I started reading this book yesterday, only read about 50 pages so far but I already have this deep, profound feeling that this book will be life-changing for me. There are few books in my life like this — books that influenced and changed the way I see, understand and feel. Books like “Ulisses” by James Joyce, “Cinnamon Shops” by Bruno Schultz, “White Goddess” by Robert Graves — where from the first pages I already knew that what I am reading is very special. And now this one (I will do a full review after I finish reading).
Written in the late 1940s it reads like something from today’s blog by eminent sociologist or thinker. Every page has a passage where I need to stop and go back to reread it and reread it again and again — to be sure I understand it and to make sure it stays in my memory. I stop myself every couple of sentences to think, to analyze, to argue in my head for or against.
For example this quote:
I don’t even know how to wrap my head around this quote. It seems absurd, but it isn’t. I am selfless (many times not by choice), less so now when I am more aware of myself but painfully selfless nonetheless — I put others (wellbeing and comfort) in front of my needs. And that builds up my self-esteem and my vanity. But — is having a well-developed self-esteem a bad thing? I had no self-esteem at all when I was drinking. Now, because of my hard work on my sobriety I do. And I feel fine, might fine about it. And yes, I am vain and again — I have no problem with that. Being vain helps me think and feel good about myself, and I need it. For most of my life, I loathed and hated myself and my life (and other people and living in general). Now I am fine with myself, I cannot consider it as something wrong.
And yet, sometimes when I do or think about my volunteer work with the elderly for the City Social Services, I think about myself as a better person. Better than I was but also a better person than other people… That might be slightly unhealthy.
But that’s good, I want to think about myself, my thought and actions, and feelings and emotions. I want to keep on growing as a person and that requires constantly analyzing my behavior (good or bad), challenging myself to be better, and changing what I see needs to be changed. And I know that book will change me and my thinking in a profound way.