Deep Thought.


Source: Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada, November 8, 1961

Sunday Morning: Perhaps, that is enough.

While not a believer himself, Mr. Ruse harbors a great deal of sympathy for those who find ultimate meaning in the universe and their lives through worship. Taking his cue from his own Quaker upbringing, he argues that three things remain deeply satisfying in life, even if philosophically one ends up on the side of Epicurus and his denial of design: family; a life of service to others; and, not surprisingly for a philosopher, the life of the mind. For many people, there is indeed purpose in each of these, and perhaps, Mr. Ruse suggests, that is enough.

~ John Farrell, from his “Review: To What End is All This?” where Farrell reviews ‘On Purpose’ by Michael Ruse


 

Photo of Dr. Michael Ruse via Strange Notions

but is wary of becoming sated, like one of Aristotle’s dumb grazing animals.

martha-nussbaum

A sixty-nine-year-old professor of law and philosophy at the University of Chicago (with appointments in classics, political science, Southern Asian studies, and the divinity school), Nussbaum has published twenty-four books and five hundred and nine papers and received fifty-seven honorary degrees. In 2014, she became the second woman to give the John Locke Lectures, at Oxford, the most eminent lecture series in philosophy. Last year, she received the Inamori Ethics Prize, an award for ethical leaders who improve the condition of mankind. A few weeks ago, she won five hundred thousand dollars as the recipient of the Kyoto Prize, the most prestigious award offered in fields not eligible for a Nobel, joining a small group of philosophers that includes Karl Popper and Jürgen Habermas. Honors and prizes remind her of potato chips; she enjoys them but is wary of becoming sated, like one of Aristotle’s “dumb grazing animals.” Her conception of a good life requires striving for a difficult goal, and, if she notices herself feeling too satisfied, she begins to feel discontent.

~ Rachel Aviv, The Philosopher of Feelings, Martha Nussbaum’s far-reaching ideas illuminate the often ignored elements of human life—aging, inequality, and emotion. (The New Yorker, July 25, 2016)


Notes:

1) Don’t miss full fascinating profile of Martha Nussbaum in The New Yorker, July 25, 2016

2) If you liked this excerpt, here’s another passage:

Nussbaum left Harvard in 1983, after she was denied tenure, a decision she attributes, in part, to a “venomous dislike of me as a very outspoken woman” and the machinations of a colleague who could “show a good actor how the role of Iago ought to be played.” Glen Bowersock, who was the head of the classics department when Nussbaum was a student, said, “I think she scared people. They couldn’t wrap their minds around this formidably good, extraordinarily articulate woman who was very tall and attractive, openly feminine and stylish, and walked very erect and wore miniskirts—all in one package. They were just frightened.”

3) Martha Nussbaum bio,

4) Photo credit

Lightning. Hit me.

lightning-storm-weather

At times the truth shines so brilliantly that we perceive it as clear as day. Our nature and habit then draw a veil over our perception, and we return to a darkness almost as dense as before. We are like those who, though beholding frequent flashes of lightning, still find themselves in the thickest darkness of the night. On some the lightning flashes in rapid succession, and they seem to be in continuous light, and their night is as clear as the day… By others only once during the whole night is a flash of lightning perceived… There are some to whom the flashes of lightning appear with varying intervals; others are in the condition of men, whose darkness is illumined not by lightning, but by some kind of crystal or similar stone, or other substances that possess the property of shining during the night; and to them even this small amount of light is not continuous, but now it shines and now it vanishes, as if it were “the flame of the rotating sword.” The degrees in the perfection of men vary according to these distinctions.

~ Moses Maimonides, a twelfth-century Jewish philosopher and astronomer in the The Guide for the Perplexed


Credits: Quote – Brainpickings. Photo: Andrew S. Gray (via Madame Scherzo)

This is Now. Wow.


Alan Watts: My goodness, don’t you remember?

