ugh reading all that makes me realize how much i'm slacking. given that i'm majoring in philosophy and that i really do enjoy the stuff, i should be taking a lot more of my books seriously. i'm reading a lot more regularly starting tomorrow, a proposition that i intend to keep lest i fall once more into a state of intellectual complacency, or ignorance, perhaps the most costly mistake of them all.
Since i'm slacking in this thread horribly let me just add quickly the books I brought to China w/ me:
Russel's History of Western Philosophy (not technical I know but he writes fine about the history and connects/reconnects the major figures for me in a neat way, for the most part--for instance, his treatment of Locke was lovely).
Nietzsche's Untimely Meditations (I chose this specifically because I always enjoyed reading it whenever I visited the bookstore on my breaks--I enjoy reading the more mature Nietzsche stuff like The Gay Science and similar works but also I appreciate The Birth of Tragedy so I figure why not look at something even earlier where Nietzsche was still believing he was academic and professional, not like I won't like it).
Heidegger Intro to Metaphysics (Polt Trans. --I've read Polt's translation of Nietzsche and it was great. I think the combination of this book, H's companionpiece to his major book, combined with one of my favorite translators, maybe will make Heidegger more accessable to me--normally when I read him I am only picking up broad strokes, but this book seems like it might be different--the later Heidegger explaining the early Heidegger, through a translator I appreciate.)
The Freud Reader (Peter Gay Ed.--Major continental figure, y not--had only three classes with him somewhat, and they were too broad or too narrow, so maybe I can work through this).
BTW I like books like this not just for the primary works but also for the editor's remarks. I love reading intros and shit like that, except with Russel's book which is just a big book of intros if you will.
Critique of Pure Reason--the new revised translation that penguin put out, not that cambridge mess or w/e it was. I think this is good.
Truth (Blackwell or w/e, seems like an analytic minded book written for the genearl audience treating the problem of truth, meant to provide a nice little overview kind of like Russel but a little more up to date, more specific etc. seems alright, if only where I would extend or object or become more aware of the differences between some of those figures I don't know enough about that are too new for Russel to have written about, or written about well etc.)
Mayb that's it. I intend to read the Heidegger, Kant, Freud, Nietzsche very slowly. I really had to keep my list short and realistic because I didn't have much room to pack, and I know I won't have time to read that much while I'm here.
celestine propechy - can't decide what i think about this. seems like a decent "self-help"/eye-opening companion at the start, then abruptly states that "plants can tell what humans are thinking" and "with practice, if you unfocus ur eyes and hold ur hands up to the sky then you can actually see the magical aura of energy that surrounds all things". the latter half of the book seems to delve into basic/common psychological traits, all whilst labelling the chapters as "[Number] Prophecy". my friend adores it but i feel almost sick reading it because to me it sounds like 20% good ideas 80% complete BULLSHIT based on unrepeatable non-evidence and either stemming from money-based lies or simple-minded dellusion
quantum and consciousness
philosophers of the world
mind controllers - apparently looks at psychic techniques that governments have experimented with
a shitload of fantasy-adventure books
problem is i like watching VODs too much recently (past few months) so i've been doing that in place of reading every time
The most important issue here is not self improvement at all, it's just giving yourself the right time and place, to become aware of your values--aware enough that they effect your actions. If you find yourself regrettably, wastefully passing the time, then you haven't found it yet.
I wouldn't waste another second forcing yourself to read some book. If you're going to put forth any effort at all I would say just go on long walks or better yet, long sits. Just sit for 5 mins, or more. Give yourself a chance to know what you want to do before you find yourself having done it for the past 5 hours. And when you burn yourself out one day and have a moment where you are tired of VODs or whatever else--try to do something to remind yourself of this moment--to send yourself a message--to make the epiphany persist--to keep history from repeating itself.
That's what's important to me. I read the books I do for other reasons. But I would give it all up to just sit and know my life and to be accustomed to looking at it firmly rather than being accustomed to averting with all the technological temptations to waste me.