Jan

2

A reader writes:

Time's Arrow by Martin Amis, is a novel which plays on topsy turvyness - everything being upside down, time is moving backwards, what is good is bad and vice versa. E.g, the pimp dishing out cash to the prostitute, doctors killing patients, and garbage men adding more trash into the bin.

In our hyper-rationale world- of cartesian thinking - those novels tease the reader and stretch imagination. Saw pics of overflowing trash bins in NYC - so at least one of the examples could be true today?

Laurence Glazier writes:

Thanks for the reference, I didn't know of this book. I have read some of his earlier, more frivolous books, and also some of his father's, Kingsley Amis. I love time-bending themes, but might find this one harrowing.

A reader adds:

inversion theme - also a link to mkts? novice trader: fundamentals first, then price action, whereas more seasoned trader can see the implicit -and more nuances, eg. house price stocks moved up in 2009, then housing boom in the US etc for yrs to come etc. or spiritually - one can find a few other things ….Castaneda /Gurdjieff - on topsy turvy ness of human perception.

Andrew Aiken writes:

Philip K.Dick’s novel, Counter-Clock World, was published in 1967. By a quirk of physics, time in this future is running backward. In this world, people disgorge whole food, greet with “Good-bye” and part with “Hello”, pregnancy ends with copulation, libraries busily eradicate books, and the dead come back to life in the world’s cemeteries. Because libraries control the availability of knowledge, they have absolute power. Even militaries and police are terrified of the libraries. A departed cult leader, whose following has continued to flourish after his death, comes back to life, with devastating implications.

Nils Poertner responds:

yeah, a number of authors of the previous centuries probably could not take it anymore with society's linear attending to the world and wrote books like these. Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass is another one. some are more light hearted and fun to read than others. good for stimulation of novice traders.

Laurence Glazier comments:

Music is interesting here, as whatever I write is heard linearly, even though I sometimes create it as a non-linear fractal structure. It nonetheless works.

Wondering where the Gurdjieff Work comes in re Time’s Arrow? Phillip K Dick was certainly an extraordinary individual.

A reader responds:

Music is about vibration and energy - and more harmonious energy is good for us and vice versa. We constantly rec and send energy even if we don't think so. I'm not huge into Gurdjieff or Castaneda - only know a few bits about this topsy turvyness in perceptions and tend to concur. Would not interest others here perhaps anyway. Will have a look at Philip K Dick.

Penny Brown writes:

I loved Martin Amis's last "novel" - put it in quotes because it's more of a memoir - Inside Story which chronicles some of his early relationships and the death of his closest friend, Christopher Hitchens, and his literary father, Saul Bellow.

Laurel Kenner enthuses:

Androids DO Dream of Electric Sheep! Reading ALL Dick’s books.

Zubin Al Genubi writes:

I've read pretty much every Michael Connelly book.

Laurel Kenner adds:

I have read all of Michael Connelly, William Gibson, Alexander McCall Smith, John Grisham, John D. MacDonald, Walter Mosley, Eric Ambler, Martha Wells, Earl Derr Biggers, Robert Graves, Gene Wolfe, T.S. Eliot, George MacDonald, and Phillip K. Dick. I recommend Epictetus, Publius, Shelley, Keats, James Burnham, and Curtis Yarvin on Substack. Merry Christmas to all Specs.

Ashton Tate writes:

P.D. Ouspensky, a student of Gurdjieff wrote the novel, Strange Life of Ivan Osokin. It can relate to markets as the story tells of a man who meets a genie who is willing to grant him any wish. The man (Ivan Osokin) wishes to be able to go back in time and replay certain pivotal moments in his life with the caveat that when replaying these events he is aware of the things he did the first time in these instances so that he doesn't mess up again. The genie grants him his wish but assures him that even though he may know what not to do in replaying these scenarios, he will still make the same faulty decision anyways, to which he does, again and again. There is a rumor that this book was used as inspiration for the movie Groundhog Day.

Jeffery Rollert responds:

That idea came from Sartre, in Les Jeux Sont Fait (The Die/Dice Are Cast), and should be required reading by all.

Laurence Glazier adds:

Keith Pearson has written several light-hearted, but well-constructed novels on this theme.

Ouspensky believed in a theory of recurrence, in which lifetimes could be repeated. I don’t think that was connected to Gurdjieff’s teaching, though in Beelzebub’s Tales he suggests that themes in history repeat.

Penny Brown offers:

My greatest literary experience this year was listening to the 1862 classic, Oblomov, which came as a free addition in the Plus Catalogue (Audible). The narrator, Stephen Rudnicki, has a beautiful resonant voice and adds just the right amount of ironic inflection.

"Oblomovism" or "Oblomovshchina" is a term has made it into the vernacular as representing all the negative qualities of romantic inaction.

Kim Zussman replies:

Do you mean the qualities of an inactive lazy indolent being? The sentient women I have known would not consider such inambition very romantic.

Larry Williams adds:

Laurel did you read this one: A Friendship: The Letters of Dan Rowan and John D. MacDonald 1967-1974. Like you I read every novel he wrote.

Laurel Kenner replies:

Thanks for the tip, Larry. If you believe, as I do, that politics are not on a right-left spectrum but are more like an elliptical orbit with totalitarianism at the nadir and freedom at the apex, read Thomas Pynchon, With a salt shaker handy.

One additional recommendation: Louis-Vincent Gave published Avoiding the Punch in August, and I think it's the best book of the year. Chair and I had the pleasure of dining with him and his brilliant father, Charles, at the lamented Four Seasons restaurant and found them kindred spirits.

Some chapter titles:
The Asch experiment we inhabit
CYA, the guiding principle of our time
Fighting for relevance [central banks]
Who will survive the unfolding Marxist clash?
Are US treasuries set to fall from heaven?

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