My Re-Reading Record of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”

It's only when I had gone to a bookstore near Tokyo Station a few days ago that I got to know that this year, the book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" celebrated its 25th anniversary since it had been published first. By chance, I have finished re-reading that novel a while ago, and now it feels amusing that a strange coincidence between those comes to me abruptly. Around New Year's Day in 2021, I had decided to begin learning English suddenly. Although now I can't remember clearly the reason that I did so, maybe I wanted to alter my life in some way. Last year, spending about ten months, I had read through all the books of Harry Potter once. It was a very significant experience for me to make my knowledge of English grow up, and I thought if I read the series of Harry Potter once more, it would increase far more my understanding. Therefore, I have begun to read. I have decided to meet those who dwell in the world of Wizard's again.



Harry Potter's tale is typical of Cinderella-story, but it's not that everything goes well effortlessly. He's, having called The Boy Who Lived, surely famous, but do not necessarily have an exceptional talent at birth. In some aspects, he's certainly imprudent, seems a bit arrogant, emotional, flouting rules frequently, but at the same time, he's a courageous, brilliant, cool-headed, and resolute boy. Such an ambiguous characteristic of him make the story highly attractive, because we need not get into boredom due to a monotonous perfection of our hero. His furious determination allows him to get over every ordeal, even though it's true that his attitude has produced so many conflicts and made him cornered repeatedly. His radical will seems balanced with his difficult circumstances, so that I could avoid being irritated by his persistence, ignorance, and arrogance. After all those hardships, the moment he succeeded in beating Dark Lord to death at the end of the last book, I couldn't help getting dumbstruck and feeling it unbelievable. Probably, it means that I had been so impressed with Harry's long story that I also fell into his deep despair, shared his serious anxiety. In addition, compared to the Earthsea Cycle, Harry's life looks more like ours, it's because the author J. K. Rowling puts the world of Wizard's next to the contemporary culture of British. As a result, it gets easier for us to feel that world familiar. I think it might be the most remarkable appeal of Harry Potter to mix old, traditional images of magic with our modern civilization.

My Reading Record of “The Alchemist”

Recent days, I have been so busy with working that I was not able to write my impressions on the book "The Alchemist" down. As a result, my memories about a content of The Alchemist is getting vaguer day by day, but even if it seems imprecise, I want to record a bit of my consideration on that novel.



This novel reminds me of a book which I have read before, the name of which is "The Artist's Way" written by Julia Cameron. In short, both of them tell us that when we seek for something that we have been craving for long in a serious way, God as the only transcendental being would conspire with us to realize our true dreams. They regard some accidental cases as significant omens which we can't understand only with logical thinking. Their view might seem slightly absurd, because their belief can't exist unless they accept more or less a religious, mystical principle. In other words, they think of our universe as an outcome of the absolute will. Therefore, they tend to reject the idea of Meaningless Contingency. In many cases, a religious kind of thought refuses to view the world as a confused chaos without any rule, law, aim. Even when it seems absurd, they believe that there's a hidden theorem made by God behind its surface. Their belief is a faith in the law of Necessity, because they always hate any kinds of contingency badly. Certainly, the idea of Omen is a refusal of contingency, because it means that they are prone to read every trivial accident as a private letter from the transcendental existence. Assuming that God rules all over the world based upon its will, there could be no happenings at all. The idea that there's nothing to rule over the universe may threaten them hard with Existential Anxiety, and the idea that God conspires with us to make our dreams come true is clearly the essence of religion. Therefore, those who call themselves God's vicegerents have kept a firm authority since the ancient age. Probably, they can't live well without great parents staying by their side.