[Read more…]

Why are there things that are…rather than nothing?

black-and-white-back-portrait

I pull Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics out of my shoulder bag. This is the tome that opens with the stupefier, “Why are there things that are rather than nothing?” Whatever could have possessed me to lug this baby across the Atlantic to this remote island village? It must have been the inevitable thoughts of mortality that hover over me. Heidegger’s question seems to go beyond the start and stop of an individual life—say, mine— to being itself. What is that all about? I have this nagging suspicion that for the past fifty-odd years I have been dismissing Heidegger’s question as total twaddle without ever really trying it on for size. […]

Perhaps it is impossible to get one’s head around immutable nothingness: the mind just keeps collapsing in on itself. I can only barely get the idea of subtracting everything from the universe. But an eternal nothingness to which nothing could possibly be added escapes me. Maybe the positivists were right, after all: the reason I cannot think about this stuff is because it is utter nonsense. But what’s this? For an instant, I feel something like relief or even gratitude that being is. I even experience tinges of something that feels a wee bit like awe— awe that miraculously being has somehow triumphed over nothing. And that, astonishingly, I have been a part of that triumph: I have had the privilege of participating in being and of being conscious of that fact. And that is it— my yes! moment. It is over in a minute, and it was not even a full yes— more like a shiver of assent.

~ Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life


Notes:

 

Sunday Morning: Eyes closed. Breath stilled.

Bryan Arias

Henry insists that he is not a spiritual man. He says religion is just hocus-pocus. And yet when we go to a symphony concert together— which is usually one with Mahler on the program —and I glance over at him, I often behold on his creased old face an expression of rapture. Henry is clearly elevated to a higher realm— his spirit soars. I have no doubt that in some meaningful sense Henry has left the building. I too listen to music more and more. Throughout my life, music has stirred me more than any other art form, and now, in old age, I find myself listening to it almost every evening, usually alone, for hours at a time. Lying on the couch in the dark, listening to, say, Mahler’s Ninth Symphony or the Fauré Requiem or Puccini’s “E lucevan le stelle” from Tosca, I too sometimes take off for a realm where self-consciousness and my separateness from everything in the universe fall away. I am lost in the stars. Like Henry, I am hesitant to name this a spiritual experience, but at times it feels awfully close to one. Eyes closed, breath stilled, listening to the exquisite melancholy of Cavaradossi’s romanza to Tosca under the stars as he awaits his execution crying out, “Never have I loved life more!” sometimes— just sometimes— I can feel my yearnings made sublime.

~ Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life


Notes:

 

Monday Mantra: Go Deep

thomas-bernhard

“I have, in my life, turned pages a million times more often than I have read them, and always derived from turning pages at least as much pleasure and real intellectual enjoyment as from reading. Surely it is better to read altogether only three pages of a four-hundred-page book a thousand times more thoroughly than the normal reader who reads everything but does not read a single page thoroughly, he said. It is better to read twelve lines of a book with the utmost intensity and thus to penetrate into them to the full, as one might say, rather than read the whole book as the normal reader does, who in the end knows the book he has read no more than an air passenger who knows the landscape he overflies. He does not perceive the contours. Thus all people nowadays read everything and know nothing. I enter into a book and settle in it, neck and crop, you should realize, in one or two pages of a philosophical essay as if I were entering a landscape, a piece of nature, a state organism, a detail of the earth, if you like, in order to penetrate into it entirely and not just with half my strength or half-heartedly, in order to explore it and then, having explored it with all the thoroughness at my disposal, drawing conclusions as to the whole. He who reads everything has understood nothing, he said. It is not necessary to read all of Goethe or all of Kant, it is not necessary to read all of Schopenhauer; a few pages of ‘Werther’, a few pages of ‘Elective Affinities’ and we know more in the end about the two books than if we had read them from beginning to end, which would anyway deprive us of the purest enjoyment.”

— Thomas BernhardOld Masters: A Comedy (University Of Chicago Press, 1992)

[Read more…]

Do what you love? Or do what most needs doing?

work,passion,career,art,writing

A 2012 share titled “Do What You Love” garnered more likes (393) and more views (8,396) than any other post on this blog. My thinking has evolved (you were naive!) since that time with a subsequent share titled: Do What You Love? Wrong! and this NY Times article by Professor Gordon Marino titled Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’:

…But is “do what you love” wisdom or malarkey?

…the “do what you love” ethos so ubiquitous in our culture is in fact elitist because it degrades work that is not done from love. It also ignores the idea that work itself possesses an inherent value, and most importantly, severs the traditional connection between work, talent and duty.

