Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Becoming Human: The Search For Meaning

The Great Books Foundation published a book series that was somewhat transformational for me.

I had just dropped out of college, was back living with my parents, and had little hope for myself, mt future, my world.  I was seventeen and felt overwhelmed by a world beyond comprehension, and out of control.  I mostly lived in the internet, and wandered aimlessly in my bathrobe.

I was suffering, yet with the impossibility of comparing personal experiences, I will never know the depths of it.  So I was wandering aimlessly in my parent's basement (something of the coolness, isolation, and mustiness was reassuring, as I am sure I was comforted by the solid concrete floor and walls) when I happened across several brown paper bags full of books.  They were mostly mildewed and tattered and water-stained and swollen- but in the piles, buried in between pounds and pounds of books I found this series.

The series was called "Becoming Human".

It probably did a much better job of giving me a foundation for coping with tragedy, stress, suffering and despair than my 17 years of suburban upbringing ever did.  A few years later, I recognized this, and suggested the series to a friend.  I'm not sure he even bothered with it, despite his being a voracious reader.  I guess we are each receptive to things in our own time, under our own terms of circumstance.

In future posts, I'll try to talk about each piece of written work within each book of the set, some 50 or more written pieces, and discuss their personal significance to me.  If I have a hard time remembering the details, or it feels immediately relevant, I will reread a story.

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