I think that your tale of woe is true, but the old saying that the man who
wastes two years by teaching himself nothing must have a fool for a
teacher must also be true. At least you're persistent.
I think Kent was really wrapped around the axil at one time with the guitar
thingie, like many I've known. We have all seen him get "wrapped" on some
purely pendantic issue. This is Kent's nature. Kent, I imagine was so
intense in trying to do the *right* thing, that sensible actions may have
totally escaped him. I have a friend very much like that. If Mo was that
teacher I could certainly understand that happening and deciding to teach
himself. I think Kent's writing is very carthardic. He lays his cards
face up on the table, win, lose, or draw. Kent has the guts to put it all
out there. What's not to like about t
In my daily notes for this day last year, 01/31/05, I saved this, from
Why Don Quixote is more important than Einstein
It is the 400th anniversary of Don Quixote, a more important work than all
of Einstein's theories
A PICTURE of a battered warrior sits on my desk. I found it in a Bloomsbury
print shop many years ago. He sits thin and sad on an ass, his helmet
broken, his armour gone. He arrives home late at night to be greeted with
joy and relief by his loving household. He has returned from knight
errantry, to recover his reason and die. He is my icon.
This month we celebrate two anniversaries. One is of Einstein's Special
Theory of Relativity (1905), a great work of Western civilisation. The other
is Cervantes's Don Quixote (1605), also a great work of Western
civilisation. The first is greeted with BBC specials, colour supplements,
postage stamps and a United Nations Year of Physics. The other, at least
outside Spain, is being ignored. Which merits the bigger salute?
I have no quarrel with Einstein. The mobsters of Big Science have declared
him master of the Universe. His brain was measured and his shoes embalmed.
Women wrote him letters wanting to have his babies. His thoughts are
installed in Newton's temple and not found wanting. Einstein is cool.
But if Einstein had not existed, physics would sooner or later have invented
him. I am sure of that. His theory of relativity was an understanding of
nature. It lay over the cosmic horizon, awaiting discovery by the first
genius to pass its way. Einstein was its Columbus.
Not so Miguel de Cervantes. He surveyed the landscape of post-medieval
Europe and asked, but where is Man? He grasped at valour, love, loyalty,
triumph and mortification and, like his contemporary, Shakespeare,
compressed them in a human frame. He told a tale like no other man. If
Cervantes had not existed, he could not have been invented. There would be a
hole in the tapestry of Europe.
Few English people read Don Quixote, probably because they think they know
it already. We have heard of his fantasies and ordeals, of his poor horse
and loyal squire, Sancho Panza, "not rich but well-flogged". We know of the
tilting at windmills and ludicrous deeds to impress his yearning for the
matchless Dulcinea del Toboso. The man is mad and not of our time.
That is not the half of it. In 1605 there was also the publication of the
full text of Hamlet. Quixote and Hamlet are often compared, though rarely by
the chauvinist British. They share ghosts and demons, passion and honour,
and they use plays within plays as metaphors. They both lead us over the
bridge from the Middle Ages to introspection and the modern era. But Quixote
is the more inventive, funnier, sadder, the loftier mind and the better
conversationalist. His dialogues with Sancho, the knightly believer and the
doubting servant, are among the most enchanting in literature.
Cervantes lived his character. He fought the Turks at Lepanto in 1571, the
culminating struggle of medieval Europe. He lost his left hand, was enslaved
in Africa and imprisoned in Spain. His plays were failures. His life was a
mess. Yet in just a few months of 1605 he wrote a book which soared beyond
The two parts of Don Quixote are as different as thesis and antithesis. The
Don of the first part is the true fantasist, sated on fusty old texts. He
sets out to re-enact the rules of chivalry, to defend justice and love in a
sinful world. He battles with windmills, sheep and innkeepers' daughters. In
his great essay on the Don, Carlos Fuentes talks of "art giving life to what
history has killed".
Part II breaks step with the past. The Don hears tell of his own exploits,
indeed of his own book. Already he has chastised Sancho for thinking him
unaware that Dulcinea is not a great beauty. He knows that she is a vulgar
village girl, but she is the nobler for it. "Come Sancho," he cries, "it is
enough for me to think her beautiful and virtuous . . . I paint her in my
imagination as I desire her." A million Spanish women cheer. We are no
longer sure who is poking fun at whom. Who are we to legislate between dream
and reality? We are players and audience alike in the charade.
Hence the Don leaps up from a puppet show and decapitates the model
soldiers, to stop them arresting a lover and his princess as they escape to
freedom. He then richly compensates the puppeteer for this "debt of honour".
In the last chapter comes the final synthesis. The dying Quixote renounces
the "dark shadows of ignorance" that came from reading "my detestable books
on chivalry". He regrets only that he has no time to read "other books that
can be a light to the soul".
Don Quixote is supposedly the most popular novel in history. The Don was
worshipped by Sterne, Goethe, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Kafka and Melville. Two
years ago his saga was voted the best novel of all time by the world's
"hundred top writers".
Millions have come to regard Quixote as a friend for life. Like Cervantes,
they have slaved in the galleys at Lepanto and emerged with only their
dreams to live for. Like Quixote they have hoped beyond hope and loved
beyond love. All of us sometimes see windmills as giants, and giants as
windmills. Everyone has a knight errant within them, guiding his lance and
turning the most humble career into a noble crusade. Like Quixote we long to
leap on life's stage, to warm Mimi's frozen hand or stay Othello's dagger.
We imagine that frump in the Tube as the matchless Dulcinea, at least until
Tottenham Court Road. (SORRY)
Somehow I shall survive without Einstein. I can drive spaceship Earth
without knowing the workings of the atom. But I cannot do without my icon. I
raise my glass to the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance, Don Quixote of La
Mancha, as he trots across the plain of life in search of self-fulfilment.
He knew that reason would triumph, but he also knew that reason was not
enough. Quixote's epitaph ran: "It was his great good fortune to live a
madman and die sane." Amen to that.
Post by Kent Murdick Post by Outlander
'm not trying to impress or anger anyone here, but what good is a
one-sided discussion with people who are not self-taught. >>>>
I tught myself for the first two years and then I went to a
well-known moron teacher in NYC who told me to practice what I was
doing wrong twice as hard. I practiced three hours a day in the wrong
direction and he said I was lazy, so I ramped it up to 6 hours a day. I
did that for a year and half and I never really recovered.
But I digress, let's talk about my two years of self-teaching. I
DIDN'T LEARN A FUCKING THING! Actually I learned less than nothing.
I was well on the road to bacoming a Will Clinger.