Book highlights

So I’ve been reading a fair amount lately and since it’s via the kindle reader, I’ve also been making highlights.  I thought I’d share a bit..

From Fahrenheit 451, I’ve highlighted the following.  Fahrenheit 451, you might recall, is set in a world where books are banned, where the firemen light the fires, and where the majority of people live in constant contact with external inputs like the multiple television screens on their walls.

“Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority.”

“And when he died, I suddenly realize I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for all the things he did.  I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the back yard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did.  He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to them just the way he did. He was individual.  He was an important man.  I’ve never gotten over his death.  Often I think, what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died.  How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands.  He shaped the world.  He did things to the world.  The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.”

“It doesn’t matter what you do, he aid, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”

“‘I hate a Roman named Status Quo!’ he said to me.  ‘Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds.  See the world.  It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.  Ask no guarantees, ask for no security,”

From 1984, I’ve marked the passages below.  1984 is Orwell’s distopian view of the future where Big Brother and The Party rule through continuous surveillance, strict rules and secret police.  I was frightened by some of the passages and how true they can sound today.

“Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your own nervous system.  At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.”

“There was a direct, intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy.  … The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account.”

“… but with another part of her mind she believed that it was somehow possible to construct a secret world in which you could live as you chose.”

“One knew that it was all rubbish, so why let oneself by worried by it?”

“… but the inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained impregnable.”

“… the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away.”

“… he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph.”

“The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living.”

“What opinions the masses hold, or do not hold, is looked on as a matter of indifference.  They can be granted intellectual liberty because they have no intellect.”

On a totally different note, a something I’ve not picked up recently, is the book “Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu”  From that I’ve only highlight two passages but they book as a whole has been an amazing and surprising view into Japanese society, even a few hundred years after the era of the samurai.

“He also keeps warily aloof from sexual feelings, the foremost confusion of humankind,”

“When ancient warriors were asked for something, they would consider its feasibility, and if they thought it unfeasible, they would not agree to it to begin with.  Even something they thought feasible they would agree to undertake only after careful consideration; therefore anything they had actually agreed to would be taken care of without fail.”

I hope you find these interesting… perhaps they’ll stir you as they have me… and perhaps they won’t, but that’s fine too.

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