Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 791839 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Haffner

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #860 on: January 08, 2008, 01:44:23 AM »
Also, as an aside:

Doesn't the existence of many different gods (polytheism) offer a more plausible account than monotheism of the presence of evil and confusion in the world ?




Maybe. You might consider the monotheism of Mazdaism, where Ahura Mazda is God and the devil is his shadow. Forgive me if that's WAY oversimplified.

Kullervo

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #861 on: January 08, 2008, 07:10:29 PM »
Rereading the Odyssey. It's been about 7 years since I studied it in school.

Scratch that, I'm actually reading Bulfinch's Mythology. I feel a bit silly I haven't read this already.

Offline Lethevich

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9758
  • I spilled my drink!
  • Currently Listening to:
    Rihm, Bialas, Ballif, Schumann, Schubert
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #862 on: January 10, 2008, 09:23:14 AM »


I like to read pseudo-science every now and again for fun, and this book disappointed less than most. Check some of the chapter titles:

1. How Ancient is Humanity?
2. Problems with Evolution
3. Could 'Extinct' Creatures Still Exist
4. Living Dinosaurs


Chapter 1, fair game, this is a subject of great debate. 2, ditto, to a lesser extent. 3, even fairer. 4, err... At first I thought this was referring to sharks or crocodiles in some way, but no. This section was accompanied by an "artists rendition" of a small African pygmy standing next to an elephant-sized diplodocus. It goes on:

5. The Mysteries of Human Evolution
6. Suppressed Facts Concerning Ancient Mankind
7. Where Did Our Civilization Come from?
8. The Story of Atlantis


5, yes. 6, OK, but you'd better back this stuff up... 7, yes, an interesting subject. 8, WTF???

I love the way he manages to mix borderline rational theories with this batshit insane stuff, so as entertainment, the book was very good. His reasoning is so puzzling that it calls his mental condition into question. He alternates between wanting to "prove" his theories by scientific means - eg mentioning the specific layers of rock items were found in - to going off on insanely elaborate leaps of faith on the basis that a few Africans claim to have seen a dinosaur, or somebody claims to have been reincarnated from another person, and their depiction of the early person's life has "a ring of truth to it", etc.

It actually did provide a few interesting points, which - if he did not outright lie about them - I am going to research from more credible sources. So it was interesting as well as funny.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 09:25:51 AM by Lethe »
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Kullervo

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #863 on: January 10, 2008, 02:17:02 PM »
Nice to see you back, Lethe. :)

Offline Lethevich

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9758
  • I spilled my drink!
  • Currently Listening to:
    Rihm, Bialas, Ballif, Schumann, Schubert
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #864 on: January 10, 2008, 02:28:27 PM »
Nice to see you back, Lethe. :)

Danke, hehe :D I was convinced to visit my significant others parents in France so decided to make a holiday of it, visiting various cathedral towns.
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

M forever

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #865 on: January 10, 2008, 03:37:58 PM »
Scratch that, I'm actually reading Bulfinch's Mythology. I feel a bit silly I haven't read this already.

I am very interested in Mythology, but I have never read that book. Can you say more about it?

Haffner

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #866 on: January 10, 2008, 03:47:28 PM »
This is my 6th reading of this Classic (admittedly, it's only the 3rd time I clicked with it entirely). This is one of those books you will be completely frustrated with your first couple of times reading it. However, once it clicks, it clicks in a most fascinating, profound way. You'll never look at things (literally, LOOK) in the same way again.

M forever

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #867 on: January 10, 2008, 04:00:54 PM »
Yes, Hegel can be very hard to understand. Have you tried the comic book version?

Haffner

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #868 on: January 10, 2008, 04:03:08 PM »
Yes, Hegel can be very hard to understand. Have you tried the comic book version?




Dude, I wrote it.

Kullervo

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #869 on: January 10, 2008, 04:20:22 PM »
I am very interested in Mythology, but I have never read that book. Can you say more about it?

Well, I'm not even through the first section, The Age of Fable, and already a lot of allusions I found in other literature that eluded me (elusive allusions ;D) make sense. It is very useful if you're interested in literature from the first half of the 19th Century and earlier, or even mythology in general.

