Reason as the Leading Motive

Book Reviews and My Room Videos

Posted by Jerry on January 26, 2008

I realize I haven’t been blogging at all lately. I find that I have very little free time to myself; and the precious little that I do have, I must choose between spending it on finishing a book that I’m reading, watching something on TV to just relax blankly, or typing up my thoughts on innumberable things on my blog. Invariably, I end up choosing from the first two options.

I just finished reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It’s an explosive book!–what a fascinating story, a heroic life, an incredible journey of a real heroic giant of a woman! It should be compulsory reading for every crazy multiculturalist and Islamic fundamentalist out there. In fact, everyone should read it, and be inspired by it. Ayaan Hirsi Ali defies cultural determinism, cultural bonds, traditions, religious injunctions, the threat to life and soul, family, clan, nation–practically everything that an average mediocrity finds as constituents of his self-identity. Rising from the tribal muck of primitive Somalia and the backwardness of Islamic traditions, Ayaan charts her own course, explicitly based on reason, individualism, and enlightenment ideals. Infidel is the autobiography of this strong, young, and heroic woman. It’s the story of a woman that exemplifies Ayn Rand’s words: “man is a being of self-made soul.”

Then, I plodded through a terribly clunky, horribly-written book on Poincare’s Conjecture in the mathematical field of Topology. The book is about the story of an unknown Russian mathematician Greg Perelman, who suddenly shot to fame after quietly submitting a paper on the Internet in which he had written up a proof for Poincare’s Conjecture—a problem that had remained unsolved until then for several centuries. This incident had happened on a few years ago, and at that time (sometime in 2001, I think), I remember reading about a Russian man solving a centuries-old problem in the newspaper. I still recollect being intrigued by the story and wondering what the details of this solution and the mathematical problem was. 

Now, I love reading books on mathematics, although I am terribly weak in the subject myself. I have never been good with numbers: we are as mutually repelling as opposite poles of a magnet. However, I am fascinated by the story of mathematical achievements, geniuses, mathematical research, inventions, explorations, thoughts, etc. I had immensely enjoyed reading about Godel’s theorems and Fermat’s proofs. And the more I read about the field of mathematics, the more I understood it, because each new book contains several references to similar themes, ideas, topics, problems, and personalities–and they approach it from different angles; and when you identify these similarity and begin making integrations in your mind based on these vantage points, the feeling of awe and wonder is more than gratifying.

However, as I was reading Poincare’s Prize, I thought to myself that the contributors to Wikipedia write far superior articles, and they are more captivating as well! The author of Poincare’s Prize seems completely scattered in his organization, overwhelmed by the complexity of the subject matter he’s tackling, and unsure of how to simply progress from one paragraph to the next. His transitions are clunky and distracting. He dwells on irrelevant–almost encyclopedic–details of personalities that add little to the progression of the storyline.

In any case, all of these deficiencies can be overlooked as nothing more than mild annoyance. However, what I found most egregious is the author’s gall to inject his sense of morality and judgment on the actions of the mathematicians he discusses. Instead of staying clear of such moral evaluations in a topic dealing with objective facts and dry logic–or at least letting the reader make his own moral judgements of the characters, the author generously indulges in moralizing. It should go without saying that my heightened senstivity to this aspect of the book is primarily because I deeply disagree and detest the author’s moral evaluations.

Anyway. Moving on to something unrelated. For my recent birthday, I was gifted a Nikon CoolPix L11 digital camera. I decided to tinker around with it in the privacy of my room. Here are some short videos of my room.

And another:

And finally:

11 Responses to “Book Reviews and My Room Videos”

  1. I share your admiration for Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her book, Infidel. She is my hero and a testament to the power of the human mind. That she discovered rational thought through the brutality and irrationality of her Islamic upbringing is stunning. She is a hell of a woman.

    She reminds me of another dissident hero of mine, Vladimir Bukovsky, who fought a Soviet hell for years and won, preserving his independent mind the whole time.

  2. Ergo said

    I’ll have to look him up, Galileo. I doubt I’ll find anything about him in bookstores here. But let’s see. It’s great to encounter such people, when everyday you are accosted with the opposite kind of men.

    Oh, speaking of heroic, have you heard of Ezra Levant? He was brought to the Alberta Human Rights Commission court apparently for printing the “offensive” Danish cartoons of Muhammad. His response–principled, direct, fierce, and philosophical–was so refreshing.

    Here’s a link to the video of his response to the allegations. He delivers his prepared speech as he sits facing the woman from the HRC who is to prosecute him. You can literally feel the tension in that room! 🙂


  3. Tim R said

    Saw the Ezra Levant video a while back. Absolutely fantastic speech that made my day. The world needs people like this guy.

  4. Ergo said

    Glad you liked the video Tim. We need more such people in the mainstream to drown out the appeasing multiculturalists and liberal facists.

  5. You’re room is SO neat, and organized! Do y’all have a maid? I know you’re not that neat… or at least, you didn’t use to be.

  6. Ergo said

    Ya, we have a maid. 🙂 It’s a luxury most people can afford in India, thanks to our massive population. I don’t think of myself as messy, only helpless in the face of the law of entropy! 😉

  7. LOL
    Came back to tell you I noticed you’re using the phrase, ‘liberal fascist’! And now I see you corrected my spelling error. Thanks!

  8. Charl said

    Yeah you know I’ve noticed that as well. His room is usually very tidy, but at the office, I remember his work station used to be a holy mess. All those papers strewn about. Must be the maid for sure.

  9. Ergo said

    Yea I used that phrase just this morning. But I can no longer remember where.
    P.S. I was also gonna write a post about your post. But didn’t think I had the time for it. Basically, I wanted to point out that “liberal facism” was forseen long ago in several of Ayn Rand’s essays, including “Facism the New Frontier.” So, in the review of the book that you talked about, the reviewer’s claim of the rise in liberal facism is accurately *not* new or startling.

  10. Well, it was certainly new to me, which is why I ordered the book. Whaddya know, another libertarian plagiarizes Miss Rand. I guess she was right when she said “I’ve read nothing by a Libertarian (when I read them, in the early years) that wasn’t my ideas badly mishandled—i.e., had the teeth pulled out of them—with no credit given. I didn’t know whether I should be glad that no credit was given, or disgusted. I felt both. They are perhaps the worst political group today, because they can do the most harm to capitalism, by making it disreputable.”

  11. Pink Imp said

    i love the vibrant color scheme in your room!

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