Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 765964 times)

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Haffner

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #740 on: November 28, 2007, 02:29:12 PM »
     Why? So I can subject myself to argument by abuse? I can get that here.

     Anyone who thinks this is philosophical argument is seriously confused about philosophy and what constitutes rational discourse.

     If you want a heroic rebel as a writer hero, there's Camus. He wasn't a philosopher either, but he was a fine writer and touched on philosophical themes about freedom and responsibility.

     




He loves the Analytical, bless ya! Camus is pretty damn terrific, I agree with you there. Might I also whole-heartedly reccomend Mrrs. Dostoevsky and Kafka as well?

Online drogulus

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #741 on: November 28, 2007, 02:54:59 PM »


     

 Might I also whole-heartedly reccomend Mrrs. Dostoevsky and Kafka as well?

    Certainly. I would recommend The Idiot.

    Writers don't have to be philosophers. They are phenomenologists, they tell you how things are for them, not how things are. If they are any good, how things are for them might be how things are for you, too. Or they convince you for awhile that this might be true.
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Haffner

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #742 on: November 28, 2007, 03:03:03 PM »

     
    Certainly. I would recommend The Idiot.

    Writers don't have to be philosophers. They are phenomenologists, they tell you how things are for them, not how things are. If they are any good, how things are for them might be how things are for you, too. Or they convince you for awhile that this might be true.



Great point, and The Idiot is my favorite Dostoevsky.


Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #743 on: November 29, 2007, 12:18:49 AM »
As to your quotes, you are quoting a man whom was terribly sickly and half blind through his whole life. The best biographical sources say that he probably only had sex once, and that ended up driving him crazy, completely blind, and ultimately killing him. Of course a person like that would have to give a huge amount of lip service to a "Superman"...wouldn't he?

Precisely. From the point of view of a healthy and balanced life he was the very embodiment of "the botched and the weak" he held in so much contempt. I would venture to say that it was basically self-hate that inspired him. And the irony of it all is that in a world built entirely on his own ideas he would have been among the first to be annihilated, as it happened daily in Sparta, for instance. Moreover, in Thus spake Zarathustra he states explicitly that the ideas of the sick and the disabled are not as good as those of the healthy and the vigorous --- and in so doing he condemns himself.


I don't consider myself a Nietzschean. That was something I was for most of my life, and I ended up bitter and lonely. Just like him.

I still profoundly admire his work.

When I was a teenager I adored him. But then, fortunately,  I realized the terrible danger that lurks in his ideas --- precisely that bitterness and loneliness you experienced yourself --- and abandoned them. I think some of his writings should bear a warning: "Taking this book too seriously can gravely damage  your mental and physical health".

For me the ultimate test for a thinker --- I deliberately avoid the term philosopher  --- and especially for a social thinker such as Nietzsche is this: would I want to live in a world organized according to his principles? In the case of Nietzsche, my answer is a resounding NO!

That being said, I understand and respect your admiration for him and I haven't the slightest intention to try to diminish it. Actually, I apologize for this intrusion but a Roman Catholic who admires Nietzsche is not something one encounters often. (And guess what: I'm an Orthodox who admires Pascal, Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer... ) :)
I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts. --- Rachmaninoff

Haffner

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #744 on: November 29, 2007, 04:53:48 AM »
Precisely. From the point of view of a healthy and balanced life he was the very embodiment of "the botched and the weak" he held in so much contempt. I would venture to say that it was basically self-hate that inspired him. And the irony of it all is that in a world built entirely on his own ideas he would have been among the first to be annihilated, as it happened daily in Sparta, for instance. Moreover, in Thus spake Zarathustra he states explicitly that the ideas of the sick and the disabled are not as good as those of the healthy and the vigorous --- and in so doing he condemns himself.

Exactly, all the more reason to take what he writes cum grano salis.

When I was a teenager I adored him. But then, fortunately,  I realized the terrible danger that lurks in his ideas --- precisely that bitterness and loneliness you experienced yourself --- and abandoned them. I think some of his writings should bear a warning: "Taking this book too seriously can gravely damage  your mental and physical health".

You said it! And perfectly.