Kullervo

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #870 on: January 10, 2008, 04:21:37 PM »
This is my 6th reading of this Classic (admittedly, it's only the 3rd time I clicked with it entirely). This is one of those books you will be completely frustrated with your first couple of times reading it. However, once it clicks, it clicks in a most fascinating, profound way. You'll never look at things (literally, LOOK) in the same way again.

Schopenhauer and Nietzsche (and Kierkegaard) are pretty dismissive of Hegel. Should I bother?

Haffner

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #871 on: January 10, 2008, 04:29:07 PM »
Schopenhauer and Nietzsche (and Kierkegaard) are pretty dismissive of Hegel. Should I bother?




I'm pretty dismissive of Schopenhauer, Heidegger, and Kant. Read Hegel before any of them.  Since you already read Nietzsche and Kierkegaard (my two favorites) I suggest reading Sartre and Husserl as well.

Scriptavolant

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #872 on: January 10, 2008, 04:30:16 PM »
Yes, Hegel can be very hard to understand. Have you tried the comic book version?

In my view, or in the view of the philosophical viewpoint I prefer, that's not a merit. I mean, you can be hard to understand because you're dealing with hard concepts, or because you're just messing up things with words instead, basically stretching their meaning far beyond the logical boundary of intelligible discourse. And I'm quite certain this is the case of Herr Hegel.
When I went to high school I really admired Hegel and bought the abovementioned work with a separate text which was a guide to the understanding of the work. But I quite soon had the feeling that Hegel was builiding his philosophy on an usage of words and concepts which had very little to do with the real world. Too idealistic, too abstract, too fanciful. Later I've found out that this feeling of mine wasn't so weird, and that some of the following generations of philosopher had thought basically the same.

There's a caustic but I think realistic review of Hegel in a nutshell in Karl Popper "The open society and its enemies". I couldn't find an english excerpt of the critic Popper adresses to Hegel, but I recommend it of course.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 04:32:41 PM by Scriptavolant »

Kullervo

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #873 on: January 10, 2008, 04:36:07 PM »



I'm pretty dismissive of Schopenhauer, Heidegger, and Kant. Read Hegel before any of them.  Since you already read Nietzsche and Kierkegaard (my two favorites) I suggest reading Sartre and Husserl as well.

I don't think I've read enough of either. Just Beyond Good and evil, Zarathustra, Twilight and Antichrist from Nietzsche, and Fear and Trembling and Either/Or from Kierkegaard. Is there anything else I should read?

Haffner

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #874 on: January 10, 2008, 04:38:39 PM »
In my view, or in the view of the philosophical viewpoint I prefer, that's not a merit. I mean, you can be hard to understand because you're dealing with hard concepts, or because you're just messing up things with words instead, basically stretching their meaning far beyond the logical boundary of intelligible discourse. And I'm quite certain this is the case of Herr Hegel.
When I went to high school I really admired Hegel and bought the abovementioned work with a separate text which was a guide to the understanding of the work. But I quite soon had the feeling that Hegel was builiding his philosophy on an usage of words and concepts which had very little to do with the real world. Too idealistic, too abstract, too fanciful. Later I've found out that this feeling of mine wasn't so weird, and that some of the following generations of philosopher had thought basically the same.

There's a caustic but I think realistic review of Hegel in a nutshell in Karl Popper "The open society and its enemies". I couldn't find an english excerpt of the critic Popper adresses to Hegel, but I recommend it of course.




Hegel's mind was unbelievably expansive, and he meant his writings to be an accurate projection of such.

Your friends gave up on the book. Read it again. Start with the Contrite Consciousness. Read it with Monasticism in mind. Then read it with the Enlightenment in mind. Then read it with Psychoanalysis in mind. Try any number of viewpoints, and you'll begin to see the monumentality of the work.

I certainly don't begrudge anyone whom has a difficult time with Hegel. But your friends quit. If you quit again, please realize that you're telling yourself reasons why you quit. The Phenomenology of Spirit was a massive, positive influence on Phenomenology and Organic philosophy as a whole. It birthed Existentialism. Check it out again.

M forever

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #875 on: January 10, 2008, 04:39:56 PM »
It is very useful if you're interested in literature from the first half of the 19th Century and earlier, or even mythology in general.

I am not really aware of any literature from the 19th century that would qualify as mythology. Mythology is usually "pretty old stuff" and rarely literature as such, but something based in folk tales or other very old traditions.

