Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Reading in the Moment

now reading: The Schopenhauer Cure by Irvin D. Yalom

A lot of The Schopenhauer Cure takes place in group therapy, and I rather enjoy reading it. Group therapy, when portrayed well, can be among the more entertaining and insightful things to read/watch. See also, The Bob Newhart Show. However, I haven't decided how great the novel is in general. It is entertaining, interesting, and well-constructed, but it also has that sort of confused identity thing going on, that it shares with the likes of Ishmael, where I wonder if the author really wanted to write a novel. Maybe Yalom wanted to fancifully muse about Schopenhauer and what he would be like if he lived in the modern world, but felt a little too constricted by the traditionally novel-like aspects of novel-writing.

I am learning a great deal about Schopenhauer. I guess he was kind of a brat, but depending on who you ask it could just be because he was such a genius. And I really like the well chosen quotes from Schopenhauer's works that start each chapter of the novel and relate to what happens in that chapter; I've taken to going back and re-reading the Schopenhauer quote at the beginning each time I finish a chapter.

I also like thinking about philosophy, and about how the ideas of the Far East make much more sense than Western religion. The book, while it makes me want to go out and read a million books by Plato, Kant, and other philosophers, is not a read through which the reader must slog. It is entertaining and you come to like the characters quite a bit, characters who are endearing in that special way only group therapy members can be.

Right now, the dastardly jackass character who worships Schopenhauer is really off-putting to me, but at the same time I completely and totally relate to Schopenhauer himself. I suppose I should be a little worried about what this could mean.

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