For me the ultimate test for a thinker --- I deliberately avoid the term philosopher  --- and especially for a social thinker such as Nietzsche is this: would I want to live in a world organized according to his principles? In the case of Nietzsche, my answer is a resounding NO!

That being said, I understand and respect your admiration for him and I haven't the slightest intention to try to diminish it. Actually, I apologize for this intrusion but a Roman Catholic who admires Nietzsche is not something one encounters often. (And guess what: I'm an Orthodox who admires Pascal, Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer... ) :)".

You're not intruding at all, friend. I agree with you.

On a side note, I realize that this is naive of me, but I pray that our two religions will someday soon make the connection.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #745 on: November 29, 2007, 05:26:25 AM »
I realize that this is naive of me, but I pray that our two religions will someday soon make the connection.

Ut unum sint. Amen to that!

Back on topic.

I'm currently reading "The Middle Ages and the Birth of Europe" by Jacques le Goff. To be followed by "Historically correct" and "Intellectual terrorism", both by Jean Sevillia, a sort of rara avis: French, Roman Catholic, conservative and proud of it.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2007, 07:45:05 AM by Florestan »
I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts. --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Brewski

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #746 on: November 29, 2007, 08:25:33 AM »
Finally got a copy of Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise, and very much looking forward to it.  I've read excerpts in The New Yorker and elsewhere, and those have been marvelous.  And someone else may have mentioned this, but it's been picked by The New York Times as one of the "Ten Best Books of 2007."  Review here.

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EmpNapoleon

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #747 on: November 29, 2007, 09:30:39 AM »
I realized the terrible danger that lurks in his ideas --- precisely that bitterness and loneliness you experienced yourself --- and abandoned them. I think some of his writings should bear a warning: "Taking this book too seriously can gravely damage  your mental and physical health".

It's funny.  I too have been on a kind of downward spiral after reading Nietzsche.  And though I'm not a teenager (I'm 22), I'm still in the thick of his influence.  Though I won't take heed of your warnings.  I know he is dangerous.  He once said that when you battle monsters, you should be careful not to become one yourself.  That's on you.  I feel good when I read Nietzsche, bottom line.  Philosophy that makes me feel good is hard to come by.  So, I realize that your warnings are sincere, but I'm stubborn and will have to turn on Nietzsche on my own accord, if I ever do.  Perhaps his thoughts were too much for even himself to bear.  He can't be blamed for that.

Haffner

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #748 on: November 29, 2007, 09:35:58 AM »
It's funny.  I too have been on a kind of downward spiral after reading Nietzsche.  And though I'm not a teenager (I'm 22), I'm still in the thick of his influence.  Though I won't take heed of your warnings.  I know he is dangerous.  He once said that when you battle monsters, you should be careful not to become one yourself.  That's on you.  I feel good when I read Nietzsche, bottom line.  Philosophy that makes me feel good is hard to come by.  So, I realize that your warnings are sincere, but I'm stubborn and will have to turn on Nietzsche on my own accord, if I ever do.  Perhaps his thoughts were too much for even himself to bear.  He can't be blamed for that.




Excellent point. I must give credit to Nietzsche for having literally saved my life several times, going back to the age of 13. The greatest philosopher in Western history, and the one with the most relevance today BAR NONE. Just my opinion.

Scriptavolant

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #749 on: November 29, 2007, 06:44:16 PM »
Quote
Anyone who thinks this is philosophical argument is seriously confused about philosophy and what constitutes rational discourse.

What is more harmful than any vice?—Practical sympathy for the botched and the weak—Christianity

[...]the domestic animal, the herd animal, the sick brute-man—the Christian

And Christian is all hatred of the intellect, of pride, of courage, of freedom, of intellectual libertinage; Christian is all hatred of the senses, of joy in the senses, of joy in general....

[...]one had better put on gloves before reading the New Testament. The presence of so much filth makes it very advisable

These quotes cannot give a complete view on Nietzsche's output. I recommend you to read "On the genealogy of morals" to have a full account of Nietzsche's thought about Christianity. It is an historical or empirical- as Rudolf Carnap wrote, and he was yet a completely different kind of philosopher - study on the origin of Christianity and morality. A study which left many questions unanswered.
You cite Bertrand Russell (which is infact one of my favourite if not the favourite philosopher of all), but he seems to be no more gentle than Nietzsche when we come to Christianity.