Kullervo

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #876 on: January 10, 2008, 04:41:34 PM »
I am not really aware of any literature from the 19th century that would qualify as mythology. Mythology is usually "pretty old stuff" and rarely literature as such, but something based in folk tales or other very old traditions.

Haha. Maybe I should have clarified that it would be useful if you're interested in 19th Century literature since they so often make reference to mythology.

Scriptavolant

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #877 on: January 10, 2008, 04:46:53 PM »
I've found the excerpt I mentioned.

In order to give the reader an immediate glimpse of Hegel’s Platonizing worship of the state, I shall quote a few passages, even before I begin the analysis of his historicist philosophy. These passages show that Hegel’s radical collectivism depends as much on Plato as it depends on Frederick William III, king of Prussia in the critical period during and after the French Revolution. Their doctrine is that the state is everything, and the individual nothing; for he owes everything to the state, his physical as well as his spiritual existence. This is the message of Plato, of Frederick
William’s Prussianism, and of Hegel. ‘The Universal is to be found in the State’, Hegel writes8. ‘The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth ... We must therefore worship the State as the manifestation of the Divine on Earth, and consider that if it is difficult to comprehend Nature, it is infinitely harder to grasp the Essence of the State ... The State is the march of God through the world ... The State must be comprehended as an organism ... To the complete State belongs, essentially, consciousness and thought. The State knows what it wills ... The State is real; and .. true reality is necessary. What is real is eternally necessary ... The State .. exists for its own sake ... The State is the actually existing, realized moral life.’ This selection of utterances may suffice to show Hegel’s Platonism and his insistence upon the absolute moral authority of the state, which overrules all personal morality, all conscience. It is, of course, a bombastic and hysterical Platonism, but this only makes more obvious the fact that it links Platonism with modern totalitarianism. One could ask whether by these services and by his influence upon history, Hegel has not proved his genius. I do not think this question very important, since it is only part of our romanticism that we think so much in terms of ‘genius’; and apart from that, I do not believe that success proves anything, or that history is our judge9; these tenets are rather part of Hegelianism. But as far as Hegel is concerned, I do not even think that he was talented. He is an indigestible writer. As even his most ardent apologists must admit10, his style is ‘unquestionably scandalous’. And as far as the content of his writing is concerned, he is supreme only in his outstanding lack of originality. There is nothing in Hegel’s writing that has not been said better before him. There is nothing in his apologetic method that is not borrowed from his apologetic forerunners11. But he devoted these borrowed thoughts and methods with singleness of purpose, though without a trace of brilliancy, to one aim: to fight against the open society, and thus to serve his employer, Frederick William of Prussia. Hegel’s confusion and debasement of reason is partly necessary as a means to this end, partly a more accidental but very natural expression of his state of mind. And the whole story of Hegel would indeed not be worth relating, were it not for its more sinister consequences, which show how easily a clown may be a ‘maker of history’. The tragicomedy of the rise of German Idealism, in spite of the hideous crimes to which it has led, resembles a comic opera much more than anything else; and these beginnings may help to explain why it is so hard to decide of its latter-day heroes whether they have escaped from the stage of Wagner’s Grand Teutonic Operas or from Offenbach’s farces.


From Karl Popper, The Open Society and its enemies
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 04:51:49 PM by Scriptavolant »

Scriptavolant

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #878 on: January 10, 2008, 04:58:11 PM »
[..] positive influence on Phenomenology and Organic philosophy as a whole. It birthed Existentialism. Check it out again.

Yes, as I've said Hegel was a good start for me. I didn't quit. We had several lessons on his philosophy. But as I entered Wittgenstein's door, the way back was definitely closed and I'd consider it a waste of time now. This is my experience, but you have yours which is obviously different.

Haffner

  • Guest
Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #879 on: January 11, 2008, 06:06:46 AM »
Yes, as I've said Hegel was a good start for me. I didn't quit. We had several lessons on his philosophy. But as I entered Wittgenstein's door, the way back was definitely closed and I'd consider it a waste of time now. This is my experience, but you have yours which is obviously different.





Oh yeah, Wittgenstein! "Philosophical Investigations"! Fascinating book.

 I see your point, and I commend your study materials. Eccelente!