Thomas Paine on The Sublime

•2013-12-30 • Leave a Comment

The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime, makes the ridiculous; and one step above the ridiculous, makes the sublime again.

Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason 1794

Joseph Campbell on Fear

•2013-06-12 • Leave a Comment

In the cave you fear to enter, lies the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell

Happy New Year!

•2011-01-01 • Leave a Comment

Winter Afternoon Moon

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s

words await another voice.  And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

T.S. Eliot


I came to myself in a dark wood…

•2010-08-11 • 1 Comment

“In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost.”

Dante Aligheri

Despair dissolves illusions

•2010-06-20 • 1 Comment

Despair … is the only cure for illusion. Without despair we cannot transfer our allegiance to reality — it’s a kind of mourning period for our fantasies. Some people do not survive this despair, but no major change within a person can occur without it.

Philip Slater, Earthwalk

Jung on Awakening

•2009-12-11 • 2 Comments

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. He who looks outside dreams. He who looks inside awakens.”

– Carl Gustav Jung

Jung’s thought reminds me of the ancient Heraclitean maxim:

“Applicants for wisdom do what I have done: inquire within.” – Heraclitus of Ephesus

R.W. Lynd Quotation #2

•2009-12-05 • Leave a Comment

One of the greatest joys known to man is to take a flight into ignorance in search of knowledge.

–Robert Lynd

R.W. Lynd Quotation #1

•2009-12-02 • Leave a Comment

“Cut quarrels out of literature, and you will have very little history or drama or fiction or epic poetry left.”

– Robert Wilson Lynd

Note: R.W. Lynd (1879 – 1949) was a British writer, an urbane literary essayist and strong Irish nationalist. He was born and educated in Belfast, and settled in Hampstead in London, as a contributor to many publications. He became a fluent Irish speaker, and Gaelic League member.

Andre Gide on Logic

•2009-11-12 • Leave a Comment

The want of logic annoys. Too much logic bores. Life eludes logic, and everything that logic alone constructs remains artificial and forced.

-Andre Gide (French Writer)

Nietzsche on Individualism

•2009-10-28 • Leave a Comment

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

– Nietzsche

Seneca on Fighting

•2009-10-16 • Leave a Comment
To fight with an equal is dangerous; with a superior, mad; with an inferior, degrading.
Seneca the Elder

To fight with an equal is dangerous; with a superior, mad; with an inferior, degrading.

Seneca the Elder

Goethe on Enslavement

•2009-10-05 • Leave a Comment

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

– Goethe

Alexander Pope on Ambition

•2009-09-28 • Leave a Comment

The same ambition can destroy or save.

Alexander Pope (from: Essay on Man)

Schopenhauer on Genius

•2009-09-26 • Leave a Comment

{p.115} It is the curse of the genius that in the same {p. 116} measure in which others think him great and worthy of admiration, he thinks them small and miserable creatures. His whole life long he has to suppress this opinion; and, as a rule, they suppress theirs as well. Meanwhile, he is condemned to live in a bleak world, where he meets no equal, as it were an island where there are no inhabitants but monkeys and parrots. Moreover, he is always troubled by the illusion that from a distance a monkey looks like a man.

Vulgar people take a huge delight in the faults and follies of great men; and great men are equally annoyed at being thus reminded of their kinship with them.

The real dignity of a man of genius or great intellect, the trait which raises him over others and makes him worthy of respect, is at bottom the fact, that the only unsullied and innocent part of human nature, namely, the intellect, has the upper hand in him, and prevails; whereas, in the other there is nothing but sinful will, and just as much intellect as is requisite for guiding his steps, –rarely any more, very often somewhat less, –and of what use is it?

It seems to me that genius might have its root in a certain perfection and vividness of the memory as it stretches back over the events of past life. For it is only by dint of memory, which makes our life in the strict sense a complete whole, that we attain a more profound and comprehensive understanding of it.

Arthur Schopenhauer

The Art of Controversy and Other Posthumous Papers

Selected and Translated by T. Bailey Saunders, M.A.
London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Ruskin House 40 Museum Street, W.C.
First Published 1896, Reprinted 1921 The Aberdeen University Press Ltd.

