Michael Stuart Kelly

Awesome Talk with Ray Bradbury--The Meaning of Life

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Awesome Talk with Ray Bradbury--The Meaning of Life

I just spent one of the most charming 30 minutes of my life listening to a talk Ray Bradbury gave in 2001.

How I wish I could have known this man.

The only thing I ever read by him was Fahrenheit 451, and that was so many years ago I don't remember most of it. Now I want to reread it.

And the other stuff.

I have a feeling there's a treasure waiting for me to discover in Bradbury's work if his talk is any indication.

But the meaning of life I mentioned in the title?

I won't keep you in suspense.

For Bradbury, it is to be the audience witnessing the miraculous universe. Our role is to look at miracles and applaud.

I like that.

I am going to tuck that thought right into the coziest part of my soul and keep it warm.

Michael

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Awesome Talk with Ray Bradbury--The Meaning of Life

I just spent one of the most charming 30 minutes of my life listening to a talk Ray Bradbury gave in 2001.

How I wish I could have known this man.

The only thing I ever read by him was Fahrenheit 451, and that was so many years ago I don't remember most of it. Now I want to reread it.

And the other stuff.

I have a feeling there's a treasure waiting for me to discover in Bradbury's work if his talk is any indication.

But the meaning of life I mentioned in the title?

I won't keep you in suspense.

For Bradbury, it is to be the audience witnessing the miraculous universe. Our role is to look at miracles and applaud.

I like that.

I am going to tuck that thought right into the coziest part of my soul and keep it warm.

Michael

If you like your sci fi with a humane or soft center, Bradbury is your man.

I resonate more with Asimov who, I suspect, may be an Aspie

BTW, Bradbury said Fox does good work! Son of a gun!

Ba'al Chatzaf

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If you like your sci fi with a humane or soft center, Bradbury is your man.

I resonate more with Asimov who, I suspect, may be an Aspie

Bob, I noticed you edited this post, but I was going to say I favor my Hyatt quote because he means "Awe" in its literal definition, not the kind of sentimentality Bradbury enjoys.

awe (ô)

n.
1. A mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might: We felt awe when contemplating the works of Bach. The observers were in awe of the destructive power of the new weapon.
2. Archaic
a. The power to inspire dread.
b. Dread.
tr.v. awed, aw·ing, awes
To inspire with awe.

Notice the prominence of "dread."

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Dennis,

Thank you for bringing that back up. I only skimmed it at the time.

I'm going to repost a short video you found where Bradbury says the movie, The Fountainhead, was the equivalent of a spiritual awakening in his life. As you pointed out in the other thread, "zap to 2:50."

Also, threading through the links, I came across this gem of a talk by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I think he and Bradbury were on the same page. I know I am.

We are stardust and it's a way cool emotional wallop to contemplate that. It's what religious feeling is all about, but transposed.

Michael

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Awesome Talk with Ray Bradbury--The Meaning of Life

I just spent one of the most charming 30 minutes of my life listening to a talk Ray Bradbury gave in 2001.

How I wish I could have known this man.

The only thing I ever read by him was Fahrenheit 451, and that was so many years ago I don't remember most of it. Now I want to reread it.

And the other stuff.

I have a feeling there's a treasure waiting for me to discover in Bradbury's work if his talk is any indication.

But the meaning of life I mentioned in the title?

I won't keep you in suspense.

For Bradbury, it is to be the audience witnessing the miraculous universe. Our role is to look at miracles and applaud.

I like that.

I am going to tuck that thought right into the coziest part of my soul and keep it warm.

Michael

Ray is an example of what happens to a man who has found his calling and does it. He is a man who fell in love with his life. It's a terrible waste of life not to find our calling and to do it.

He touched on the idea of there being no proof that I've referred to many times. With no proof, there can be no coercion of our free choice. In my opinion this is done out of an infinite love of our being.

Greg

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Here's another 2001 talk by Bradbury.

I'm absolutely enchanted by this guy (even if he does like George Bernard Shaw :) ).

He says to write a bunch of short stories before tackling a novel. That's not the best process for everyone, but it was for him. I'm thinking of going on this path.

In his math, you can work on a novel for a year or two years and still not know if you have something good.

But if you write a short story a week, at the end of a year you have fifty-two stories. And he says it's impossible to write fifty-two lousy stories in a row. It can't be done. There will have to be at least one good one among them.

I'm already doing something he recommends: I read one quality short story a day. I'm finding that old college short story anthologies used for literature classes are wonderful compilations that give a rich overview of different writers.

