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Truth is brevity; Brevity is truth

Following is some of my favorite reading--together with the number of pages (minus table of contents and other people's commentary)

Tao te Ching (most English translations)                                                                     81 pages
         (Thomas Cleary's translation)                                                                               52 pages
The Bhagavad Gita (Juan Mascaro translation)                                                          79 pages
The Gospel according to Jesus (edited by Stephen Mitchell                                     26 pages
Mystical Theology, by (Pseudp-)Dionysius the Areopogite                                        12 pages
The Cloud of Unknowing                                                                                               100 pages
The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence (sans letters)                16 pages
Dark Night of the Soul, by John of the Cross                                                              158 pages (it seemed shorter)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas                                                                    76 pages
The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran                                                                                         96 oages
Heaven and Hell, by Aldous Huxley                                                                                50 pages
Spiritual Direction, by Thomas Merton                                                                           40 pages
Meditation, by Thomas Merton                                                                                        56 pages
A Guide for the Perplexed, by E, F. Schumacher                                                        146 pages
To Know as We are Known, by Parker J. Palmer                                                       128 pages
How to be an Adult, by David Richo                                                                             118 pages
Simple Truths, by Kent Nerburn                                                                                     111 pages

If I were to continue a list of my favorite books, I'm sure that the vast majority would be less than 300 pages.  I have a short attention span for anything that does not tap into my Asperger's perseverence.  Many  books I have wanted to read and should have read  have not been read because they could not pass the test of brevity.  The Koran, Das Capital, A Course in Miracles, Weber's Economy and Society, The Baltimore Catechism, de Tocquevilles Democracy in America, etc., etc..

It has been said that brevity is the soul of wit.  Could it be the soul of truth as well?  Certainly, few books are as truthful as the Tao te Ching, or the Cloud of Unknowing, or Q1 (9 pages of what may be the most nearly authenticatable words of Jesus).  Like, Joe Biden, the longer we discourse on a subject the more likely we are to get it wrong.  Last week I composed a prayer for a family member in crisis, it was nearly a page long. Ninety percent of it was ego expanding demonstration of my ability to use the English language and my reluctance to use this culture's images of the divine.  Needless to say, I could not share the prayer until I had reduced to to nine words.  Words from the heart that might mean somethjng to her and to God.  Love and peace to everyone. ,

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
abendstille
Jul. 19th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
i have problems reading large books too. I also have problems reading anything that is purely intellectual or purely fictional.......most books fall in one or the other category.....LOLOL
Do you like "The little Prince", Bob? At least it fits your criteria of brevity.....;-)
hugs
bobby1933
Jul. 19th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
LOL, thankfully, I enjoy fiction, and most of my favorite faction (American Indian detective stories) is fairly short.

I remember enjoying "The Little Prince" (I think I was 11 when it got translated in English) But it has been many years. I will look at it again, thanks.
abendstille
Jul. 19th, 2009 07:46 pm (UTC)
i´m sure with 11 years you´ve read The Little Prince in a different way. For me it´s one of the most highly spiritual books there is.
and do you read Rumi poetry? And Khalil Gibran?
bobby1933
Jul. 19th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
Yes and yes.(and yes). I'm reading Coleman Barks' translation (The Essential Rumi) now, and The Prophet continues to be among my favorite books. In fact,(at 96 pages) it should have been on my list. In fact, I'll put it there now. Actually, Rumi's Spiritual Couplets (Mathnavi) is also fairly short(235 pages). Now I am determined to finish it.

Edited at 2009-07-19 08:20 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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