Modern philosophy : a footnote to Heidegger

•2009-09-19 • Leave a Comment

I made a new blog page: Heidegger on Death. It is a very different way of viewing Death than what is ordinarily taught by mainstream society, which Heidegger calls the ‘they-self’, a kind of social conditioning that goes against and hides the true self.

In order to show the importance of Heidegger’s work, the following is a description by translator Jonathan Rée, explaining that Heidegger didn’t need to complete Part 2 of his magnum opus, Being and Time, because it was completed by subsequent modern philosophers, who altogether make but a footnote of Heidegger’s original work:

One might see Being and Time as seeking completion in the work of others, including many who would be affronted by any association with ‘Heideggerianism’. For instance, there are Levinas’s invocations of the unassimilable ‘other’, Simone de Beauvoir’s critiques of ‘feminine’ inauthenticity, Sartre’s criticisms of traditional psychology and ethics, and Althusser’s and Foucault’s revolts against ‘historicism’ and ‘humanism’, not to mention Derrida’s unmistakable Heideggerian programme of ‘deconstruction’. Or there are the attempts by theologians such as Bonhoeffer, Buber, Bultmann and Tillich to ‘demythologize’ religious belief, Lacan’s revolt against ‘ego-psychology’, or the ‘humanistic’ psychologies of Binswanger, Rogers, and R.D. Laing. Then there is the vast tradition of ‘western’ or ‘cultural’ Marxism, carried forward by Lukás, Marcuse and Adorno; the various strands of ‘interpretive’ sociology from Schütz to Bourdieu; and the ‘history from below’ intitiated by E.P. Thompson and Emmanuel Leroi Ladurie. Or there is Anglo-American ‘philosophy of mind’, rooted in the anti-Cartesianism of Gilbert Ryle, and the anti-positivistic theory of science pioneered by Alexandre Koyré and Thomas Kuhn. The greatest adventures of twentieth-century thought, in other words, may be little more than an incomplete series of footnotes to Heidegger’s Being and Time.

Pp. 50 – 51. Heidegger, by Jonathan Rée, 1999, Routledge, New York; part of The Great Philosophers series. All quotations are from Being and Time, (German edition 7th edition, Max Niemeyer, Tübingen, 1953) the classic English translation thereof, by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, Blackwell, Oxford, 1962

Quod me nutrit me destruit

•2009-09-04 • Leave a Comment

Ancient Roman Proverb:

Quod me nutrit me destruit.

It means: “What nurtures me destroys me.

Goethe: how to reach the infinite

•2009-08-28 • Leave a Comment

Willst du ins Unendliche schreiten, Geh’ nur im Endlichen nach allen Seiten. –Goethe

{If you want to reach the infinite, thoroughly explore every aspect of the finite.}

Schopenhauer on Resignation

•2009-08-26 • Leave a Comment

When the aching heart grieves no more over any particular object, but is oppressed by life as a whole, it withdraws, as it were, into itself. There is here a retreat and gradual extinction of the will, whereby the body, which is the manifestation of the will, is slowly but surely undermined; and the individual experiences a steady dissolution of his bonds, — a quiet presentiment of death. Hence the heart which aches has a secret joy of its own; it is this, I fancy, which the English call “the joy of grief”.

The pain that extends to life as a whole, and loosens our hold on it, is the only pain that is really tragic. That which attaches to particular objects is a will that is broken, but not resigned; it exhibits the struggle and inner contradiction of the will and of life itself; and it is comic, be it never so violent. It is like the pain of the miser at the loss of his hoard. Even though pain of the tragic kind proceeds from a single definite object, it does not remain there; it takes the separate affliction only as a symbol of life as a whole, and transfers it thither.

Arthur Schopenhauer

1896, The Art of Controversy and Other Posthumous Papers, {pp. 67-68}.

Horkheimer on Automata

•2009-08-25 • Leave a Comment

The more intense an individual’s concern with power over things, the more will things dominate him, the more will he lack any genuine individual traits, and the more will his mind be transformed into an automaton of formalized reason.

Max Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason (1947)

Shakespeare (honest trifles)

•2009-08-24 • Leave a Comment

And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,

The instruments of darkness tell us truths,

Win us with honest trifles, to betray us

In deepest consequence.

(Macbeth: Scene I, Act iii)

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