

http://pixyland.org/peterpan/

One of the best sites on the Net.

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I wouldn't touch that link! That's a warning to everybody out there!

[-] 0 points by Cephalus (146) 2 years ago

It's an awesome site. Super funny. I'm sad you believe the conspiracy theorists and your friend TITOUAISE. There's no porn at all on that site and I'm not a paid agent. You can fall back in Morpheus's arms now.

Honestly, that is one of the coolest sites on the Net.

Are you homophobic or something? It's just a guy having fun dressing up as Peter Pan.

[-] -1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

The question is, why do you introduce it here at all?

[Removed]