Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries Tagged as 'Complexity'

People are neither Good nor Bad – “All the King’s Men”, Robert Penn Warren

May 17th, 2012 · Comments Off on People are neither Good nor Bad – “All the King’s Men”, Robert Penn Warren · Complexity, History, Humanism, Morality, Philosophy, Quotes

Jack Burden: “what we students of history always learn is that the human being is a very complicated contraption and that they are not good or bad but are good and bad and the good comes out of bad and the bad out of good, and the devil take the hindmost.”

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Tags:bad··Good···morality·

The Disposition Not to Prepare for the Harder Alternative – “The Guns of August 1914”, Barbara Tuchman

March 30th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Disposition Not to Prepare for the Harder Alternative – “The Guns of August 1914”, Barbara Tuchman · Complexity, History, Leadership, Philosophy, Politics

One constant among the elements of 1914—as of any era—was the disposition of everyone on all sides not to prepare for the harder alternative, not to act upon what they suspected to be true.

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Immigration and Race – “The Unfinished Revolution: How New Labour Changed British Politics Forever” – Philip Gould

January 11th, 2012 · Comments Off on Immigration and Race – “The Unfinished Revolution: How New Labour Changed British Politics Forever” – Philip Gould · Campaigning, Complexity, Culture, Democracy, Electoralism, Ethnicity, Humanism, Leadership, Morality, Multi-culturalism, Philosophy, Policy, Politics, Sociology, UK Labour, United Kingdom

The politics of grievance can be harsh and it is never easy moderating a group where the sole focus is immigration. But immigration, like crime, like welfare abuse, is not an issue we can avoid; we must deal with it head on. Not just because of the sense of unfairness that people hold but also […]

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Tags:·Focus Groups·Immigration····Refugees

The Complex Moral Calculus of Politics from “Writers and Leviathan” in “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Complex Moral Calculus of Politics from “Writers and Leviathan” in “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Complexity, Economics, Ideology, Means and Ends, Morality, Politics, Progressive Politics, Writing

We feel this dilemma to be a painful one, because we see the need of engaging in politics while also seeing what a dirty, degrading business it is. And most of us still have a lingering belief that every choice, even every political choice, is between good and evil, and that if a thing is […]

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Tags:··morality·morality plays··progressive·

Ideological Dogma and Quality of Writing – “Writers and Leviathan” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Ideological Dogma and Quality of Writing – “Writers and Leviathan” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Complexity, Ideology, Politics, Writing

In every such case there is a conclusion which is perfectly plain but which can only be drawn if one is privately disloyal to the official ideology. The normal response is to push the question, unanswered, into a corner of one’s mind, and then continue repeating contradictory catchwords.

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Tags:cognitive dissonance·contradiction··

Learning, Entertainment and Academic Writing – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

September 28th, 2011 · Comments Off on Learning, Entertainment and Academic Writing – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James · Complexity, Culture, Elitism, Writing

The necessity to entertain could sometimes be the enemy of learning, but not as often as the deadly freedom to write as if nobody would ever read the results except a faculty supervisor who owed his post to the same exemption.

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On Simplification – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

September 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on On Simplification – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James · Complexity, History, Ideology, Politics, Totalitarianism

Modern history had given us enough warning against treating simplifications as real. The totalitarian states, the great sponsors of mass atrocity against innocent human beings, had been propelled by ideologies, and what else was an ideology except a premature synthesis?

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Artistic Contradiction – “Anthills of the Savannah”. Chinua Achebe 

September 26th, 2011 · Comments Off on Artistic Contradiction – “Anthills of the Savannah”. Chinua Achebe  · Art, Colonialism, Complexity, Culture, Power

Do I contradict myself?” asked Walt Whitman. “Very well, I contradict myself,” he sang defiantly. “I am large, I contain multitudes.” Every artist contains multitudes. Graham Greene is a Roman Catholic, a partisan of Rome, if you like. Why then does he write so compulsively about bad, doubtful and doubting priests? Because a genuine artist, […]

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Tags:art··contradiction··Oppression··

Frank and Simple People – “The Sun Also Rises” – Ernest Hemingway

September 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Frank and Simple People – “The Sun Also Rises” – Ernest Hemingway · Complexity, Humanism, Philosophy

I mistrust all frank and simple people, especially when their stories hold together,

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Tags:·People

Politics and Motivation – “All too Human” – George Stephanopoulos

September 6th, 2011 · Comments Off on Politics and Motivation – “All too Human” – George Stephanopoulos · Complexity, Electoralism, Ideology, Means and Ends, Philosophy, Policy, Politics, US Politics

Citing T.S. Eliot: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.”

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Tags:idealism·····Principles