Just Peter, Monaghan John

Review From User :

What a relief from the turgid and paranoid academic writing I usually have to pile through. Yes, there are problems with Anthropological approaches, and yes there is no end to ethics discussions about representation, but how wonderful to read a book that states a confident belief in the worth and usefulness of stepping out of your cultural boundaries and attempting to see through the eyes of others.

This book resonated with Barenboim & Said's 'Parallels and Paradoxes'; I think its about trying to grapple with rationality without losing a perspective that is both intimately emotional and cosmically scientific - or perhaps with what Barenboim calls 'meta-rationality'. For me, this means using reason, but moving beyond its blandishments of final resolutions and infinite growth/progress and accepting that to be human is to be able to glimpse that which is not wholly knowable. We live for 70 odd years, but can understand the distance between stars, and the time it took continents to form. As individuals, we cannot take part in that history (our species' history will probably only amount to a ripple on the lake of eternity) but we can glimpse it. This is the wonder and pain of being human, and as Barenboim says, the lesson music has to give is that we must learn to yield as much as to manipulate.

This attitude shines through in this book. Arguments are made in language, language is a tool of power. Arguments can defeat the purposes and processes of Anthropology. But there is no substitute for being there, there is nothing else.

Media Size : 17 MB