Writing that changes the way you think about things

Discussion in 'Films, Music, TV & All Things Artsy' started by Harry_off_the_Hermes, Oct 25, 2007.

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  1. It goes without saying that great writing can change you're outlook on life. However, have you ever come across a particular passage in a book, or in an article that has stopped you in you're tracks? That has hit you so hard that you think as a result of what I have just read I am going to change my behaviour?

    I like to get outdoors, I walk, climb and cycle on and off road and it was always a test for me. A test of myself and whoever was ahead of me. I would set myself a challenge, 'I am going to get past the guy (or girl), in front, or the person behind me will not overtake me.

    Reading this passage from Robert M. Persig's 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' changed that attitude, in the outdoors as well as in life, forever:

    To the untrained eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. Both kinds of climbers place one foot in front of the other. Both breathe in and out at the same rate. Both stop when tired. Both go forward when rested. But what a difference! The ego-climber is like an instrument that's out of adjustment. He puts his foot down an instant too soon or too late. He's likely to miss a beautiful passage of sunlight through the trees. He goes on when the sloppiness of his step shows he's tired. He rests at odd times. He looks up the trail trying to see what's ahead even when he knows what's ahead because he just looked a second before. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He's here but he's not here. He rejects the here, is unhappy with it, wants to be farther up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then it will be "here." What he's looking for, what he wants is all around him, but he doesn't want that because it is all around him. Every step's an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.
  2. Well, it's becoming worse because that's what a target setting goal oriented culture does to people when it begins to permeate everything they do in life. :(
  3. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    Have you ever seen those scruffy looking hippy's who live on narrowboats, don't wear watches, pick up wood from the canalside for their heating, drink real ale and grow beards? have you ever noticed that they always smile and pass the time of day with everyone? One day that will be me, fcuk targets that's success :thumright:
  4. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Can I say "Bravo Two Zero" by Andy McNabb? How about "Bouncing Back" by Alan Partridge..?!

    [This is a joke, by the way...] :wink:
  5. In 2003 I ws teaching in Hounslow and was a bit fed up one half-term so I got a train to Brum and legged it back along the Grand Union canal carrying a two man tent and a bergen. Took me six days but it was great to get out of Hounslow and to meet people who waved, said 'Good Morning', offered me tea and bacon sarnies for breakfast, etc. Got to a pub one night (did quite a bit in the dark!) just in time to see the last hour of a theatre group who work the canals. To cut a long story short, we had a lock in and I felt rough as fcuk as I set off again the next day. :)
  6. Serious mode:-

    I bought this paperback to pass the time on a train journey from
    Hull to Faslane once. Read it - re-read it and read it again.
    We just call 'em Shite-Hawks.

  7. Except for the bit about watches they sound like some people I know who used to paddle Kleppers :thumright:

  8. Billy No Mates,

    Richard Bach is one of my favourite authors. He is a bit of a Marmite man though (love or hate). If you liked the above book then read No Such Place As Far Away.
  9. My Dad turned me on to a soundtrack that Neil Diamond wrote for Jonathon Livingstone Seagull which, inspired me to read the book. I must have been 14 or 15 at the time but like yourself I read it over and over again. Follow your dreams and reach your goals a bit like Harry and chieftiff have been saying.
  10. I read that as a wayward kid donkeys years ago - it changed the way I looked at life quite a bit :)
  11. Made me feel important! (Still got the original bit of paper at home somewhere).
    Anyway - it was better than constantly signing 126's for pi**ed pussers mattresses!!
  12. chieftiff
    Book reccommendation: Jonathan Raban - 'Coasting'. I really think you may enjoy it. Link
  13. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    Thanks for that Harry H, I may well give it a go, have you read Narrow Dog to Carcassonne Very funny, the guy has a dry sense of humour and it's an interesting story.
  14. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    I remember reading in a science magazine that gravity was the distortion of space/ time, the idea was attributed to Einstein, no-one had ever been able to describe gravity to me before, although I didn't truly understand the concept I needed to. This simple statement led me to read Einstein's Special Relativity followed by General relativity I then read Hawking and ultimately started studying toward my Maths degree, each book I read led me to further study until I was convinced. I only hope the world of science is happy now that I am convinced! Unfortunately along the way I got interested in some other things: reality, quantum theory, philosophy, cosmology............................................ every day is a learning experience!

    The moral of the story then, don't read it's like taking drugs: addictive!
  15. Gravity sucks :happy3:
  16. Our correspondent from sunny Murcia was a narrow boat person....
    maybe he can give you some usefull tips for when you sign off next June. :thumright:
  17. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    Unfortunately I shall have to work for another 5 years, until my wife finishes her 22, then we're off into the sunset! But, guess what the gratuity is going on? Have chatted to canaldrifter about it all and really can't wait! Big scruffy beard, ponytail and patched up cloths (all Armani obviously!) :w00t:

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