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Best wishes to all our blog readers who have been faithfully following Twicemodern over the years. Over the holidays, I slowly read through some of the books accumulated on various piles that were sorted into categories, such as, fascinating but it must wait, very thick meaning no time, appalling news thus must blog, and various other sundry categories including “profound”.

With the speed of communications increasing in this super connected world full of apparatus willing to suck your info and sell it to the highest bidder, here is an interesting novel, in my opinion, for those who love the big brother theory and their googlish slaves! It is titled The Palace of Dreams by Ismail Kadare. A superb interview with Kadare can be read in The Paris Review (in English) here

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Let’s face it your state could be the next unsettling Balkans! If you do not exercise your right to vote, and you do not care about the current events in the most profound way, then you will be BALKANIZED. 

Kadare, the author, dreamed this book up in Albania where it was published in 1981. He had to flee his country, and the French translation was published in 1990 with a first translation into English, shown above, in 1993.

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George Orwell in his book 1984 never went this far but some bureaucratic institutions in the free world certainly will if they could and maybe they can.

Of a completely different nature are the books about conversations with authors or with artists or scientists. They offer us the opportunity to ponder about statements long after the person is gone. Here is such a book, Conversations with Isaac Bashevis Singer by Richard Burgin which I recently took from the bottom of my pile.

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Here is a quote from page 82 where the author Richard Burgin asks Isaac Singer the following question:

Another of your recurring themes or motifs is the idea of a random element in life, of errors. Sometimes it seems as if these “errors” you describe in your fiction are self-willed.” Here is the response by Singer:

“According to Spinoza, there are no errors in the universe, errors are only errors from the human point of view. You would never say, for example, that an animal committed an error. Error is only a human condition. We would certainly never say that a stone commits an error when it falls on a roof. Because we assume that a person has free will, we say that he has made a mistake. The truth is that the belief in free will is a categorical imperative. You cannot live without believing in it. You can say a hundred times that it does not exist, just as you can say gravity does not exist. But while you say gravity does not exist you are still walking on the earth, you do not fly up to the sky. The very fact that we all talk about human errors is proof that we believe in man’s free will.”

Here is a wonderful video of Isaac in America: A Journey with Isaac Bashevis Singer running about 56 minutes. You will be able to walk with him through his neighborhood and his life’s recollections!

And I will end my post with best wishes from Twicemodern with lots of health and happiness and where possible (and it always is, when you believe, following Spinoza and Singer) love.

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