Der Steppenwolf. " I neither can nor intend to tell my readers how they ought to understand my tale. May everyone find in it what strikes a chord in him and is of some use to him. But I would be happy if many of them were to realize that the story of the Steppenwolf pictures a disease and crisis-but not one leading to death and destruction, on the contrary: to healing."
The author himself recognized that many of his readers would not get the same messages when reading his works, and that some may even see things that he himself had not intended, and had overlooked. In light of the fact that the author wanted everyone to find what was useful for themselves, please re read the two Steppenwolf passages and leave a comment on what they cause you to think of or feel. Contradict my ideas, agree, come up with something totally new. It is important to me, because by sharing ideas with each other, we are able to solve puzzles where neither you nor I have all the pieces as individuals, but may have all the pieces between the two (or more) of us.
Thanks, have a lovely weekend,
David Blaine [7:50 AM]
Visionary Philosopher. You've seen those little quizzes where you find out your "type"? Well the folks at Emode.Com have a free, scientific IQ test that will tell you your score and also analyze your personality type. I won't tell you my score, but I was determined to be a visionary philosopher. I won't argue, I don't know what the alternatives were. You can take the test online here. It's 50 multiple choice questions. After getting your score you can compare your results to others here. Find your score in the first column and go to the fifth column to find your percentile rank. For example, a 140 score is better than 99.4% of people tested.
David Blaine [4:03 PM]
Worry Not I just changed the comments template. All the comments are still there, and it is the same in every way except the appearance, and the "dream out loud" prompt which I like very much.
David Blaine [12:38 PM]
Harry Haller: "These horrors (of the Middle Ages) were really nonexistent. A man of the Middle Ages would detest the whole mode of our present-day life as something far more than horrible,far more than barbarous. Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. A man of the Classical Age who had to live in medieval times would suffocate miserably just as a savage does in the midst of our civilisation. Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence."
Hermann Hesse, Der Steppenwolf
If you want to feel like you've sprouted wings, push yourself to embrace change with open arms, force yourself to grow adept at adapting to the new and eschewing the old ways. Then you will be able to smile while all about are grimacing. To illustrate how difficult the average man finds change, the salesmen at my company had been using old army desks left over from I think the Korean war. They were ugly, painted many times, and too large. The company invested in new modern looking desks that were large enough to do the job but left extra room in the salespeople's cubicles. And they bitched about it, for weeks. Why, no reason, just that they liked the old desks because they were used to them. They had no real complaints about the new ones. Is it any wonder the average person doesn't like to accept new ideas and concepts? How do you adjust to change? Expect it, throw yourself into it, then change becomes the norm. Learn a bit of a new language. If you listen to oldies rock, turn on hip hop, or country and western. If you like to run, ride a bike, if you like to ride a bike, swim, or bowl , or play basketball. If you like to eat asian cuisine, try a switch to middle eastern, or continental. If you read novels, switch to history or biography. And if you hate anyone, invite them out to lunch!
David Blaine [10:39 AM]
'Most men will not swim before they are able to.' Is not that witty? Naturally, they won't swim! They are born for the solid earth, not for the water. And naturally they won't think. They are made for life, not for thought. Yes, and he who thinks, whats more, he who makes thought his business, he may go far in it, but he has bartered the solid earth for the water all the same, and one day he will drown."
Hermann Hesse, Der Steppenwolf
When I decided to train for a triathlon I already knew I could ride the bicycle and run well enough, but I had to learn to swim. It was difficult. Oh I could swim alright, but it was difficult to swim well enough to race. So it is with thought. We all think things all the time, but to think in an orderly fashion, to support your thought with reasoning, that takes some time. And it takes an open mind as well, because as we learn new facts and ideas and concepts, the supporting ideas of our thought evolve. If we remain stuck to our original thoughts, we will "drown" in them. Yes, in order to grow, we must be open to discovering the errors of our ways and move on. And if we are to do that for ourselves, surely, we must afford our friends and associates the same courtesy. To afford them the luxury of holding ideas based on their present knowledge, not criticizing them for that, but only sharing new ideas with them so that they, or we, might become larger people with grander ideas. I know many think that tolerance is a form of weakness. I see it as something only a truly strong person is capable of.
David Blaine [4:07 PM]
Thanks Doobs Doobs shared this Mary J Blige song with me called Rainy Dayz. She said she always thought of it when coming to visit Smile At Me. It's not the song (Wooden Ships) that inspired the title here, but I love this song. I hope you enjoy it too.
Rule baby, yeah
Mary J. Blige
It's just those rainy days
Spend a lifetime tryin' to wash away
Until the sun comes out and shines again
Smile for me, smile for me
All of those rainy days
Spend a lifetime tryin' to wash away
Until the sun shines and I see your face
Smile at me, smile at me
Read the rest of Rainy Dayz here.
David Blaine [9:59 AM]
Friends in Need.
Here are two souls who need our prayers and perhaps letters. Read their latest news stories below.
Aung San Suu Kyi , Winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, is in "protective custody".
You can communicate with Aung San Suu Kyi at her Home Page. There is a guest book, latest news, and a Contact Form online there.
Amina Lawal, The Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for having a child out of wedlock, has had her appeal delayed until August.
