Tag Archives: books

A Short Introduction to the History of Stupidity (574 pages)

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Excerpts from the book, “A Short Introduction to the History of Stupidity” by Walter B. Pitkin (1932):

“Stupidity can easily be proved the supreme Social Evil. Three factors combine to establish it as such. First and foremost, the number of stupid people is legion. Secondly, most of the power in business, finance, diplomacy and politics is in the hands of more or less stupid individuals. Finally, high abilities are often linked with serious stupidity.

Since 1929 even some cloak and suit salesman have learned that stupid folk still rule the world. Stupid presidents write messages to stupid parliaments. Stupid bankers lend millions to stupid investors. Stupid newspaper editors hide painful facts. Stupid taxpayers shell out billions of dollars for battleships, fortresses, shells, and stupid second lieutenants. Stupid manufacturers build factories three times too big. Stupid retailers sell third-rate goods at first-rate prices.

Liberalism is the last refuge of the stupid. Thither rushes every fool in trouble. He leaves patriotism to the scoundrel seeking safety, for the fool knows — in spite of his folly — that liberalism is founded on the rock of truth and is almost impregnable. If ever a census enumerator penetrates this temple, I suspect that he will find dwelling there five sons of Cyclops for every intelligent inmate. Worse luck for the latter!

The young adventurers of Tomorrow will be rash enough to enter the dark homes of these humanesques and treat them as if they were full-statured men. And, as ever before, Cyclops will consume them to the last bone unless youth strikes the monster blind. For between the children of light and the humanesques there can never be peace. One or the other must survive. One or the other must perish.

Which shall it be?”


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In human experience, written symbols (letters, numbers, musical signs, etc. ) are physical representations of an idea or thought.  Symbols organized into sentences, songs, compositions, formula,  articles or books convey many complex ideas.  These symbols enable communication between people in the physical universe.  Although there a many forms of non-physical communication which we refer to as “emotion” or “telepathy” or “empathy” or “intuition” or “knowing”, the common denominators of human experience or culture is often expressed in books.  When these have been read, understood and compared to other thoughts, we can assume points of view of the various universes we inhabit. When we agree on a our perception of these universes, we call this “reality”.

Which books have helped to shape your reality?  How many books have your read in your life, so far?  How many more books are on your “must read” list?  According to Google, that is busily scanning every book they can get their digitizing hands on, there are about 130 million book titles in the world.  There are more than 2 million NEW book titles published every year (in all languages) . There are approximately 8 billion people in the world.  That is more than 65 book titles per every person in the world.  So, theoretically every person needs to read a minimum of 65 books to reach an “average” level of literacy.  Of course this does not include the avalanche of words available to read that have not been organized into an actual book title, like Twitter and Facebook posting, newspaper and magazine articles and other “non-literature” such as scientific papers, and school textbooks and other propaganda published by governments and corporations.

The largest bookseller on-line is Amazon.com, which has an inventory of only about 1,750,000 titles in English.  That’s only 13 percent of all the book titles  in the world!  This a critically small number of books available to read.  How can one possibly consider themselves to be a literate person?  This does not even include the fact that the majority of books written in the ancient world (prior to 400 AD) were burned by the Christian church!  If you read one book every week 50 for years you would have read only 2,600 books!  According to Google, the average book is 300 pages.  That’s about 75,000 words per book.

As a writer, I am also a reader.  I have often read several books each week during the 50+ years of my reading life, as well as a lot of  printed material, etc.. All together I estimate I’ve read about 4,000 books, so far.  That’s a lot of words — not including the millions of words on the internet — that are not in the form of a book.  Fortunately, there are more than 100,000 book titles available as spoken books — narrated for you by professional actors — on  Audible.com, Librivox.com and sites on the internet.  Now, I can “read” a book with my ears, instead of my  eyes, a fact that I appreciate more and more as I grow older.  I can “read” while I’m walking, driving, jogging, cooking, cleaning, waiting and doing a lot of things that would prevent me from reading with my eyes.  It’s a wonderful age we live in!

So, how do we select the most cherished, life-giving, knowledge-quenching word droplets from the ocean of words?  Having read more than my share of books I can say without any doubt that reading a lot of books does not  make a person “smart”, or “wise”, or “literate”.  However, for me, reading books is usually a more gratifying experience, mentally and spiritually, than watching television or movies or videos.  Books are usually more thoroughly researched, planned, crafted, edited and perfected than other forms of communication.

