Sunday, June 3, 2018

One Hundred Years of Solitude

How to learn and/or  a foreign language: Read The Book of Mormon in that language, alongside your native-language copy, so you can look up the words you don't recognize. At least that's how I really learned Spanish when our family moved to Venezuela.

Reading a book called "On Anarchism," comprised of a bunch of quotes from some writings and lectures by Noam Chomsky (previous post), I'm struck that he provides a message about how the world can be a better place. And it's not through the American idea of "anarchism" or "libertarianism," but it is through a system where everyone exercises free agency and develops the talents they want to develop, and where families are important and love and kindness are the guiding principles. 

Then, reading an interview with Jess Walter, at the end of his 2012 novel "Beautiful Ruins," I see this wonderful quote: "I remember reading 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and marveling at all that happened just in the first sentence. ("Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.") There's a whole novel in that sentence."

Alas, Dear Reader, the rest of this post is still lost and apparently irrecoverable. But let me add that it started out to be a review of the book "Beautiful Ruins," and ended up with a bunch of quotes by various authors, about the great book "One Hundred Years of Solitude." 

When we lived in Venezuela, I bought a copy of this book, in the original Spanish, determined to read it that way, instead of the English translation; and determined to do so in spite of the warning from the clerk at the bookstore: "It's written in a very flowery prose, very difficult, even for a native speaker of Spanish." Well, she was right: it was too difficult for me at that stage of my Spanish language skills, and would be even more difficult for me now. I went back to studying The Book of Mormon in Spanish, which was hard enough but gave me the reward of improving my understanding of gospel principles, in addition to improving my Spanish.

But that reminds me: There's a Spanish III class being offered in the Clark College continuing education program this summer. I think I'll take it. And meanwhile I'm re-reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish, too. 

But, back to where I started, where this post was originally going before it got messed up and then lost: How the world can be a better place, according not only to Noam Chomsky but everyone who has seriously thought about this and doesn't live in some adolescent male fantasy world:

It's through a system where families are important; love and kindness are the guiding principles; and everyone exercises free agency and develops the talents they want to develop.


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