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Flowers of the Mind

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.

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history the real world today

America’s fate: civil war, fragmentation or collapse?

Today after the distressing events and death in the Capitol building of Washington DC that interrupted the process of confirming electoral college votes, I am reposting this piece from five months ago. It may be more relevant today than then. I would place my bets on fragmentation or collapse at this stage *** Original Post […]

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culture history the real world today

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. […]

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history the real world today

America’s fate: civil war, fragmentation or collapse?

There is increasing talk of a looming civil war in America. There has even been a website – anewcivilwar.com – established to track the increasing speculation on civil war by both left and right. Two years ago the academic military strategist, Michael Vlahos speculated on the form and likelihood of a Third Civil War. Vlahos […]

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culture

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 […]

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culture history literature Personal story Uncategorized

My descriptions of the Northern Peoples – travel in Stockholm and Uppsala

I am returning today to my notes on my travels, and piecing together the literary and cultural associations prompted by my travels through Stockholm and Uppsala in June. I began to say that I knew little Swedish or Scandinavian writing or culture as I entered the country, but that was not really true. As we […]

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history

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 […]

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culture history the real world today

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 […]

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culture history

The many cradles of civilizations (list)

Civilizations and natures From time to time, I am tempted to be a prophet of a doom, and like Cassandra abandon myself to “the awful pains of prophecy… maddening as they fall” (Agamemnon); but something in my temperament, holds me back to a more tempered and sane view. History is neither progress nor complete decay. […]

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culture history

Time may change me but I can’t change time

Roger Scruton writes, in How to be a Conservative: Whatever our religion and our private convictions, we are the collective inheritors of things both excellent and rare, and political life, for us, ought to have one overriding goal, which is to hold fast to those things, in order to pass them on to our children […]

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history

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 […]