Cahier: Keep Gradual Improvements Stacking Up

The same as ever, I keep reading some books in English, and "The alchemist" written by Paulo Coelho is one of them that I have been reading lately, that impressed me in many ways. Reading the novel, I feel that it resembles partly each of books that I read before, such as "The Artist's Way", "Who Moved My Cheese?", and the Earthsea Cycle. First, the belief that God will conspire with those who want something seriously to realize their true dreams seems in concord with the key note of "The Artist's Way". Second, an episode of the crystal merchant reminds me of the Littlepeople who appear in "Who Moved My Cheese?". Third, the concept of alchemy that the English man tells Santiago about, especially the process of Purification, makes me think of the idea of True-name in the Earthsea Cycle tinged with a taste of Platonic Idealism. Although the author of each book is different from one another, their view, their fantasy, their insight overlaps with each other to some degree. I think it's because they are humans in common with all others, and they share the same quality called as Humanity. Maybe, we should accept two different thoughts simultaneously. In concrete terms, one is the thought that we are all the same kind at bottom, another is the one that we should respect each individual liberty and tolerate anyone holding opposing opinions. Whenever we hate someone, we usually refuse to agree with the idea that we and they are the same kind, but it's not exactly true. On the other hand, we frequently regard others as the same as ourselves, but it's just a misconception about humanity. Such a contradiction between two contrasting facts more or less confuses us, and we can't escape the cumbersome and tiresome problem. Whenever one kills the other, he lets himself forget the basic fact that an enemy belongs to the same kind. Whenever one insults the other, surely he will call that filthy human some name of things except humans such as shit, rubbish, bug, pig, dog, and so on. It's because he couldn't admit that we are one kind. However, we are all the same race, after all. Therefore, we can understand others to certain extent despite of our many differences.

My Reading Record of “The Story of Doctor Dolittle”

A few days ago, I finished reading "The Story of Doctor Dolittle" written by Hugh Lofting. When I was a kid, I had read this series translated into Japanese, and since then it had been the best one for a long time that I liked most among various books which I had met ever. Although now I forget the content of the story mostly, my memories with Dr. Dolittle and his animals in childhood stay gold and beautiful. For instance, I can remember clearly even now that my father bought for my birthday four books of that series that I hadn't read yet at that time, and I felt delighted so much. Such a memory represents a light side of my early days tinged with gold like the dazzling sunlight. In those years, I didn't imagine at all that I would be able to read that novel in English some day. To be more precise, most of my life are beyond imagination in my infancy. Usually, life consists of so many accidents, tragedies, and some fortunes. We can't predict them exactly, but it's not the thing to be regarded as the unfortunate condition we must undertake. In fact, Dr. Dolittle also didn't know his strange future when he had been an ordinary doctor for humans. We can plan ahead on living in the future, but we can't get to know beforehand whether the future would obey us. Conversely, we can expect ourselves to change dramatically at some point, and it's the core interest of life. In general, the fact that we don't know what will happen to ourselves is viewed as too stressing to endure, but I think it's the biased, narrowed thought. Of course, we would be hit by some unfortunate, harmful matters, but it's not necessarily the final conclusion of our lives. There also still remains some fortunes that we could not have expected before. Even if some evil things come to us, we can strive to get them over repeatedly. At least, there's no need to decide that we are permanent losers, because now we still keep alive. As a rule, fate often gets unstable, not restricted into the state set in stone. We can alter our own conditions partly, and that's sufficient to make our lives a bit better than ever. Therefore, now I think that once I would have completed learning English, I would begin to learn some animal-language too. Don't you think that's fantastic? 

Cahier: Interpreting the Old Map, We Should Make the New One

Recently, I have been reading two books by turns. One is "Mate: Become the Man Women Want" and another is "The Story of Doctor Dolittle" which was my favorite book when I was a kid. They might seem very different from each other, and it's definitely true. However, both of them highly interest me, so that there's no problem at all. Now I think that it's important for my growth to read a variety of books, because the wider my range of reading books become, the broader my perspective would get. As a side note, I don't plot to cheat on my wife, of course. I just want to know the difference between men and women in many ways. Whatever a subject is, it's effective for better life to comprehend things deeply and accurately. Life is a continuous process of learning what I haven't known yet, the wiser we grow, the better our lives change. In addition, some knowledge can be applied to various instances beyond its own area. We can use the knowledge for many purposes as we need. In other words, the knowledge helps us live wiser unless we refuse to accept new insights opposed to our conservative beliefs which we have already raised up over the past decades. Just like muscles, it makes our view narrowed to use only the same thought much. An excessively biased view gets us to be a stubborn loser. Therefore, I adopted the novel habit reading as diverse books as possible. Surely, a diversity of things will come to an abundance of possibilities. We have so many options, then we are able to choose what we like most among them. Certainly, such a circumstance must increase the amount of our whole happiness. Now I'm not talking about a bookworm who believe that there in books is everything we need to know, and I don't recommend you should become such a person. The book is not the only way of learning our universe. A map is not the same as the real world, but just a copy. We ourselves should confirm that the map indicates the fact correctly. We have to put a theory into practice on our own. Without some map, we might get lost to death. However, we should make an extent of the extant map as broader as we could, not only reading the map someone has drawn before. 

