Flowers of the Mind 16

Elena Shvarts and the burnt archive. Olga Tokarczuk, The Books of Jacob, and the perils of order in history. The Stranger Effect and the charisma of Messiahs. The Coming of the Third Reich. Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil and the ethics of poetry as gathering flowers of the mind.

America’s Hispanic Past and its Hispanic Future Proves it is not Exceptional

"even well-educated, amiable, open-minded people in the United States do not realize that their country has a Hispanic past as well as a Hispanic future."Felipe Fernandez-Armesto Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States Over the last few weeks I have read Felipe Fernandez-Armesto's Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States. The... Continue Reading →

Notes on a Balinese cockfight

I am in Bali, staying for a short stay luxury escape at Padma Resort, Ubud, which is actually at a small village, Payangan, about 45 minutes drive north of Ubud. It is a marketing sleight of hand by the resort, but no matter. For the cost of minor distance from the well-known Ubud, connected by... Continue Reading →

The slow death of my history

Over the last couple of months I have been reading history.  Simon Sebag Montefiore's The Romanovs: 1613-1918, Orlando Figes A People's Tragedy: the Russian Revolution 1891-1924, and Ian Kershaw's Rollercoaster: Europe 1950-2017. All of this reading has been valuable and fascinating to me. The intricate catastrophes of the Romanov dynasty, the myriad tragedies of the... Continue Reading →

Turn and face the strange…

About a year ago I wrote a post Time might change me, but I can't change time. It was prompted by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto’s A foot in the river: why our lives change and the limits of evolution, and frustration with a dose of bland management rhetoric about change. Today I finished rereading Fernandez-Armesto’s book, again prompted to... Continue Reading →

Final millennial prediction: initiative will continue to shift

Fernandez-Armesto's final prediction is almost too mild. It would seem like stating the obvious until you recall how often the obvious is ignored. Cultures freeze their minds at the moment of their triumph, and continue to regard themselves as global leaders while decay is obvious to all. The United States with its eternally replenishing liberal... Continue Reading →

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