Thursday, June 19, 2008

Readings: Compare and Contrast

Two excerpts below: the first the Buddhist-inspired, notebook musings of an American "beatnik" ; the second the thoughts of a fictional Brit businessman and WW I vet, on the brink of WW II:

As far as ordinary life in America is concerned, for 2,000 years and much more than that old Indian Mothers pounded cornmeal for mush in the hopeless drizzle of history here in North America; why should we therefore question ordinary simple life of eating, sleeping, keeping a shelter, in the name of "Modern" needs such as automobiles, washing machines, expensive clothes, up-to-date furniture and cultural experiments like TV and movies and every kind of unreal hassle to kill time and with all its attendant ambitions? What advantage is there in multiplying need? REST AND BE HAPPY

~ Jack Kerouac, Some of the Dharma

I wanted peace and quiet. Peace! We had it once, in Lower Binfield. I've told you something about our old life there, before the war. I'm not pretending it was perfect. I dare say it was a dull, sluggish, vegetable kind of life. You can say we were like turnips, if you like. But turnips don't live in terror of the boss, they don't lie awake at night thinking about the next slump and the next war. We had peace inside us.

~ George Orwell, Coming Up for Air