I am prepared now to go forward with the Jim Jones series, starting with his early life. That will come tomorrow or the day after. What has happened so far is good, lots of input which I have not and will not read until my own work, such as it is, is done.
This is, however, a diversion. While in Europe I ran out of reading material, and when we got home found nothing of interest. But while in college I was introduced to two volumes, The American Intellectual Tradition, edited by David A. Hollinger and Charles Capper. They have sat on my bookshelf for years.
My intent was to go back and reread a selection from Thorstein Veblen’s The Theory of the Leisure Class wherein he introduces for the first time the concept of “conspicuous consumption.” When in college (and I told the professor this) the man’s words simply did not penetrate my thick cranium*. I kept losing focus. The professor, a wise man, simply smiled and said don’t worry. My intent yesterday was to read it again to see if the cranium had lost some of its bone mass.
But I stumbled and never got there, instead reading a portion of William James’ The Will to Believe. I am a great admirer of this man and his pristine and probing intellect, first having read about him in Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club, and then reading his (very accessible) series of lectures that came to be known as The Varieties of Religious Experience (available as a free download at Gutenberg).
Continue reading “Standing in the midst of whirling snow and blinding mist …”