Reading for Information, Diversity and Intellectual Fun

I am reading Art and Physics by Leonard Schlain, bit by bit. It always takes me a while to absorb each chapter. When I feel I have given it enough distance in time, I read another chapter. In this way, I have made it about two-thirds of the way through the book over the period of about a year and a half.

I had gotten used to the pace of one artistic period compared to one development in physics when the author suddenly summarized the entire history of music in one chapter and compared it to the developments in physics which had been going on in each historic period of art.

I had to really catch my breath. I had the additional disadvantage of several years of music history in both undergrad and graduate music degrees. I had trouble stuffing all of that into one chapter and then comparing it to new concepts in physics which I was learning about in a little more detail with their artistic comparisons.

Now, several weeks later, I find myself awash with a chapter about literary trends across several centuries, compared to the physics developments presented in more detail with their art history periods.

I enjoy this kind of challenge, even though I read other books for pure entertainment. I intersperse my reading additionally with information I am trying to assimilate in order to start a permaculture farm, or at least a homestead, in our new setting on land in a new climate. I contrast my reading of philosophy and history with forest gardening and biogas systems and rainwater harvesting. And then sometimes I just take a complete break and read sci-fi.

It keeps my mind alert dancing from topic to topic, and in between, in stimulates lots of creative activity in the form of chants, fingerplays and songs for very young children, a new venture in making small-size fiber art, plus an active self-education in canning food.

I spend a lot of time alone this way, thoroughly engaged. When I need more company, I can move myself to an internet cafe. Occasionally, and I would welcome more, I find wonderful and interesting conversation with people who are actively directing their lives. I don’t know whether yet this happens more in large communities or small towns. I think perhaps I am meeting more people in the small towns. I haven’t lived there long enough to tell.

I have added a couple more books to the ones typically stacked up near me, one on cheese-making and one on designing and building a solar house. It will be part of a new and enjoyable exploration.

Oh, and I still have several more chapters of Art and Physics.

© 2014 Kathryn Hardage


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