...all came naturally to me today, and I enjoyed the day immensely so far. Basically I took it easy, well that is after watering the vegetable garden my wife's flower garden, the potted plants (all with watering cans), then watering the back lawn with hose by hand, and then watering the front lawn too (I cheated on the front and set a sprinkler out to do the work). I also pulled some weeds for awhile. About the only thing I did not do that I should have gotten done today was to rearrange all the stuff I moved in the basement to make room for the new washing machine. Later for that, but I will get it done this evening.
While the front lawn was being watered by the sprinkler, I sat down with a heffe weisse bier and picked up a book. I just decided that I would take it easy most of the day (nothing new in that for me), but that today I would get some reading done while lounging around outside on the patio, or what passes for one. I actually put on a pair of shorts and sat in the sun too. I will probably pay for that hour spent reading and taking in old Sol's rays; but it sure felt good while I was out there. Tomorrow I'll probably be both well read and very red. As it was, I finished a book that I had started to read at least a few months back. Now before you go and think I finished something like the Count of Monte Cristo (I am only about 1/3 the way through that one) the book I finished could be considered a pamphlet next to that tome. In fact, the one I finished reading today was only 62 pages long; it took me so long to read because I had misplaced it months ago, and only found it this weekend in the basement when I rearragned everything for the new washing machine (I guess some good came out of the old washing breaking down after all).
Despite this book being a short one, it is full of a lot of heady subject matter concerning morality, immorality, art, the life of the artist in the form of a closet liberal, homosexuality, pedophilia, wanton lust, liberalism as being decadent and a cause of immorality, the general decline of society due to a liberal life style being favored by many, and the end result of such to those involved - the book being Death In Venice, and you can guess the outcome.
If you read this book, you will probably realize that the mind of the latent pedophile, and that of the latent or closet homosexual (of years past when homosexuality was truly considered verbotten) are exquisitely described therein, as is the mind of the extreme liberal. In fact the battle between those mindsets, and that of the conservative also is expressed in some detail. The end result of all this is certainly not what you would expect in a contemporary work of fiction, but my guess is that Thomas Mann, the author, was outing his own demons in writing this piece; and it is certainly not a contemporary work, the story being set in 1911 or thereabout. It is my understanding that he used much of his own artistic life to draw upon and to portray the main character, one and the same as the person afflicted with temptations to commit those unnatural and immoral acts. I do not know if he was a latent homosexual, or a latent pedophile, but Mann himself was married with 6 children, and was very conservative at the time, so it seems unlikely as to either. Yet, it seems likely that he at least at some time may have mused about the temptations of such a lifestyle. If not, then he seemingly at least understood, through his ties to the world of art with him being a writer, that extreme unchecked liberalism, of the type often seen among those of the art world, was a road to moral degradation of the worst sort.
Later in life, Mann spoke out strongly against Nazi Germany. Some say that this showed him becoming more liberal because during WWI he had supported the Kaiser. I tend to disagree. I think he realized that extreme liberalism, or extreme conservatism, were both the wrong path to take; though I will point out that I believe the Nazis were anything but the conservatives of the day. Being socialists, and anti everything that Germany had truly stood for in the past (behind a disguise of being pro-German tradition, which had been a conservative but yet very open society) I believe them to have been extremists so far removed from the center as to have come round to the point where the ends bent back around and conservatism and liberalism are so extreme as to be the same thing. In essence they espoused extreme liberalism and extreme conservatism in their dogma. But I digress, and neither Nazism or Mann are my main subject.
Read the book, it is a fast read (if you don't lose it for a few months), and very enjoyable, though I will admit to having had to look up quite a few words. It is a strong piece about morality versus immorality, about dedication to a work ethic as opposed rampant leave of ones work ethic, about self control versus loss of control, about doing good as a member of society as opposed to doing things for a more selfish reason, and about the outcome to expect when a man or a society loses sight of what is right and what is wrong and they forget by which path life should be lived.
All the best,
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