Reach the Merton Amnesty Group for more info on the effort to help Amina Lawal
David Blaine [9:50 AM]
Driving into work this morning I heard on National Public Radio that 400,000 families go hungry each day. There is a lot of good information located at the Hungerday site, and also at America's Second Harvest. In 2001, the USDA reported that the number of Americans who were food insecure, or hungry or at risk of hunger, was 33.6 million. If you have enough food for your family, thank God and a farmer today.
David Blaine [9:15 AM]
Michigan athlete visits Iran. Mike Ellsworth, a native of Caro, Michigan, recently competed in a wrestling tournament in Iran. He had some grave reservations about going, and even decided against telling his parents, so they wouldn't worry about him. What did Mike find in Iran? Visit the article at Sport Illustrated to find out. It will be worth your time.
David Blaine [6:39 PM]
I was able to get a car that looks just like this for about 20 cents on the dollar the other day. I've been looking for a convertible for about 10 years, but would never part with the dough. It's mine now! Cheaper than therapy.
David Blaine [5:42 PM]
On Sunday, June 1, 2003 at 5th Ave. and 59th St. in Manhattan, NYC a group of anti-Zionist Jews demonstrated against Zionism and the Zionist State celebrated by marchers in the so-called Israel Day Parade.
More info available at NETUREI KARTA INTERNATIONAL, JEWS UNITED AGAINST ZIONISM
David Blaine [1:01 PM]
Weathermen So I'm feeling kind of embarrassed because I've gone out to some friends sites and hounded them about the war in Iraq. And I know I'm wrong. I told one, there has to be a good reason the US went into Iraq, because if there isn't, we aren't any better as a nation than those bastard kids who would pour gasoline on a cat and light it just to hear the cat scream. Well, there is a reason, but I doubt we will ever hear it. We will hear excuses. I am tired of having to shut up or worse, defend something that was done on the sly, under ruse and lie. It was the WMD, then it was to liberate the people. Now Paul Wolfowitz is saying it was for the Saudis. We wanted to pull our troops out of Saudi Arabia (which we've done) so as not to offend the Muslim people there. And we wanted the Saudis to be free of the threat of Saddam when we pulled out. Remember the Bob Dylan song Subterranean Homesick Blues? Well, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows". When the president admits he did it to get even with Saddam for trying to take out Bush's dad, I'll believe that. Now that we've destroyed property, lives, and the existing law and order in Iraq, we have to put things back together. I don't see an alternative to that, pulling out would leave a vacuum that could be worse than what was there before the war. In the end I hope the country is better off than before. It seems like it should be. But if the US starts eyeing up any more targets overseas I for one will be demanding more than the US's say so before I support any more wars.
David Blaine [8:53 AM]
The Second Door.
Each morning I rise, dress, and leave my bedroom to meet the
rest of the world. Each time I leave, I have to choose between
two doors. There is the door that anyone can see, the one I usually
choose, but then there is the second door.
There is an angry man behind that second door, a nervous man,
a frustrated man. He looks just like me and many people see us
and confuse us for the same, but I do not like that man behind
the second door.
Behind the unseen door is a man who wants to trust people,
to assume that everyone can be taken at face value, but unlike me,
he won't trust them. He is a man who has been burned too many
times in the past, who has been deserted by the ones who said they
care for him at the times he needed them the most. He is a man who
is misunderstood and who cannot make himself understood. He is also
a man who knows and understands absolute evil, although I think he
hates it as much as I do.
Have you ever listened to "The Waitress" by Tori Amos?
"I want to kill this killing wish
they're too many stars and not enough sky"
You can read all of the lyrics here
and even download the MP3 to listen to.
And I walked through the first door today.
David Blaine [11:39 AM]
Be a Movie Critic I would imagine that many of you have seen the film "Leaving Las Vegas" with Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue. I like that movie. No one I know understands why. Everyone I ever have discussed the film with thinks it is sad or disgusting. My view is that, in a gross caricature, the characters show the beauty of absolute acceptance of each other, no strings attached. How hard it must be to give your love to someone who is destroying himself. The Pensive Persian is discussing street people in his city and I'm wondering, is this like "Leaving Las Vegas? Shouldn't we just help them because they are people too, and not make demands on them to change? That's always been my hang up. I'll help you help yourself, but I'm not giving you money because, to quote Jim Carrey, "I believe you'll buy booze with it" (Liar, Liar). Have you seen the movie? Can you see what I'm seeing? What are your thoughts? Thanks,
David Blaine [6:14 PM]
Michigan School Administrator Cuts Own Job Instead of Teacher’s
In Dollar Bay, Michigan, school Superintendent Robert Barrette has issued a pink slip— to himself — to help the district deal with growing budget deficits.
“It’s either that or cut teachers,” Barrette said. “Schools are about kids. If we cut teachers we hurt the quality of education, but eliminating an administrator won't hurt kids.”
Barrette makes about $100,000 per year, including benefits, but will recommend his own termination at a school board meeting in March
“I cost money,” Barrette said. “I’ve looked at everything else but there's just not a lot to cut in our budget.”
Dollar Bay has 19 teachers and 262 students. A principle will take on the superintendent’s duties.
(From a story by the Associated Press)
How often do you see that kind of service from someone?
David Blaine [5:55 PM]