Bradbury also said to read a poem and an essay a day. But that's too much for me right now. I'm sticking with the short stories. I've already read about 60 or so (maybe more). Later I'll start adding more things...

But the effect he mentions, that your subconscious gets full of ideas that collide and merge and morph into new things is working exactly that way with me.

I'm probably going to put more videos of talks by Bradbury on this thread as time goes along. I sure intend to view to more.

Also, my new copy of Fahrenheit 451 just arrived. After I reread that, I'm going to get more of his stuff.

What a treat...

Michael

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Here is part of an email I sent a friend about the opening video where Bradbury is addressing Point Loma Nazarene University's Writer's Symposium by the Sea.

I transcribed a section of it--the meaning of life part. After I did that, I thought it would be a good idea to have it here on OL.

The following are his words (transcribed by me). He is addressing a group of writing students at a university.

What are we doing here?

There's no use having a universe, is there? There's no use having a billion stars, there's no use having a planet earth, if there isn't someone here to see it. You are the audience. You are here to witness and celebrate... to witness and celebrate. And you've got a lot to see and a lot to celebrate.

That's your business. You put it into your work. You put it in your stories. Otherwise get the hell out... get out of our way and let us live. If you're going to be a cynic, if you're going to be a pessimist, there's no hope for you. I can't help you. You've got to help yourself.

But... we are here as an audience.

God cries out to be saved, whatever God is--we have various names, we make Him much too anthropomorphic. That's not what it's all about. Creation, the universe, Jehovah, you name it, it's all mysterious.

But we are here to be the audience to the miraculous. We are privileged to be.

You are going to be alive once. You're never coming back. Think of that. You've got one chance to pay back. You owe. You owe to the universe. The burden of proof is in your lap and in your writing. And you've got to pay back. I demand it.

Now you get the hell out of here and do that and you're going to have a good life.

How can you not love a man like that?

I'm sure if he wrote that instead of speaking off the cuff, he would clean it up. But it's as charming as all get out in the rough.

"We are here to be the audience to the miraculous."

One hell of a quote.

Michael

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I'm not sure if it's a fault or defect,but I seem to have a larger capacity for experiencing awe than I do in producing it. But I am grateful for the experiences. I am a man worshipper , an in awe of mens' works kind of person.

Natural or metaphysic phenomenon can produce a similar emotion , but not nearly the same as the emotional response I feel about a recognition of another's accomplishment. I loved Bradbury and his work, though it's been quite some time since I've enjoyed them, time for a revisit perhaps.

The sheer scale of the 'universe' , the number of stars , galaxies, the potential for earth like environments and the possibility that they too may harbor life is amazing in a sense but not exactly awe inspiring. I've never been comfortable with the question of the meaning of life, I do see that meaning can be found or forged in an individual's life, it just doesn't seem to be applicable to life as a 'whole'. Am I missing something?

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If you like your sci fi with a humane or soft center, Bradbury is your man.

I resonate more with Asimov who, I suspect, may be an Aspie

Bob, I noticed you edited this post, but I was going to say I favor my Hyatt quote because he means "Awe" in its literal definition, not the kind of sentimentality Bradbury enjoys.

awe (ô)

n.

1. A mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might: We felt awe when contemplating the works of Bach. The observers were in awe of the destructive power of the new weapon.

2. Archaic

a. The power to inspire dread.

b. Dread.

tr.v. awed, aw·ing, awes

To inspire with awe.

Notice the prominence of "dread."

Yes. That's the dual nature of truth which cuts both ways. Awe means dread or love depending on each person's choice. There is a process of growth from "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." to "Perfect love casts out all fear."

By the way, what's an "Aspie" ?

Greg

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Greg,

Aspie = Person with Asperger's Syndrome.

Major distraction (or super-focus) and social communication issues among other things.

Kat says I'm part Aspie. :)

I certainly was gullible when I was young, and extremely intense when thinking about something. And a total social dork. In my weaker moments, I long to be gullible again. :)

Michael

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I experiment with 'un-learning' what I know sometimes, and seeing (or trying to) as a child again. It gets easier with practice, and it takes me back to a sort of awed contemplation of all that is out there - all of which has exactly NO "meaning", and gives not a damn about you or me. Bradbury brings all this to mind.

I think I get your meaning Tad: so much magnificence and grandeur can't be enough to satisfy because it is ultimately beyond grasping. And it can reduce us to a sort of puniness in scale. It might not be so much that I prefer the 'man-made' over the 'given' - no, how can one be fully isolated from the other? - but the simple token of increasing respect for Nature, enhances - not lessens- my awe for the man-made.

