vineri, 17 martie 2023

La Folie des Grandeurs aka Delusions of Grandeur, based on the play Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo, author of one of the best known novels, Les Miserables though popular in motion picture format, I doubt that many people have read it these days = 9 out of 10


La Folie des Grandeurs aka Delusions of Grandeur, based on the play Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo, author of one of the best known novels, Les Miserables though popular in motion picture format, I doubt that many people have read it these days

9 out of 10



This note is not about the play Ruy Blas, it is about the adaption which I have seen recently…I keep saying that it used to be possible to introduce an entry and have a ‘review’ connected with the real thing, only now it is for ‘librarians’ to do it, and then it must be admitted that I tend not just to digress, but to write about what comes to my mind when I read or see something, or worse still, when I write about ‘it’, and thus, it is not all that unfair to put a comment down on one thing, instead of another…


I have had a couple of complaints (maybe a few more) related to what I talk about of here, which for I while deterred me from offending the large number of readers, then I relented and said the above, soothed by the realization that the ones who seek expert advice on a site for amateurs could well do with the thrills offered by the surprises…I try and see what professionals say, read only the best books, from The TIME 100, Modern Library Best 100, Le Monde 100 or The !,000 Novels Everyone Must Read lists.

Still, there are times when I do not rejoice and find the book less than elating, Swimming Home by Deborah Levy, a writer that has enchanted me more with Hot Milk, and when critics and experts fail to see what book will offer you the best alternative life, then what can imperfect readers suggest - “The person who doesn't read lives only one life…The reader lives 5,000…Reading is immortality backwards” ― Umberto Eco


With this multitude of universes we can step into, it may seem as if there is no problem if we make the wrong choice and spend one life out of five thousand in the wrong company, with the less than perfect book (could we extend that to films) and think we still have another four thousand and many hundreds, even when errors multiply…the problem is that we have a shorter biological life, however much extended that will be, according to Yuval Harari

In Homo Deus, the brilliant luminary offers the optimistic perspective of a future where humans become Gods (aka Deus) in that they will extend their life span towards…well, infinity and then we will really have time to read the classics, the masterpieces we love again, and again, and the five thousand lives become millions, not to mention what Malcolm Bradbury says in his To the Heritage, that novels are much more captivating than reality, characters in fiction are wiser, more compelling that the real humans…


Seneca has said that ‘life is not short, we have enough time; the problem is that we treat time as if it were in endless supply and we do not see that it is the most important, or among the most important things we have’ – this is just the point he was making I hope, for a quote, one has to go to a more reliable source and stop reading scribblers without a solid education, and accurate memory – and one conclusion we draw out of that is that we must stay away from boring volumes and sordid motion pictures…

The little story about Dostoyevsky comes to mind, one told by our divine Professor of Literature, Anton Chevorchian, Bless his Soul, if there is a heaven, then he is on the side of Jesus, Magdalene, Proust and some of the other saints, he explained how Dostoyevsky was sentenced to death, and while standing near the firing squad, he divided his remaining three minutes into…three, what else, and then looked at his life passing, said goodbye to friends and family, and left the remaining minute for a ray of sunshine…


Only in the last moment, the pardon came (perhaps the czar had intend all this just as a charade, a lesson for the revolutionary rebel) and then we, as humanity, are lucky to read the magnum opera, and in that we find that faced with death, the condemned would rather choose to live on a rock in the middle of the ocean than die, how wondrous our being extant on this planet is and the moral is to enjoy it all.

There is the expertise we find in Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, co-founder of Positive Psychology, and the Ultimate Specialist in Being in the Zone, reaching the Zenith, the conditions for that rare state (which we find advice on how to extend and make more segments of our daily life more intense and rewarding) are identified after research – challenges meet with skills, are balanced there, we have constant feedback


We are in control of the activity that brings us into Flow, it is autotelic, we think of nothing else, Time becomes very relative – it is already so, in the approximate words of Albert Einstein, ‘a moment with the hand on the hot stove feels like more than an hour spent with a beautiful woman’, something like that maybe, but when in Flow, the examples given are of a ballerina that is on stage for less than one minute and she feels it as if there were many hours, and the surgeon (a profession given to Flow) who comes out of a difficult operation and asks for lunch, only to be told that it is dinner time, for he has spent more hours than presumed…

Humor is a key element of Positivity – the book to read on this would be Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson - and one of the character strengths listed by Martin Seligman, the other co-founder of Positive Psychology, under Transcendence, where the other strengths would be appreciation of excellence and beauty, hope, gratitude, spirituality…strangely, sometime in the 1990s, I have received an invitation from British Airways, at that time they were selling some tickets through our agency, and then got to spend a couple of nights in London, one of which was almost lost, because we had tickets for…Les Mis, and during the performance I was lamenting that I have not (yet) reached the status of the jet setters who fly to see concerts, plays in another town…I was still a redneck then, and not much better today, alas


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