Friday, August 04, 2006

Murray Bookchin - and some thoughts on science writing

Wiki: Murray Bookchin 14 January 1921 - 20 July 2006

Interview with Murray Bookchin

Murray Bookchin's writing


Ecology and Revolutionary Thought

Municipal Dreams: A Social Ecological Critique of Bookchin's politics - - John Clark

Wiki: Deep Ecology

I never read this guy before but know his name from other books. Thought I would put a few links to him here for ease of retrieval, and in case someone else might be curious.The essential argument seems to be with the deep ecologists. Everybody should have an inclinging about this. Know the difference between communtarianism and communalism?

Well of course people who spend their whole lives reading novels to the exclusion of everything else can't think along those sorts of lines. They want plot and more plot, character and better charactisation, style, the phrase just, another novel by the same writer. Many novels are full of ideas, too. But what ideas? Is society reflected in the novel? Do novel readers care? Do they prefer to be submerged in a fictional world whether it reflects reality or not? In a life such as Bookchin's, there is the same sort of change and persistence to be found in the characters in a novel. For the reader, the same sort of questions that might arise out of a character in a novel turning away from his beliefs, changing his philosophy, can be asked of a man like Bookchin. Why did he turn away from anarchism? Is Crime and Punishment more instructive than the history of anarchism or libertarianism?


One thing that occured today (10 Aug) was simply about clarity of writing. Anywhere. Scientists vs. Novelists? Well you can't exactly do that can you? But you can say there are plenty of novelists who are pretty hard work and quite a few scientists or science writers who are an absolute pleasure to read. Something else too: while some litbloggers seem to be tackling the canon with a sense or what could be termed existential urgency, they are not writing about science books they know they must or ought to read.

I am currently re-reading with much greater attention than the first time, John Gribbin's, In Search of Schrodinger's Cat (Corgi,'84), first published by Wildwood House 1984. He is renowned for good science writing. A book on quantum mechanics is the ultimate test for the non-science reader! I want you lit. folk who keep on saying you must read some science to get this book and read it for pleasure. Novels - any good writing: essays, short-stories,plays, jounralism - give you that special frissant and so can a book like this because it deals with the spectacular genius of real people.

I firmly expect many who take my advice on this book choice to say they couldn't sustain it or found there was a barrier to understanding. The way I look at it is that you will not understand everything about such an abstruse subject as quantum mechanics anyway but you should be getting the same sorts of reactions and thoughts as from a good novel because of the quality of the writing and the desciption of how clever people make discoveries. Can't put it plainer than that.


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