Category Archives: History

Greek “Emotions”

Print PDF  There is a great exhibition of art at the Onassis Foundation in New York, which I highly recommend.  Here is the link to it, and here is the link to my review of it for the Kosmos Society … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Greek “Emotions”

Athena and “Creative Mercy”

Print PDF  Athena, goddess of Wisdom, serves in both the Odyssey and in the Oresteia to bring “creative mercy”¹ to situations that otherwise would perpetuate blood feuds.  Vendettas–“an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”– are the normal … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Athena and “Creative Mercy”

Criticism vs. Discrimination

Print PDF  Both words are derived from the Greek krisis ‘decision,’ from krinein ‘decide.’  Events or circumstances are coming to a head, which implies a choice, having options. Criticism is a choice between good and bad, ranking or rating.  Criticism … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Criticism vs. Discrimination

The “Agon” Spectrum

Print PDF  The word agon (ἀγών) in Greek means “gathering, assembly, coming together.”  The question of “coming together for what purpose?” is not inherent–it could be for cooperating on new laws, as indicated by its variation agora, combating each other … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on The “Agon” Spectrum

Simone Weil and Homer

Print PDF  You might be interested in an essay I wrote about Weil’s The Iliad, or the Poem of Force. Here’s a link to her whole essay if you haven’t read it, which I’d recommend of course. A shoutout to … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Simone Weil and Homer

Emerson’s Legacy

Print PDF  A version of a talk I gave recently at the School of Practical Philosophy in New York on the influence Emerson had on three people in the next generation.  Read more.

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Emerson’s Legacy

How Are You Feeling?

Print PDF  How to know whether a particular choice or opinion is correct–that is, in keeping with the Ideal?  I have for some time recommended to people that they develop a sense of observing the feeling that accompanies it.  If … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on How Are You Feeling?

The Hierarchy of Law

Print PDF  I’ve written before on the existence of hierarchies, but here I would like to take it a step further.  Much is made of the “differing beliefs” of religious systems, but at their core all religions affirm a belief … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on The Hierarchy of Law

We Are Not Amused

Print PDF  This saying, attributed to Queen Victoria, is perhaps more meaningful than we know.  Although dictionaries dispute it, it seems one could see an etymology for amuse that means a=”not” + muse=”muse.”  “Without a muse.”  This is what happens … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on We Are Not Amused

Judgment of Paris/Garden of Eden

Print PDF  I’ve written before on the myth of “The Judgment of Paris.”  Here is the main quote: Briefly it is this: a wedding celebration for Peleus and Thetis is attended by all the gods and Very Important Mortals except … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Judgment of Paris/Garden of Eden

Denton J. Snider

Print PDF  I am pretty safe in assuming that this name is not familiar to you, although it should be. For me, it’s one of the great things about the internet that old books and authors can be given new … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Denton J. Snider

Suitors of the Mind

Print PDF  The word “suitor” today has a very archaic aura to it, rather like the “gentleman caller” of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie (1945), old-fashioned even then.  It recalls a time of ritualized dating behaviors when young ladies received … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Suitors of the Mind

Apocalypso

Print PDF  In one of the CHS discussions on the Odyssey, Gregory Nagy makes an interesting point about the name Calypso (or Καλυψώ), about 40 minutes in.  We moderns tend to associate the word with Caribbean music (“Harry Belafonte with … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Apocalypso

Odysseus v. Agamemnon

Print PDF  One of the undercurrents or subthemes of The Odyssey is the story of the return of Agamemnon from Troy and his (spoiler alert!) subsequent murder by his wife Clytemnestra, urged on by her lover Aegisthus, who happens to … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality | Comments Off on Odysseus v. Agamemnon

More on “The Odyssey”

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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

Learn the language!

Print PDF  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, … Continue reading

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

Iliad v. Odyssey

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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

It’s All Greek to Me

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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

Twice Born Again

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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

The Republic of You

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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

Circum-scribes

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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

Daemons and Suitors

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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

Pay Attention!?

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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

A Quote about Ficino

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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

Wilde’s “De Profundis”

Print PDF  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 … Continue reading

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