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Here's another 2001 talk by Bradbury.

I'm absolutely enchanted by this guy (even if he does like George Bernard Shaw :smile: ).

Ray could be Dennis Prager's brother.

Ray_Bradbury-old.jpg

167778940-03121201.jpg

I'm probably going to put more videos of talks by Bradbury on this thread as time goes along. I sure intend to view to more.

Please do. He's an American hero.

Also, my new copy of Fahrenheit 451 just arrived. After I reread that, I'm going to get more of his stuff.

What a treat...

Michael

I think I'm ready for a new one, too.

IMG_7686_zpsaaa49c51.jpg

It was printed in 1953. :wink:

Greg

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I experiment with 'un-learning' what I know sometimes, and seeing (or trying to) as a child again. It gets easier with practice, and it takes me back to a sort of awed contemplation of all that is out there - all of which has exactly NO "meaning", and gives not a damn about you or me. Bradbury brings all this to mind.

I think I get your meaning Tad: so much magnificence and grandeur can't be enough to satisfy because it is ultimately beyond grasping. And it can reduce us to a sort of puniness in scale. It might not be so much that I prefer the 'man-made' over the 'given' - no, how can one be fully isolated from the other? - but the simple token of increasing respect for Nature, enhances - not lessens- my awe for the man-made.

It's easier to do (for me) by spending time with actual children. My son got a telescope for Christmas. I'm amazed by the moon simply because I'm experiencing discovering it again with him. In his way, he then drew my attention to the wonder of the telescope itself. We have spent as much time studying about telescopes as we have spent studying the stars.

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didelancey, It recalls the cardboard tube telescope I made as a kid, starting my interest in optics.

Nothing like a child for recovering one's second childhood, is there?

Talk about the excitement of fresh eyes!

Unloaded with preconceptions and pre-judgment, they remind one of that direct relation to reality each of us had and shouldn't lose.

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didelancey, It recalls the cardboard tube telescope I made as a kid, starting my interest in optics.

Nothing like a child for recovering one's second childhood, is there?

Talk about the excitement of fresh eyes!

Unloaded with preconceptions and pre-judgment, they remind one of that direct relation to reality each of us had and shouldn't lose.

That clear direct relation to reality which occurs before it becomes clouded by thought and emotion is an ideal of Zen Buddhism... but playing with our Granddaughter is a much more fun way to experience that state of being. :smile:

Greg

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Isaac Asimov Predicts in 1964 What the World Will Look Like Today — in 2014

in Sci Fi | January 1st, 2014 37 Comments

asimov-65-e1377841403918.jpg

When New York City hosted The World’s Fair in 1964, Isaac Asimov, the prolific sci-fi author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, took the opportunity to wonder what the world would look like 50 years hence — assuming the world survived the nuclear threats of the Cold War. Writing in The New York Times, Asimov imagined a world that you might partly recognize today, a world where:

  • “Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,’ heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Breakfasts will be ‘ordered’ the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning.”
  • “Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica.”
  • “[M]en will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.”
  • “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.”
  • “The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long- lived batteries running on radioisotopes.”

There are more of his predictions in the article:

http://www.openculture.com/2014/01/isaac-asimov-predicts-what-the-world-will-look-in-2014.html

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Assimov nailed it about 85-90 percent. Still no practical 3-d t.v. in a cube though.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Assimov nailed it about 85-90 percent. Still no practical 3-d t.v. in a cube though.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Bradbury nailed the inanity of TV programming in 451.

And the movie Idiocracy is a work of uncanny prescience.

Greg

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Assimov nailed it about 85-90 percent. Still no practical 3-d t.v. in a cube though.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Bradbury nailed the inanity of TV programming in 451.

And the movie Idiocracy is a work of uncanny prescience.

Greg

Bradbury was insightful in a moral and philosophical way. Asimov nailed the details more specifically. Asimov was less of a humanist writer than was Bradbury. Asimov loved to deal with the machinery as did Heinlein.

The two most humane sci fi writers I have read were Bradbury and Ursula LeGuinn.

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didelancey, It recalls the cardboard tube telescope I made as a kid, starting my interest in optics.

Nothing like a child for recovering one's second childhood, is there?

Talk about the excitement of fresh eyes!

Unloaded with preconceptions and pre-judgment, they remind one of that direct relation to reality each of us had and shouldn't lose.