…My father didn’t do what he loved. He labored at a job he detested so that he could send his children to college. Was he just unenlightened and mistaken to put the well-being of others above his own personal interests? It might be argued that his idea of self-fulfillment was taking care of his family, but again, like so many other less than fortunate ones, he hated his work but gritted his teeth and did it well.

…Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can.

Read full article: Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’


Image Source: daiquiri-kisses (modified)

Genís is Genius

Genís Carreras, 27, is a graphic designer and entrepreneur based in London and born in Catalonia.  He is the author of a book titled: Philographics.  His book is all about explaining big ideas in simple shapes, merging the world of philosophy and graphic design. There are ninety-five designs, each depicting a different “–ism” using a unique combination of geometric shapes, colors, and a short definition of the theory. Find his book on Amazon here.  Find his web site here.

Genís is Genius. Period.

Philographics-optimism

pessimism

See more below:

[Read more…]

I knew him to be wrong. We all had them once.

black and white, photography,parent

“At five, I had the intuitive, instinctive faith that my cosmos, my family and the world were good and true and beautiful. That somehow I had always been and always would be. And I knew in a way of a five-year-old that I had worth and dignity and individuality. Later, when I read Nietzsche’s statement that these are not given to us by nature but are tasks that we must somehow solve, I knew him to be wrong. We all had them once.”

~ George Sheehan, Running & Being


Notes:


The Third Most Popular Course at Harvard

Michael Puett

“The smallest actions have the most profound ramifications. Confucius, Mencius, and other Chinese philosophers taught that the most mundane actions can have a ripple effect, and Puett urges his students to become more self-aware, to notice how even the most quotidian acts—holding open the door for someone, smiling at the grocery clerk—change the course of the day by affecting how we feel.

That rush of good feeling that comes after a daily run, the inspiring conversation with a good friend, or the momentary flash of anger that arises when someone cuts in front of us in line—what could they have to do with big life matters? Everything, actually. From a Chinese philosophical point of view, these small daily experiences provide us endless opportunities to understand ourselves. When we notice and understand what makes us tick, react, feel joyful or angry, we develop a better sense of who we are that helps us when approaching new situations. Mencius, a late Confucian thinker (4th century B.C.E.), taught that if you cultivate your better nature in these small ways, you can become an extraordinary person with an incredible influence, altering your own life as well as that of those around you, until finally “you can turn the whole world in the palm of your hand.”

~ CHRISTINE GROSS-LOH at The Atlantic: Why Are Hundreds of Harvard Students Studying Ancient Chinese Philosophy?

“Michael Puett, 48, is a professor of Chinese history at Harvard University. Puett’s course Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory has become the third most popular course at Harvard. The only classes with higher enrollment are Intro to Economics and Intro to Computer Science. The second time Puett offered it, in 2007, so many students crowded into the assigned room that they were sitting on the stairs and stage and spilling out into the hallway. Harvard moved the class to Sanders Theater, the biggest venue on campus. [Read more…]

Half way home.

epictetus


Epictetus (AD 55–135) was a Greek sage and philosopher. He was born a slave in present day Turkey, and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece for the rest of his life.   Philosophy, Epictetus taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.  Suffering occurs from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, it is our duty to care for all our fellow men. Those who follow these precepts will achieve happiness and peace of mind.  (Source: Wiki)

Did you ever hear that one where 2 people meet in a room…

William James Quote


Source: pulpinsidefiction.  Quote: William James (1842-1910).  An American philosopher and psychologist who was also trained as a physician. The first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States, James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, while others have labelled him the “Father of American psychology.”

It is soft, so soft, so slow.

float

“I exist. It is soft, so soft, so slow. And light: it seems as though it suspends in the air. It moves.”
~ Jean-Paul Sartre


Jean-Paul Sartre (1905 – 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism, and one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism.
He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature and refused it, saying that he always declined official honors and that “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution”. (Source: wiki)


Credits: Image – thank you Sundog.  Quote – yama-bato

It has an edge. It opens your eyes. Quickens your ears.

James hillman

“Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind’s been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.”