Quote
You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

From "Why I'm not a Christian".

Nietzsche is nevertheless more of a poet and an artist than a philosopher in the strict sense, that's why he often discard rational, calm arguments.

   

Lilas Pastia

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #750 on: November 29, 2007, 07:00:49 PM »
Corey, what did you think of The Magic Mountain?

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #751 on: November 30, 2007, 01:15:05 AM »
Quote
You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Now that's indeed a rational discourse!  ;D
I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts. --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #752 on: November 30, 2007, 02:05:51 AM »
So, I realize that your warnings are sincere, but I'm stubborn and will have to turn on Nietzsche on my own accord, if I ever do. 

By all means. Life's best lessons are those we learn ourselves, right?  :)
I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts. --- Rachmaninoff

Online drogulus

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #753 on: November 30, 2007, 10:04:04 AM »

You cite Bertrand Russell (which is infact one of my favourite if not the favourite philosopher of all), but he seems to be no more gentle than Nietzsche when we come to Christianity.
 

     This is true, but criticism and abuse are different. The passage you quote, though debateable on its merits, is nevertheless a substantive attack that falls within reasoned discourse. We can and should argue to what extent the various religions have constituted a bar to moral progress, as well as when they have effectively resisted the evil influence of other doctrines. Nietzsche, in the tradition of Martin Luther, wishes to excoriate his opponents and place them beyond the pale of dialogue. You don't dispute with "filth". This has no place in philosophy, though the "continentals" will disagree.
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longears

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #754 on: December 01, 2007, 06:03:31 AM »
I don't recall ever reading the pamphlet (though I might have, as it's the sort of thing I was attracted to as an adolescent) but if this quote from Russell is accurate:
Quote
You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

then it's quite telling, as every single claim is so patently false as to destroy Russell's credibility.  Rather appalling to discover that he had so little intellectual integrity.

Kullervo

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #755 on: December 01, 2007, 06:48:11 PM »
Corey, what did you think of The Magic Mountain?

Sorry I haven't answered already. It's one of those things that takes me several days to mull over, so that such a question would require either an unsatisfactory answer, or no answer at all. Perhaps needless to say it made a deep impression upon me.

Kullervo

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #756 on: December 01, 2007, 07:00:31 PM »


Started this yesterday. It could be easy to label someone whose tastes are as wide-ranging as Ross's as a musical tourist and dilettante (indeed, I have often felt inclined to do so), but his insightful writing refutes this notion utterly.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #757 on: December 02, 2007, 05:12:17 AM »
I don't recall ever reading the pamphlet (though I might have, as it's the sort of thing I was attracted to as an adolescent) but if this quote from Russell is accurate then it's quite telling, as every single claim is so patently false as to destroy Russell's credibility.  Rather appalling to discover that he had so little intellectual integrity.

Moreover, for someone to infer from the fact that he was a very competent mathematician that he was also a very competent historian or philosopher is a gross fallacy. Quite the contrary is true: he might have been a great mathematician, but he either knew next to nothing about history or he deliberately chose to ignore its plain facts --- sheer intellectual dishonesty, as you said.
I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts. --- Rachmaninoff

Scriptavolant

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #758 on: December 02, 2007, 07:42:38 AM »
Your statement seems convincing:

he might have been a great mathematician, but he either knew next to nothing about history or he deliberately chose to ignore its plain facts

Yes, that's why he won the Nobel Prize in Literature  ;D

If I understand well neither of you two has read the book. A good start could be to read it, since Russell provides satisfying historical evidences and arguments supporting his viewpoint. But the last evidence endorsing his view could be as well the last Pope's encyclical "Spe salvi".

Greetings
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 07:45:29 AM by Scriptavolant »

Lilas Pastia

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #759 on: December 02, 2007, 07:57:50 AM »
Sorry I haven't answered already. It's one of those things that takes me several days to mull over, so that such a question would require either an unsatisfactory answer, or no answer at all. Perhaps needless to say it made a deep impression upon me.

True. I like the way Mann mixes in droll humour (the reference to Beethoven's "erotic symphony"), morbid introspection and high drama (like the duel between Settembrini and Naphta). He creates a world from which there is no escape, including for the reader.