That clear direct relation to reality which occurs before it becomes clouded by thought and emotion is an ideal of Zen Buddhism... but playing with our Granddaughter is a much more fun way to experience that state of being. :smile:

Greg

Greg, That's a "thought", and it doesn't appear too "clouded"..

It puzzles me (as it has with many religious people)how a man who can think and write well, who can be successful, have a developed character, and has aspired and worked towards skills and goals, can also regularly disparage thought and emotion. Self-contradictory.

Are there good thoughts, and bad, by your reckoning? What[who?]initiated them both? Is it the ideal, for you, to disown one's bad thoughts and emotions?

I'm apparently Buddhist - insofar as we share an aim for "a direct relation to reality" (i.e. through one's senses)- after which I part ways radically. You've heard it often, and it is an observable and introspectible truth which I hardly need to support with Objectivist credo, that man's mind assimilates reality in a hierarchical process: sensory, perceptual and conceptual.

Again, you've shown yourself more than capable of abstractive or conceptual thinking, so don't you ask yourself how you arrived there?

What are your self-made abstractions connected to and founded upon?

Yes, the amazing workings of a child's inner state. Something to dwell on while you have fun with your granddaughter. :smile:

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didelancey, It recalls the cardboard tube telescope I made as a kid, starting my interest in optics.

Nothing like a child for recovering one's second childhood, is there?

Talk about the excitement of fresh eyes!

Unloaded with preconceptions and pre-judgment, they remind one of that direct relation to reality each of us had and shouldn't lose.

That clear direct relation to reality which occurs before it becomes clouded by thought and emotion is an ideal of Zen Buddhism... but playing with our Granddaughter is a much more fun way to experience that state of being. :smile:

Greg

Greg, That's a "thought", and it doesn't appear too "clouded"..

It puzzles me (as it has with many religious people)how a man who can think and write well, who can be successful, have a developed character, and has aspired and worked towards skills and goals, can also regularly disparage thought and emotion. Self-contradictory.

Are there good thoughts, and bad, by your reckoning?

Yes, there are Tony. :smile:

And we aren't our thoughts. We are that which observes our thoughts and the emotions which come from them, and the real us silently chooses which ones we will act upon, and which we will just let go by unresponded.

What[who?]initiated them both?

I don't know that because I only see effects and not their causes. But I do know that there are good thoughts and bad ones. From self observation, I see my mind being very much like a radio that picks up broadcasts, and I am the one who is silently listening to the radio.

Is it the ideal, for you, to disown one's bad thoughts and emotions?

No. I'm the one who accepts full personal responsibility for the consequences of choosing upon which thoughts I act, and which ones I simply let go by unresponded. The ideal is that no thought is ignored, and that all are observed calmly quietly and patiently.

I'm apparently Buddhist - insofar as we share an aim for "a direct relation to reality" (i.e. through one's senses)-

Yes. This is a process which occurs directly before thought and emotion even enter the picture. And most people are not even aware that it exists, because it only becomes obvious in life threatening situations where people take immediate spontaneous instinctual action before even thinking about what they are doing.

after which I part ways radically. You've heard it often, and it is an observable and introspectible truth which I hardly need to support with Objectivist credo, that man's mind assimilates reality in a hierarchical process: sensory, perceptual and conceptual.

I don't reject the process you're describing. I just understand that self reflection always takes place after the fact, and for what it is, it can be very useful.

Again, you've shown yourself more than capable of abstractive or conceptual thinking, so don't you ask yourself how you arrived there?

Tony, stop for a moment to reread your sentence a few times.

You just described what I've been talking about. You can only ask yourself if the real you is the one who is being asked, and the asker is an inquisitive thought which the real you has silently observed.

What are your self-made abstractions connected to and founded upon?

Ah, they are not "self made" at all. :wink:

I'm just the one who silently observes them and chooses my action or inaction. There is no such thing as an original thought. They've all been broadcast and rebroadcast trillions and trillions of times over. The most common thought is the thought that the thought we are thinking is an original thought, and that we created it.

Yes, the amazing workings of a child's inner state. Something to dwell on while you have fun with your granddaughter. :smile:

We have no end of fun! Even though I'm old there is one ability I have never lost...

...the ability to play. :wink:

Greg

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What's the second most common thought? (Oh and is this ranking cardinal or ordinal?)

I have no idea.

I only know that belief in the thought that we are the originator of thought is what forms the foundation for how we relate to all thought. Once you've chosen that view, it's irrelevant what the second most common one is.

Ask yourself these questions:

Do I indiscriminately act upon every thought?

Why don't I if they are all that I am?

Greg

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