Today is Tuesday and a somewhat chilly and dark late December afternoon here in downtown Copenhagen.
Also it’s now less than a week until Christmas Eve. Not that this is a big deal – neither the closeness nor the Eve itself. After all I have no progeny and, frankly, I’m no more a kid myself, I’m afraid.
Also it’s only ten days until Dec.28, the last weekday in 2018. But that day is set up to be the ultimate and final day of the permanent dutch book sale in the Coal Market (Kultorvet) here in central Copenhagen.
The word around town is the bookseller has had his lease terminated from the end of 2018. Which may very likely be inauspicious for the friendly Vangsgaard antiquarian booksellers, – although perhaps not so much for myself.
As a matter of fact I’m beginning to feel a bit crowded or even claustrophobic in my small flat from being surrounded by books almost everywhere.
But today the books are 20 kr.($3) each, and wanting to find yet one or two small presents I ventured inside once more. Having less than half an hour at my disposal, however I didn’t quite manage to find appropiate presents – but perhaps tomorrow or day after tomorrow?
I found these, however:
1. ERINDRINGER AF MIT LIV. Ved. K(nud) L(yhne) Rahbek. 2.vols. Kiöbenhavn, 1825, Schulz, 372 p.
This small volume, nicely bound in contemporary half-calf is ofcourse only the second volume of several (at least three)(note 1). But as the book is wonderfully preserved both outside and, especially, inside I coundn’t resist it at the modest price asked. Also it seems to be the original edition?
Here is a small, somewhat randomly chosen sample (p.147):
‘Forresten førte jeg her i de faa dage et liv efter min smag, lærte ikke at kiænde mere af Berlin end veien til Comediehuset, og til mine fire, frem dramatiske og litterariske bekiendte, saa i øvrigt ingen ting, end ikke Posens da navnkundige kaffehuus, hvor ellers alle reisende toge die Galanterien von Berlin i øiesyn, omtrent formodentlig som paa Salon d’Apollon i Hamborg, som jeg heller ikke har seet.
‘Samsøe, der havde sands og smag for kunstsamlinger, gallerier o.d.l., morede sig ogsaa paa sin viis her særdeles vel, men forlod Berlin en dag før mig, for at tage Potsdams mærkværdigheder i øiesyn, og samledes vi da igien der, for at gaa tilbage til Leipzig.’
(Note 1. The complete set is in 5 volumes, issued 1824-29. A set in nice condition would be several hundred dollars).
2. 25 LESSONS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT (PHOTOGRAPHY) LIFE. By Lorenzo Dominguez. NewYork, 2008, Blurb.com, 134 p., paperback.
This small ‘photobook’ in pocketbook format is virtually like new and is probably unread. On the back cover you can read a.o.:
‘I don’t think I’ve ever read as moving a piece on the craft of photography in my life. This one really touches my soul…it’s going to really impact my life.’ Phyllis Johnson, photojournalist and author of Being Frank with Anne.
‘Lorenzo is a master. His 25 Lessons are…as seminal as Ansel’s dissertation on the zone system. I found them to be reenergizing, perceptive and extremely useful. I have been touched by his story, his writings and by his work. I can’t imagine anyone not being so.’ Barry Shapiro, Los Angeles.
3. MENNESKETS DOBBELTHJERNE. En Artikelsamling. Af Wittrock, Bogen, Gazzaniga, Jerison, Krashen, Nebes and Teyler. København, 1979, Nyt Nordisk Forlag Arnold Busck, 205 p., paperback. (Translated from ‘The Human Brain’, Prentice Hall, 1977).
This is, incidentally, an issue that I’ve often alluded to – i.e. the ‘two brains of the humans’. The left half-brain, ‘the robot brain’ and the right half-brain, ‘the holistic, intuitive brain’.
In an earlier essay: ‘The Origin Of Mind And Other Trifles’ https://blocnotesimma.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/the-origins-of-mind-and-other-trifles/ I’ve very briefly related on an author, that has somehow managed to put things more or less on it’s head in his otherwise interesting book, THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BREAK-DOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND. By Julian Jaynes. Boston, 1990.