– James Hillman, We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World is Getting Worse


James Hillman (1926 – 2011) was an American psychologist born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He studied at, and then guided studies for, the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, founded a movement toward archetypal psychology and retired into private practice, writing and traveling to lecture, until his death at his home in Thompson, Connecticut on October 27, 2011.  After high school, he studied at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University for two years.  He served in the US Navy Hospital Corps from 1944 to 1946, after which he attended the Sorbonne in Paris, studying English Literature, and Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with a degree in mental and moral science in 1950. In 1970, Hillman became editor of Spring Publications, a publishing company devoted to advancing Archetypal Psychology as well as publishing books on mythology, philosophy and art. His magnum opus, Re-visioning Psychology, was written in 1975 and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. (Source: Wiki)


Source: Image – Circololettori.  Quote: Whiskey River.

I am pleased enough with the surfaces

woman walking barefoot

“I am pleased enough with the surfaces – in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child’s hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover, the silk of a girl’s thigh, the sunlight on the rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind – what else is there? What else do we need?”

– Edward Abbey



5:00 am. And Inspired.

forest, woods, aspen, birch,trees


Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:

Olive @ Olivethepeople with her post titled The Subway Samaritan: “He was crazy. At least I thought so. At least at first. You see…

Tina @ Practical Practice Management with her post titled Who Made an Impact on You. I’ve read similar iterations of this thought but it never seems to get old and always seems to leave me in wonder. “Name three friends who helped you through a difficult time…

Sedone @ Getting Better, Man. with his post titled Giving Happiness a Helping Hand aka Beware the Silent H*. “I’m dedicated to giving happiness a helping hand, although sometimes I want to give it the finger…And don’t miss the short video.

[Read more…]

5:06 am. And Inspired.

Inspired with Nature


Good Wednesday morning.  All of my inspiring posts of the week come from a single source.  Thank you Sandy Sue for pointing me to Peg-o-leg’s Ramblings who has started a series of guest posts called “Should Have Been Freshly Pressed.”  Peg awards the bloggers a “Freshly Pegged Award.”  Here’s some samplings:

Life In The Boomer Lane with her guest post titled Why I’d Rather Be 65 Than 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, or 55I hate that my body moves more slowly than it used to, that when I roll over in bed, my back hurts, that sex is accomplished in mostly one position, that photos of myself scare me, that I can no longer run up and down the stairs or sit in a pretzel position on the floor or reach way under the bed to grab something. I hate that reaching way down into the crib to pick up my grandson must be planned like a military operation . I hate that my memory fails at the oddest times, that I am beginning to lose a grip on pop culture, that I think a lot about being home in bed with a book when I am out in the evening. I hate that people in charge can look younger than my children…” Great post.  Read more here.’

Misty @ Misty’s Laws with her guest post titled The Last Straw…To My Heart. “I have an admirer.  I am being wooed on a daily basis.  I see him almost every day and he gives me what I so desperately need.  He satisfies my cravings and soothes the beast within.  He gives me the ability to face the day.  He provides me with the fix that I need before I can function every morning.  He is . . . the drive-thru guy at my Dunkin Donuts...” Read more here. [Read more…]

4:26 am. And Inspired.

baby, cute, inspiring, emotional, photography


Good Wednesday morning.  Here’s my selection of inspiring posts of the week.

  1. Thank you Megan @ Make Something Mondays for her post More Than Photographs where she shares the photo above and a collection of similar inspiring shots.  See more here
  2. Russ Towne @ A Grateful Man with his post: There is Greatness in Goodness.   ” I just flashed back to a scene in the movie where a man with many flaws who has wanted his whole life to be great and failed over and over again finally does something that is indeed great. The woman he is with says something to him that is profound. It went something like this: Yes, you were great. “But you were also something much better than that…Read more here.
  3. Julie @ jmgoyder with her post Gutsy9’s Growth: I look forward to each post (pictures and updates) on G9’s development.  G9 is a orphaned baby peacock which Julie has adopted.  And there has been an exciting new development.  “But guess what? I think he might…Read more here.
  4. Renplus @ for her post titled Cocoon Breaks Open. “The enormity of Monday’s layoff didn’t sink in until yesterday, and I allowed myself to grieve finally. It needed to happen, and I was proud that I could experience it, release the pain, and move forward. Some beautiful things that I never expected really touched me, though…” Read more here. [Read more…]
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