TPAOL Question #28 - Remaking the World

by James Meek

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TPAOL Question #28 - Remaking the World

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:06 am

Comment on this quote by Andrei Platonov with which Meek begins The People’s Act of Love:

Busy remaking the world, man forgot to remake himself.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Charlene » Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:29 am

This is so true...people get caught up in something they are passionate about (and sometimes not even passionate) and then other parts of life get pushed to the side...family, etc.(ever seen one of those "career PTA mom's?").

I think you see alot of that in political campaigns. Isn't it Hunter who said no matter what type of character a person had when they started down the political road, anyone running for office, in the end would be corrupted, do things that are corrupt, etc.

S & B fall into that pidgeon hole. Did they further the efforts of their passion, or did they taint and corrupt what was good about themselves...sometimes one man, can do a world of good, just not doing a world of harm.

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:48 am

Good point, Charlene. I think it also applies to moms who devote their lives to their kids or the supermoms who work and raise kids and take no time for themselves because they are so focused on giving to others.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:47 pm

I was thinking along the lines of the difference one person can make just by being a good example...kind of along the lines of your idea, Charlene. By making oneself into a good example, for your children, your friends, etc...you lead by example, the ripple effect if you will.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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Unread postby Depputante » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:04 pm

I think this is about not getting caught up in the rat race of life. We learn things along the way, that take us off the train track.

Being a Russian novel set in historical revolutionary times,
Samarin could be a symbol of the determination it takes for someone to stay on the track.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 28, 2007 4:47 pm

Depputante wrote:I think this is about not getting caught up in the rat race of life. We learn things along the way, that take us off the train track.

Being a Russian novel set in historical revolutionary times,
Samarin could be a symbol of the determination it takes for someone to stay on the track.


I would agree with your first statement. But I also think that Meek used it to point to the various characters who put their lives on hold for: a cause, as in Samarin’s case; the quest for nirvana in Balashov’s case; revenge in Anna’s case; and serving in Matula’s army in Mutz’s case. They were so focused on their respective tasks or goals that they were blind to their feelings and to those around them.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Charlene » Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:28 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I was thinking along the lines of the difference one person can make just by being a good example...kind of along the lines of your idea, Charlene. By making oneself into a good example, for your children, your friends, etc...you lead by example, the ripple effect if you will.
:idea: In the Time of Your Life by William Saroyan

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:58 pm

Charlene wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I was thinking along the lines of the difference one person can make just by being a good example...kind of along the lines of your idea, Charlene. By making oneself into a good example, for your children, your friends, etc...you lead by example, the ripple effect if you will.
:idea: In the Time of Your Life by William Saroyan


Charlene, when we talked about what other ONBC reads TPAOL might remind us of I kept coming back to The Time of Your Life but I just couldn't figure out why in kept popping into my head. Thanks! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby gemini » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm

Comment on this quote by Andrei Platonov with which Meek begins The People’s Act of Love:
Busy remaking the world, man forgot to remake himself.


I think all of you did mention many of the reasons that Andrie Paltonov had in mind with the quote.

Meek must have thought it fit Samarin so obsessed with changing the world, he gave up his humanity. Love for creating a perfect world must include those who are going to live in it.

In a larger prospective, man fought wars to change the world without considering the idea of changing themselves to live peacefully together.
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Unread postby Theresa » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:26 pm

Busy remaking the world, man forgot to remake himself.


Balashov and Samarin put all of their efforts trying to remake the world into their respective images of Heaven, but they weren’t able to change themselves to fit that perfect image they were working toward.

Balashov never lost his affections for his family, even though his ‘Heaven’ had no place for them; he also defended his family and town at the end of the story, thus condemning himself to Hell in the eyes of his sect.

Samarin detoured from his mission to trek to the White Garden to search for a woman he so obviously had affection for, and after Anna’s son was shot while he was stealing the train, he returned to the village – and lost the train -- because of Anna.

Both men failed in their attempts to completely lose their “selves”, their humanity – in their attempts to make their perfect worlds.

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Unread postby Parlez » Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:00 pm

It's an interesting statement. First of all, I think it reflects the futility of trying to remake the world, which mankind has a nasty habit of thinking it can (and should) do from time to time. It is a form of busy-ness that's based in vanity and greed, even when it's couched in lofty terms like freedom and liberation. How much better off were the masses because of Samarin's actions toward remaking Russia? Did not the individual people end up living (or trying to live) pretty much the way they'd done before, except for the few at the top of the heap? Likewise with Balashov, who got busy trying to remake himself - to what point and purpose? Was he or those around him better off because of his actions? I think not. In the end, what's forgotten is that you can't mess around too much with the world - life and living go on and humanity doesn't ever really get remade.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:21 pm

gemini wrote: Meek must have thought it fit Samarin so obsessed with changing the world, he gave up his humanity. Love for creating a perfect world must include those who are going to live in it.


Parlez wrote: It's an interesting statement. First of all, I think it reflects the futility of trying to remake the world, which mankind has a nasty habit of thinking it can (and should) do from time to time. It is a form of busy-ness that's based in vanity and greed, even when it's couched in lofty terms like freedom and liberation.


It is really quite an egotistical thought isn't it? Attempting to impose your belief of what is right on the rest of humanity, yet people continue to do it. Making yourself a better person and living by example is a much better endeavor in my opinion!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Linda Lee » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:33 pm

I feel like I am walking around in a fog today. I was thinking of the ways they changed and that the quote didn't quite fit, then I read Theresa's post and a :idea: came on. You hit the nail on the head and probably a good thing for the people in Yazyk that they didn't succeed in remaking themselves.

Parlez wrote:
In the end, what's forgotten is that you can't mess around too much with the world - life and living go on and humanity doesn't ever really get remade.

I have to agree.


Dithot wrote:
It is really quite an egotistical thought isn't it? Attempting to impose your belief of what is right on the rest of humanity, yet people continue to do it. Making yourself a better person and living by example is a much better endeavor in my opinion!

This is probably the most effective way to effect change.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby Lady Jill » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:46 am

Parlez wrote: In the end, what's forgotten is that you can't mess around too much with the world - life and living go on and humanity doesn't ever really get remade.


Ah, right on, Parlez. These are my sentiments exactly! Humanity doesn't get remade. Seems all one can do is keep their own self going in a positive, human way of love and giving. That small amount may attract others.

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Unread postby Liz » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:38 am

theresa wrote: Both men failed in their attempts to completely lose their “selves”, their humanity – in their attempts to make their perfect worlds.


This is true. They tried, but they couldn’t quite do it, could they?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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