That authors thesis is, very roughly, that the left-brain caracteristics are an more advanced evolution of the – more primitive – right-brains caracteristica. And, especially, that human ‘consciousness’ is mostly a quality of the more recently developed left brain.
Also that the right-brain made ‘communication’ with ‘the Gods’ possible, and that this ‘communication’ meant that humans thence had less ‘counciousness’ of their own (and less ‘free will’, I presume?).
Frankly, the first thesis is mostly nonsens, in so far as the stark predominance of the left brain is certainly not an advancement or progress. Quite the opposite it represent a degeneration of the harmonious human mind of yore. A harmonious equilibrium you, incidentally, are likely to find universally in the Cosmos whereever sane ‘human’ life is prospering.
(As an aside and just very briefly: The Universe was not ‘born’ or ‘created’ and did not ‘start’ with the phantasm called ‘The Big Bang’.
You have really no reason to believe the Universe was ‘born’ or ‘created’ (out of what?) just like you have really no reason to believe that ‘humans’ are younger than the Universe itself!
Most people will just have to contend with ‘We don’t know’ and always be vigilant against all and everyone trying to impose their ignorance upon them with more or less silly, ostensibly ‘scientifically confirmed’ facts.
“Man is not born to solve the mystery of Existence; but he must, nevertheless, attempt it, in order that he may learn how to keep within the limits of the knowable”. (Goethe) (Note 2)
Like I tweeted recently: It’s as silly to believe you may discover ‘the origin’ of language as to think you may discover ‘the origin’ of the Universe.)
But Mr. Jaynes is right in so far as there is a difference of the quality of conscienceness between the typical right-brain dominated compared to the left-brain dominated individual.
The left-brain dominated person has a quality of consciousness much more confined to only that very person, whereas counsciousness of the right-brain is much less limited and more universal, eventually, perhaps, feeling a degree of community with everyone else and the Cosmos – and perhaps ‘the Gods’ – albeit to varying degrees, of course.
The author maintains, that the left brain has grown much more dominating especially in the last few milleniums, and that this has resulted in humans having got much more counciousness.
As told, this is almost completely rubbish. In fact it’s the other way around: The (partly) withering away of (the use of) the right brain means the counciousness of humans have become very much limited and confined to oneself, ultimately resulting in ‘The egotistic Robots’.
Whence the ‘Human Robots’ that are in fact now running most of our Earth and that, if left unchecked, will surely and in quite short order mean total destruction of Earth and Humanity.
Off hand ‘Menneskets Dobbelthjerne’ appears to be a rather dry, very ‘scientific’ exposition of the accepted knowledge on the issue in the late seventies. I have to leave it at that and reserve my opinion subject further perusal of the book.
(Note 2. Here quoted from the titel page of ‘A Biographical History of Philosophy. By G.H. Lewes. London/Newyork, Routledge & Sons, 1891).
4. THE EAGLE IN SPLENDOUR. NAPOLEON I AND HIS COURT. By Philip Mansel. London, 1987, 232 p.
This beautiful, profusely illustrated, large book (small quarto) is quite a find for 3 dollars. From the inside front flap of the dustcover I cite.
‘This is a new view of the most famous man in history. It shows him as a monarch rather than as a genius on the battlefield.
‘Although Napoleon rose through the events of the Revolution, he was primarily interested in establishing a dynasty to rank with the Bourbons of the Habsburgs, and in extending his influence through Europe.
‘Philip Mansel’s fascinating book shows the ruthlessness with which Napoleon sought to achieve these ends. His establishment of a court was a calculated act, to enhance his power and prestige.
‘His policy of territorial expansionism was pursued with an arrogance and inhumanity which turned all Europe against him.
‘His extraordinary brothers and sisters were given thrones and courts in Italy, Spain, Holland and Germany, where they lived lives of luxury and self-aggrandizement in the napoleonic style.’
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