Blog: literature

The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity

In religious studies, few topics are as controversial as the origins of Christianity. One of the most interesting figures in this narrative is the apostle Paul. His influence on the early Christian movement is undeniable. In his book, “The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity,” Hyam Maccoby delves into the historical context surrounding Paul's life and teachings, offering a critical perspective on his role in shaping the Christian faith.

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The Age of Extremes

Recently, I delved into Eric Hobsbawm's “The Age of Extremes,” a historical grand work that left me captivated and contemplative.

Hobsbawm, with his deep insights, takes readers on an intellectual odyssey spanning from the cataclysmic events of 1914 to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. He combines the harsh realities of wars, economic upheavals, and political revolutions with the quieter nuances of societal shifts.

One should keep in mind that Hobsbawm was an avid Marxist, which reflected heavily on his books.

What struck me most was Hobsbawm's ability to weave together the threads of global history, providing a panoramic view of the century's extremes. From the devastation of the World Wars to the ideological battlegrounds of the Cold War, Hobsbawm fearlessly confronts the tumultuous periods that shaped the destiny of nations.

Content

Part I. The Age of Catastrophe
1. The Age of Total War
2. The World Revolution
3. Into the Economic Abyss
4. The Fall of Liberalism
5. Against the Common Enemy
6. The Arts 1914–1945
7. End of Empires

Part II. The Golden Age
8. Cold War
9. The Golden Years
10. The Social Revolution 1945–1990
11. Cultural Revolution
12. The Third World
13. "Real Socialism"

Part III. The Landslide
14. The Crisis Decades
15. Third World and Revolution
16. End of Socialism
17. The Avant-Garde Dies: The Arts After 1950
18. Sorcerers and Apprentices: The Natural Sciences
19. Towards the Millennium

Surrounded by Idiots

I just finished reading "Surrounded by Idiots" by Thomas Erikson. This captivating book offers an interesting exploration of human behavior and communication styles, leveraging the author's expertise in human behavior. At its core, the book introduces a framework based on the DISC model, which categorizes individuals into four primary personality types: Dominant, Influential, Steady, and Conscientious.

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Psykologi og eksistens

Viktor Frankl er kendt for sin banebrydende bog "Psykologi og Eksistens," der på unik vis beskriver sin eksistentiel rejse gennem livet i koncentrationslejrene under Anden Verdenskrig.

Frankl beskriver kz-lejrene som en barsk verden, hvor mennesker konfronteres med overlevelse i skyggen af død og barbari. Han skildrer lejren som en skueplads, hvor menneskelig adfærd i ekstreme situationer udspiller sig på en grænse mellem det yderste ondskab og det sublimt gode.

Bogens omdrejningspunkt er Frankls egne oplevelser i kz-lejrene, inklusive hans egen nummerering '119.104' og det liv, han levede i de mest barske betingelser. Han beskriver forskellige typer af fanger – fra de brutale kapoer til dem, der klarede sig ved at undgå konfrontationer.

Frankls udsagn om, at mennesket bevarer sin frihed til at vælge sin holdning over for livets omstændigheder, skinner klart igennem. Han pointerer, at selv i det værste scenario bevarer mennesket sin frihed til at finde mening.

En af andre bogens hovedpointer er betydningen af at finde mening. Frankl beskriver, hvordan mennesker, der mistede følelsen af formål, udviskede og til sidst døde i lejrene. Han introducerer logoterapi, hvor søgen efter mening er den primære drivkraft. Logoterapien adskiller sig fra andre former for terapi ved at fokusere på fremtiden og patienternes opgaver og hensigter.

Frankl illustrerer også begreber som 'noogene neuroser', der opstår som følge af konflikter mellem moralske værdier, og 'paradoksal intention', en teknik brugt i terapi til at udfordre frygt ved at skabe et paradoksalt ønske.

Bogen afspejler ikke blot grusomhederne i lejrene, men også menneskets evne til at finde mening og handle på trods af ekstreme vilkår. Frankls arbejde viser, hvordan mening kan findes gennem handling, oplevelse og endda lidelse.

"Psykologi og Eksistens" skubber os til at reflektere over, hvad det virkelig vil sige at være menneske, og fremhæver den utrolige evne, vi har til at bestemme vores eget liv. Derfor en klar anbefaling herfra.

Bernhardov Gubitnik

Roman "Gubitnik" je jedno od onih djela čiju radnju je teško opisati, ali da probam. U romanu "Gubitnik" (čitao sam englesku verziju The Loser) Thomas Bernhard isprepliće složenu i reflektivnu priču koja se bavi raznim nijansama ljudskih emocija, težnjom ka vrhunskoj umjetnosti i okrutnoj zavisti. Priča je ispričana iz perspektive nepoznatog pripovjedača koji sebe na mnogo načina smatra ultimativnim gubitnikom.

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Genocide: A World History (book)

In the human journey through history, we have marveled at the heights of human achievement and progress, from the arts to science, philosophy to technology. Yet, we must also confront the darker aspects of our shared past, acknowledging the tragic reality of the ultimate human brutality—genocide. Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin coined the term that the UN defined in 1948 as acts committed with “the intent to destroy, in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
a. Killing members of the group;
b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” 1

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Lov na divlju ovcu

"Lov na divlju ovcu" sam pročitao ovog ljeta na Rodosu, i radi se o djelu koje Haruki Murakami smatra svojim prvencem, a donosi karakteristični pečat njegovog stila i tematike. Roman prati glavnog junaka koji napušta svoj posao i usamljuje se u planinama Japana. Ova priča duboko istražuje koncept usamljeničkog života i čežnje za nečim više, što je tema koja se može povezati sa mnogim aspektima, kao što su npr. filozofija, psihologija i mediji.

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The Lessons of History (book)

When I received the book "The Lessons of History", it didn't look very impressive with its mere hundred pages. But I learned a long time ago that I shouldn't judge a book by its page number.

In the vast scope of human history, only a handful of books shine as guiding lights, illuminating the path through time with wisdom. I am not quite sure "The Lessons of History", written by Will and Ariel Durant, is one such work, but with its 102 pages, it does capture the essence of human civilization. It offers a mosaic of insights into our history, inviting readers to contemplate our journey from the past to the present, and perhaps into the future.

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Nordbanen

Vi har modtaget det første eksemplar af Amras flotte digtsamling "Nordbanen", som jeg skrev om et par uger siden. Alle digtene er skrevet de sidste fem år. Digtsamlingen indeholder 26 digte i alt, som er inddelt i tre emner: Livet, Natur og Univers.

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Nordbanens bogomslag

Amra har skrevet nogle digte de sidste år og vil gerne lave en digtsamling. I den sammenhæng har jeg lavet et par forslag til bogens omslag.

Jeg startede det første forslag med noget mere minimalistisk stil, hvid baggrund og lignende, men endte med grøn baggrund og et flot AI-genereret billede af en hjerte lavet af blomster. Symmetrien og proportioner var der, men der manglede dynamik og wow-effekt.

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Instead of New Year's resolution

This year I want to do some things a bit differently. Last year I really restricted my usage of social media. I am almost not active on Facebook. I will most likely leave Twitter due to the Musk's Debacle. Mastodon looks like a promising alternative, but although open-source and all that, it's still social media.

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Utopia for Realists

I really enjoyed Rutger Bregman's book Utopia for Realists, although I did it over the course of several months due to duties and COVID-19 pandemic. His book shows us how the humankind has an opportunity to reconstruct a society into the mythical Land of Plenty. According to the author and numerous sources, it is not an utopia anymore.

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