Jeff's Critical Reads: on falling headlong

March 2nd, 2017

Jeff writes: I admire Musil’s remark that “the truth is not a crystal that can be slipped into one’s pocket, but an endless current into which one falls headlong”. Books can be an effective antidote to the reductive urge. The conception of Muslims, Mexicans, Russians, Indians, Jews, and, well, alas, women, for example, about whom we have recently heard so much from the cultural forces that look to caricature and simplify human beings is a conception that might be slipped into one’s pocket. I have been reading, re-reading, or planning to read these books as a way of falling headlong into a stream whose complexity and subtlety portray a reality that is more beautiful, more human, and more truthful.