Cahier: Education Resisting Against the Fate

Technologies exist for expanding human abilities to live better. As a rule, the ability is innate and limited. For instance, a human being can't fly like a bird because they don't have such an inherent function. However, we can fly over the world by airplane which a set of human technologies has invented. Our inborn capacity is restricted to some range based upon our own physical conditions, but we can use various technologies to go beyond a possible extent of human ability. It's the most important strength of us compared with other animals. In general, they have only an internal ability to keep alive which is embedded into their natural bodies. By contrast, the human ability has an external attribute which can be exchanged for alternative ones. Furthermore, it can be learned afterward even if one haven't known it at birth. It's an outstanding trait of the human being that we can learn so many skills whenever we need them. Therefore, no doubt it's a crucial issue for us to deal with educational matters. Education attempts to get us rid of our inherited limitations concerning the internal ability. It provides dazzlingly immense possibilities of living otherwise for humans, and more precious than anything else, it gives us the belief that we can change ourselves if we want to. The human is a plastic being, that's the core proposition of education. In other words, educational efforts resist and fight against our own fates. In fact, development of the technologies has altered a human life repeatedly despite our consistency in a physical structure. A smartphone has made us behave in a different way from ever before, just like the airplane has made an international system of traffic changed drastically. As a result, it can be said that learning something will get us to breathe more freely. If you're suffocated by your fatal environment, you can get through it by learning something that you haven't known yet. The unknown world might seem intimidating, but it's not necessarily the only fact. There's also some new possibility that will lead to novel experiences, and they will let you live in another way. Actually, now I have been learning English on my own, and that makes me feel better, stimulates my curiosity all the time, because it's beyond my old, conservative perspective. A new word brings me into a new area where If I didn't learn it, I would never set my feet on the ground. In addition, that will makes me partly no Japanese. Of course, I don't want to deny at all that I'm a Japanese, but I want to expand my possibility of living well. At the same time, if I gain some knowledge that I haven't held ever before, I will be able to share it with others including my family, and I think that's a fantastic thing. It's another precious quality of education that we can distribute our knowledge among those who don't have it yet. The technologies are the common wealth to all humans. We each should strive to cultivate ourselves, and to give the world more abundance.

My Reading Record of “The Farthest Shore”

Eventually, I have done it all. What have I done? It's perusal of "The Farthest Shore" which is the third book of the Earthsea Cycle written by Ursula K. Le Guin. This one is a classical masterpiece of fantasy novels about another universe, with Magic and Sword, and my heart is deeply impressed with its pregnant aftermath. In the first book of that series named A Wizard of Earthsea, I think the main theme is Recovery of Self-Integrity which means that we should recover our own wholeness of being through merging with each internal dark side, just like the relation between Ged and his Shadow. Also in the next book The Tombs of Atuan, the same theme is treated in a different way from a viewpoint of a Kargish girl called Tenar, who has been raised in the utterly deep, bloody darkness protected by the ancient religious belief. There Release and Independence are the most significant elements of her story concerning human growth.



In the third book The Farthest Shore, the prince of Enlad called Arren whose true name is Lebannen, is portrayed as a main character. Through the process of his growth, the author tells us about Death and a positive meaning of its inevitability. Resisting against the idea that there must be an absolute boundary between life and death, Ged compares their relation with a seamless repetition lasting forever. If one refused to accept the fatal mortality, there could be neither life nor death because they are always connected with each other. If we eliminated our own mortality, life would disappear along together death, then there would only remain the sheer nothingness. In other words, Ged thinks that life is equal to death in substance. Therefore, it seems impossible for Ged to separate life from death, to extract only the eternal life from our fatal mortality. On the other hand, Cob who has learned dark magic and regarded himself as immortal believes that he can be everlasting because he has an ability to go back and forth freely between life and death. The deep craving for immortality, lined with fear of death, is the universal tendency among human beings. Almost anyone hates an oncoming death, and our primitive, subconscious instinct aspires to live forever, even though we all know it's impossible absolutely. However, no one can avoid the end some day. Originally, our being isn't made to be permanent. Life should circulate through the world just like money, or blood. Life is a flow, not stocks. In a sense, Cob seems too much stingy because he refuses to pass his own life to the next generation. Desire for no death confuses the law the whole world has obeyed from its beginning. What we should fear most is not the death but the sheer emptiness which means denial of being itself. Death doesn't come to the emptiness, rather it will generate a new life, an inventive possibility that we have never seen. Life is a cycle, and also death is.