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March 23, 2000 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-23

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168@ The Michigan Daily- Nekend, etc Magazne -- T b ay, 1barch 2, - - - - - dF - o~,w

eJ

RETRO BOOKS
Continued from Page 6B
ered the greatest work of this centu-
ry's literature. With a reputation like
that, it's no surprise many people
have shied away from picking it up
because they assume it's as full of
presumptuous arrogance as scholars
who sanctify it seem to convict it of.
For those sufficiently daring to
ignore the apparent dangers, it's best
not to read it as the greatest book of
the modern era, but as an imagined
confession from a friend who pre-
sents a difficult time understanding
him.

Broken up into 18 chapters,
Joyce's signature work parallels
Homer's "Odyssey" through the
experiences of three Dubliners on
the 16th of June, 1904. Leopold
Bloom is the reincarnation of the
wandering Odysseus, his wife Molly
is Penelope (wife to Odysseus), and
a young artist named Stephen
Dedalus provides the parallel to
Telemachus (son to Odysseus).
Dublin itself is also a main char-
acter in this encyclopedic novel.
Each chapter has a distinct style that
sets it apart as unique, but also ties it -
in with the whole. Most of the writ-
ing is in a breathtaking stream-of-.

consciousness style but maintains its
extreme versatility.
On a first reading, it's worth it to
pay attention to the beauty of the
author's language and not so much
the deep meaning behind this 700-
plus page opus. All that will come
with multiple readings of this book.
Notice how Joyce's writing changes
constantly from point to point -
from the arrestingly poetic to being
ridiculously funny to rigidly scien-
tific, from unabashedly erotic to
extremely musical. When one
ignores everything bad and almost
everything good they've heard about
Joyce, it's impossible not to surren-

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der attention over to some of the
most powerful writing ever imag-
ined.
It doesn't hurt to have an exten-
sive literary background to better
understand this book, but "Ulysses"
is not nearly as unreadable as most
people have probably heard - just
inexhaustible in its pleasures. Of all
the chapters, the last is probably the
most unique and fun to read. It is a
monologue delivered by Molly in
her bed at the end of the day and is
broken up into only a few sentences.
and no punctuation marks spanning
45 pages. Knowing this at the outset
is a worthwhile invitation to keep on
reading through all of the other
chapters.
All those who fancy themselves
writers will love the chance to
appreciate how Joyce challenged
every convention of literature and
drove a stake through the heart of
tradition. This book is an advertise-
ment for humanity. One of the most
eternal truths of man is supplied
early on: "All history moves towards
one great goal, the manifestation of
God." This is such a complex truth,
but is even more explicitly focused
on in the last of my three book selec-
tions.
"PROMETHEUS RISING"
BY ROBERT ANTON WILSON
Readers who live the words in this
hook entirely will become gods
inside their own body (or, simply
put, they'll find out just how much
they already were). Before even
beginning to read it, though, one has
to find a copy of it. Without Internet
resources, finding it in bookstores is
an adventure in and of itself.
"Prometheus Rising" might be
one of the most controversial books
in the self-help or psychology genre
ever written. It suggests ideas such
as the destruction of beliefs that
many have held throughout life, plus
the use of mind-altering drugs such

as marijuana and psychedelics.
It is an explanation of the brain's
eight circuits as theorized by
Timothy Leary. The first four cir-
cuits deal with basic survival -
emotional, rational and sexual
imprints, indicative of all human
beings. These are usually set in place
early on in life. Wilson's description
of these circuits theorizes how
almost all human behavior comes
about (and also why so many people
find themselves in self-defeating
traps),
The second group of circuits deals
with spiritual advancement and evo-
lution. They hold the ability to
reprogram one's entire self as well as
experience the universes (or person-
al "reality tunnels") in compietely
different ways.
At the end of every chapter,
Wilson provides a set of exercises
for the reader to do. Though one
should not feel burdened with doing
all the exercises in a chapter before
continuing, they provide a great ref
erence point for re-reading the book.
One such exercise instructs the read-
er to concentrate on a quarter in a
meditative state. Wilson counsels
imagining it vividly, then looking
around for quarters as one goes
about the day. When I tried this exer-
cise, I could only conceptualize
"twenty-five cents." Within a few
days I had found a dime and three
nickels in various odd places around
campus, and that's not a fanciful
yarn to convince people to get this
book. It really happened.
In fact, by learning the truths of
this book, it might be possible to
manifest sexual encounters one
would otherwise have considered a
fluke. So, if for no other reasons, try
reading this book to get laid. Then,
while lying about with a brand-new
dream man or woman, there would
be time to read to each other from
"The Passion" or "Ulysses" and
know the beauty of being alive.

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