In this electronic age, when more books are available to us — thanks to digital technology —  than during all of the history of humankind combined, can we expect that humanity would be more well informed and intelligent that ever before?  Books themselves are not wisdom.  If books are not read by people, the knowledge contained in them remains hidden.  They might has well not have been written.

My personal recommendation for your reading or listening book list are the books I’ve written, of course. My view of “reality” is different than most.  My universe is unique, as is yours.  I invite you to share my universe, through my books.

— This blatant self-endorsement is brought to you by Lawrence R. Spencer —


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libraryalexandriaI recently re-read a book from my personal library about the destruction of the greatest library of antiquity in Alexandria, Egypt, The Vanished Library, by Luciano Canfora.  Because I write books, I also read books.  Books are a gateway to intellectual and spiritual freedom.

Although my personal library shelves contain only several hundred volumes, it is estimated by various sources that the Library at Alexandria housed tens of thousands of scrolls amassed by Ptolemy that were added to the sacred library of Ramses II, Pharaoh of Egypt!  (c. 1300 BCE)   At the time of it’s destruction there were reported to be more than 45,000 hand-written books, gathered from all of the civilized word — translated into Greek — and housed in a single building.

In 640 AD, this priceless library was burned at the order of Muslim Caliph Omar.  When the general of his army asked the Caliph what to do with the books of the library, the Caliph responded:

If their content is in accordance with the book of Allah, we may do without them.  If they contain matter not in accordance with the book of Allah, there can be no need to preserve them. Proceed then, to destroy them.”TRINITY COLLEGE LIBRARY DUBLIN

At that time the city of Alexandria had 4,000 public baths.  The water for the baths was heated by underground stoves or furnaces.  “The books were distributed to the public baths of Alexandria, where they were used to fuel the stove which kept the baths comfortably warm.  ….It took six months to burn all that mass of material.”  Only the writings of Aristotle were spared from the flames.

As has so often been the case in the history of Earth, religious fanaticism — the enemy of knowledge and freedom — was the cause of destruction of precious accumulated knowledge, technology and wisdom recorded by literate scientists, mathematicians, artists, philosophers and scholars.  The modern destruction by the United States of the priceless Library of Baghdad, the burning of books and burying of scholars under China’s Qin Dynasty, the destruction of Aztec codices by Itzcoatl, the Nazi book burnings, the Spanish Inquisition, and many others psychotic episodes serve to keep humanity stupid, superstition and enslaved by ignorance.

However, in 2013 we live in an age of unprecedented information access.  There are thousands of libraries all around the world.  The internet is a vast library of information that contains nearly every book that has ever been written!  (Of course there are huge numbers of “heretical” books that  have been burned by Caliphs or Nazis or hidden in the Vatican library or the Smithsonian Institute.)  However, in spite of intellectual terrorism, superstition, religious fanaticism, and government mind-control agendas, we are living in an unprecedented age when books are freely available in abundance!  All we need to do is read them.

Here is a WONDERFUL website wherein you can visit many of the truly magnificent libraries around the world!



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Johnathan RenshawSo far in my nearly 70 years I’ve written and published 8 books.  None of my books have enjoyed the global readership of a book I did NOT write, but edited.  I spend the vast majority of my time reading books written by literary adepts and master story-tellers.  Reading is not merely entertainment.  It is the mind and imagination of beings communicating their thoughts, memories and musings, through symbols, to others.  There are 450,000 NEW BOOKS published every year, in Kevin Hearneaddition to the millions that have accumulated since the printing press was “invented” in Europe in by the German Johannes Gutenberg around 1440.   Personally, I listen to audiobooks.  The combination of masterful writing combined with state of the art performance is nothing less than magic.  Since my personal interests tend to vary from esoteric to bizarre, it stick to science fiction, primarily.  However, I enjoy a good story, well told.

Benedict JackaIn modern publishing writers no longer write ONE book.  They write a SERIES of books.  This is based on the sales and marketing-driven capitalist culture that exploded in Europe a few hundred years ago.  So, lately,  I’m not reading “books”.  I’m reading a “series” 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 books!  However, when you find an author you really enjoy this is a good was to swim deeply into the ocean of a genre or universe, rather than surfing the shallow shores of television, film, or — gods forbid — social media.Jim Butcher

Here are a few of the “series” I’ve read or am reading.  Three of these books are my first voyage on the ocean of “Magic Mystery”, i.e. Druids, Mages and Wizards in the roles of  spell-casting superheros fighting an assortment of supernatural villains: to my delight and continuing enchantment! I recommend them to you.  Search the fantastic library available on Audible.com  and your favorite on-line bookstores to find your own.