Author Archives: dabeardsley

More on “The Odyssey”

  In the last post I listed the sources I’m using to help with my idiosyncratic translation of The Odyssey, and there’s another tool that is proving to be quite useful.  The Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard, in the … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on More on “The Odyssey”

Learn the language!

  A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I was trying to learn Homeric Greek so I could read the Odyssey.  The course I was taking with the nice folks at the Center for Hellenic Studies was great, but … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Learn the language!

Iliad v. Odyssey

  I forget now where I first heard this pointed out, but in keeping with the warlike theme of the Iliad the gatherings in it are almost all about war and planning destruction of the enemy–even if the enemy is … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Iliad v. Odyssey

It’s All Greek to Me

  Some time ago I made a resolution to read the Odyssey in Homeric Greek.  The few glimpses I’d had through translations of the levels of meaning, the resonances of the language that just don’t translate made me want to … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on It’s All Greek to Me

The Journey Back to Where You’ve Been (sic)

  The title of my book on the Odyssey really encapsulates the dilemma in describing a spiritual journey.  The word “journey” implies a movement from point A to point B, which as humans we tend to take literally.  But as … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on The Journey Back to Where You’ve Been (sic)

Delightful

  It occurred to me to write, “My work is to delight the Ideal.”  But then I thought about the word “delight,” which would seem to mean “to darken,” to de-light.  But it does not, especially one would hope when … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Delightful

Twice Born Again

  Given that this is Holy Week in the Christian tradition, it seemed like an appropriate time to look at some of the other instances of the idea of re-birth, of being born again.  It is of course almost a … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Twice Born Again

The Republic of You

  In episodes 4, 5, and 6, we have already looked at the key arguments that Plato proposes in The Republic to show the special nature of the Ideal, insofar as it can be shown.  As he argues, knowledge of … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on The Republic of You

Circum-scribes

  One of the emerging themes–perhaps the emerging theme–from the presidential campaign is who will be circumscribing whom; that is, how great will be the limitations placed on whoever loses.  One side is very clear about wanting to restrict the … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Circum-scribes

If life gives you lemons….

  I’ve always been a little annoyed by this expression: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  Anyone who’s ever made lemonade knows you need at least an equal amount of sugar.  But then I realized that while you may … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on If life gives you lemons….

Adjectives and Nouns, Part 2.

  I try to keep this blog free from contemporary influences, preferring to concentrate on those which are timeless.  But there is so much attention given to diversity now–and by process of elimination to its opposite: uniformity*–that I thought I’d … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Adjectives and Nouns, Part 2.

Daemons and Suitors

  Another of the common traits in religions/spiritual systems is the presence of what I’ll call daemons, disembodied forces that seem to do battle using us as their battleground.  For all practical purposes, it doesn’t really matter whether we call … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Daemons and Suitors

Norman Lewis

  This morning I was taken by some friends to an exhibit of works by the American artist Norman Lewis (1909-1979) at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art.  I had vaguely heard of him before and may have seen reproductions … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Norman Lewis

Pay Attention!?

  One of the great crimes of the modern age (by which I mean since around the time of the Renaissance) is the “professionalizing” of philosophy.  It has, often among people with the best of intentions, become a purely academic … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Pay Attention!?

A Man of Constant Sorrow

  Recent posts have started me thinking about sorrow and its purpose in human life, especially in the spiritual quest.  It may seem a strange topic to consider in relation to the Ideal, in the presence of which we know … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on A Man of Constant Sorrow

A Quote about Ficino

  Ficino was fascinated by Plato and tried to imitate him in almost all respects. He made his estate in the Florentine countryside like that of Plato’s near Athens. The stone pines at Montevecchio were intended to play the role … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on A Quote about Ficino

Seeking

  Some will seek the limelight; I will seek the sublime light.

Posted in Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Seeking

Wilde’s “De Profundis”

  A couple of posts ago I wrote a comparison of Emerson and Oscar Wilde and their takes on what constituted sin: “limitation” for Waldo, “stupidity” for Oscar.  At that time I speculated about whether the experience of being in … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Wilde’s “De Profundis”

Adjectives and nouns

  Are we confusing the two?  Are we thinking we “are” our descriptors?  Is it a ring of gold or gold in the shape of a ring?  Am I a white male or a human with light skin and penis?  … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Adjectives and nouns

What am I?

  What am I?  This is said to be “the master question of the philosopher.”  It’s also a category of riddles which is the closest most people get to thinking about the question.  But in a very real sense, it … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on What am I?

Spirituality and the “Iliad”

  In contrast to the Odyssey, for me there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of spiritual significance in the Iliad, unless you count degrees of conflict and division as significant.  As I pointed out in my book … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Spirituality and the “Iliad”

Sin: Stupidity or Limitation? Discuss.

For Wilde, our nostos is to return to the world of beauty, the love of which he reminds us is what Plato called the true aim of education. “Good” art is what brings us closer to that timeless world, expands our view, stirs our better feelings, and brings us to a state (from stasis) of “doing nothing.” It will bring us to a condition of stillness. Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Sin: Stupidity or Limitation? Discuss.

The Odyssey: A Dramatic Retelling of Homer’s Epic, by Simon Armitage

  Another bargain-table find, this book was developed as a radio script and read on the BBC (where else??) in the summer of 2004.  (Note: the link takes you to the BBC page, but the play doesn’t seem to be … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on The Odyssey: A Dramatic Retelling of Homer’s Epic, by Simon Armitage

Fear Not

  Some time ago it occurred to me that if the “terrorists” who perpetrated the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11/01 wanted to maintain the fear, it wouldn’t be that hard.  They could easily walk onto a PATH train–a kind … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Fear Not

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese, by Patrick Leigh Fermor.

  Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese, by Patrick Leigh Fermor. New York Review Books 1958 When my wife handed me this book from a bargain table at a nearby bookstore, I admit I hadn’t heard of Fermor (1915-2011), but … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese, by Patrick Leigh Fermor.