Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Andis Kaulins in China Weekly: September 30 to October 6, 2013

Gratitude:  Thank God for holidays!

Acknowledgement: I let my son get away with too many bad habits. I have a hard time getting him to respect my authority. He sees me more as an older brother than a father.

Requests: I want some solutions or some decisions made about my quandaries. I have to make these decisions but I wish I had a strong inclinations to make my decisions easy. I want no more hemming and hawing.

The AKIC Week in Brief: It was a holiday for me except for Thursday and Friday. I had three good meals in a restaurant. I watch three movies on my Ipad.

About AKIC: If you want to learn what Andis & AKIC are all about, you can visit here.

If there are things about AKIC you don't know about, like places and people I mention in the entries below, you can go here to find out what they are all about.

AKIC Weekly Features:

I in in China!  我的爱好是博客和学习中国和视频。我很喜欢看书,看电影,和看火车。

I am Canadian! You could say Canada is a shitty little country with a lot of land. I would be lying if I said that thought never crossed my mind. But if asked to sign a testament saying I agreed with that thought, I wouldn't because it is not completely true (Also, it would upset people) Canada is a country with an identity crisis. It is great but it doesn't know why. It is not satisfied with its greatness as it is, and is trying to be something that it isn't.

I am Latvian (sort of)! I can't think of anything original to say about my Lativian-ness. So, I will say it again. My father was from Riga. My mother was from Bauska. They left Latvia when the Soviet Communist armies came into their country in 1945. My parents were eventually able to make it to Canada. In fact, it was in Canada that they meet.

Wuxi Peach Maoists Update: Visit here to find out how your Peach Maoists did in week four.

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary! What is the difference between Fascism and Communism? Not much. Aren't reactionaries Fascist? No. The Left's labelling of its opponents is all wrong.

I teach English! Conversational English that is.
I am not a freak! It is more apt to say that I am a victim of the modern age and Leftist thinking.
I like to Read! Here is what I had been working my way through the past week:
Don Colacho's Aphorisms.  There are 2,988 of them in this book that I compiled for myself.  I try to read at least one aphorism a day.  I cut and paste the better ones -- they are all profound actually -- and I put them in my weekly blog entry. (See below)
Ulysses by James Joyce.  I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly guides podcast listeners through Joyce's hard-to-read novel.  Delaney figures he will have the whole novel covered in about 22 years.  Delaney completed episode #173 this week and is working his way through the chapter that introduces Leopold Bloom. I am getting ahead of Delaney as far as reading the book.  I will be finished my reading of it, I figure, in a year. I read the novel despite its many blasphemies. It is best to be aware of this stuff because the world is full of it, and the world will always find a way of slapping you in the face with it

The Holy Bible King James Version.   This past week, I have finished reading the First, Second, and Third Epistles General of John.

Columns by Father Schall. I have been able to take all his archived writings and place them on the Dotdotdot app.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Like Father Schall's writings, I have been able to place its contents on the Dotdotdot app.

The Search for Modern China by Jonathan Spence. Finished. David Warren recommended this book despite, he said, its having flaws. I notice the flaws as the book gets into the 1980s. You would think it was drawn from sources approved by the Chinese Communist Party, relying too much on statistical tables and party documents. But this is not to say that it was an uncritical book, for the book ends with the 1989 Beijing massacres. However, one reads the book and suspects that is so much that hasn't been learned about the Cultural Revolution and the Beijing Massacres, and probably won't till the current regime in China is changed and archives become accessible to historians.

Mao Zedong: Man, Not God by Quan Yanchi. A Hagiography given to me by a local.

Quo Vadis by Henrik Sienkiewicz. One of the first Catholic novels if my source on the Internet is to be believed. I put the book on my Ipod, thinking I would read it when I didn't have access to my Ipad, but now I am reading it on my Ipad.

Sophie Q's Diary by Ding Ling. A short story I read after mention of it was made in The Search for Modern China. Ding Ling, I read, became a hardline Communist who was charged with Rightism during the Cultural Revolution and thus did five years of hard labour before she was rehabilitated. The story itself seemed nothing special to mebut was revolutionary when written because of its frank display of a young woman's sexual feelings.

I like to take photos

I like to make videos

I like to cut and paste quotations:
Don Colacho:
277 Our aspirations, in someone else’s mouth, usually come across to us as irritating stupidity. [I want to be a writer, for instance.]
285 The unbeliever is dumbfounded that his arguments do not alarm the Catholic, forgetting that the Catholic is a vanquished unbeliever. His objections are the foundations of our faith. [That is why Simon of the Desert can be considered a Catholic movie]
304 The fool does not content himself with violating an ethical rule: he claims that his transgression becomes a new rule.
305. In a bourgeois country, just as in a Communist land, they disapprove of “escapism” as a solitary vice, as a debilitating and wretched perversion. Modern society discredits the fugitive so that no one will listen to his account of his journey. Art or history, man's imagination or his tragic and noble destiny, these are not criteria which modern mediocrity will tolerate. “Escapism” is the fleeting vision of abolished splendors and the probability of an implacable verdict on today's society. [Funny, I have read Colacho's 2988 aphorisms two times and I don't remember being struck by the aptness of this aphorism till this week. It seems that we are daily bombarded with images of escapism but it is a modern escapism that seems to offer one the option of having one's cake and being able to eat it too. This modern escapism is also ironical. But it is an irony that bites the hand that feeds it. This modern escapism is full of style. The escapist of mass entertainment is cool and the one thing that is necessary for this cool escapist is sex. Real escapism escapes sex. Real escapism is monastical. Thus real escapism cannot be accepted by the real world.]

(As you had guessed, the CanLit crowd is more inbred that the mythical “hillbillies” who populate their treasured anti-American fever dreams.) At one of Lord Black’s London dinner parties, diplomat (!) Daniel Bernard famously called Israel a “shitty little country,” a remark Lady Black duly reported and condemned in the Daily Telegraph. Although my fellow Canadian, the former Barbara Amiel, is conventionally patriotic, I wonder if she’d agree with me that at times like this, that inelegant phrase is a pretty apt description of “our home and native land.” [I commented on this quote, earlier in this entry in the Canada section.]

I went to a talk addressed by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who wrote this really terrific book about our moral faculty. The big takeaway from the book (though there is much, much more in it than just this) is that our moral intuitions can be modeled in five dimensions: Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sanctity/Degradation. People who identify as liberal are strong on the first two dimensions but light on the other three; conservatives are better balanced. That made liberals mad (see the one-star reviews on Amazon), though Haidt says he’s mainly liberal in sentiments. [The people I know of are particularly unbalanced on the Sanctity/Degradation front. The model of moral intuition does seem very compelling and reasonable to my way of thinking. However, I don't think of myself as being balanced even though I am of the conservative and reactionary persuasion. How is my moral intuition unbalanced? Probably on the Care/Harm dimension. I have a nasty habit of being selfish.]

I fashion myself to be a 21st Century Pepys

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