Nov 30, 2015

Monday Morning Quote - Montaigne and Shakespeare's Philosophy

Monday Morning Quote - Montaigne and Shakespeare's Philosophy
 
Truth for us nowadays is not what is, but what others can be brought to accept.

This aphorism comes from the famous Montaigne, a significant figure in the philosophy of the French Renaissance in the 1500s. This statement is a criticism of the economical view of truth that we still see in advertising, politics, and really anywhere there is an incentive to spin the truth in one's favour.

This man invented the concept of the essay, so I guess I have him to thank for my lack of a nightlife. He's also an important figure to understand if you want to investigate the philosophical backbone of the works of Shakespeare. Many of the concepts Shakespeare worked on have their origins in Montaigne, a figure scholars typically agree Shakespeare read.

For a more enlightened reading on that connection I would recommend Colin McGinn's 2006 book Shakespeare's Philosophy. An important element is Montaigne's unwillingness to accept a teleological view of causation - which then allows bad things to happen to good people and visa-versa.

Nov 23, 2015

Monday Morning Quote - Gerald Burill's Aphorism

Monday Morning Quote - Gerald Burill's Aphorism 

"The difference between a rut and a grave is the depth"

This famous aphorism comes from Gerald Burill, a once Episcopal Bishop of Chicago. I think it warns that laziness and negativity is habit-forming.

This also serves as an excellent example of the aphorism form - a brief, witty statement that shows a truth (or opinion) of the world. A snap-shot of one's philosophical world view.

I could say more, but I'll let an aphorism be an aphorism.

Nov 16, 2015

Monday Morning Quote - Da Buddha

As the Buddha once said,

"The wind cannot shake a mountain. Neither praise nor blame moves the wise man. Happiness or sorrow - whatever befalls you, walk on untouched, unattached."

I guess the Buddha placed emphasis on the element of suffering that comes from our own thoughts - usually negative thinking, but also being misled by unfounded positivity.

The Buddha practiced non-attachment - not going so far as to renounce all material items (as Seneca, the Stoic, did when he renounced attachment to his own child) - but rather a distancing between you and your thoughts. Non-attachment means having the ability to maintain faith in the self when faced with a loss of a certain status (to be blamed), such as losing out on a job promotion, or having an especially terrible job interview.

Self-esteem is a positive reflection of the self. This is something that needs to be cultivated to the point of solidity. My self-esteem needs to be based on something external to worldly praise and blame. I shouldn't hate on myself for having a shitty car -  I also shouldn't love myself for having a nice car.

Musing in Lake Country,
Andrew Edwards, Jan 2016

Nov 10, 2015

Monday Morning Quotes (Xenophanes)

But if one wins a victory by swiftness of foot, or in the pentathlon, where the grove of Zeus lies by Pisas' stream at Olympia, or as a wrestler, or in painful boxing or in that severe contest called the pancration, he would be more glorious in the eyes of the citizens, he would win a front seat at assemblies, and would be entertained by the city at the public table, and he would receive a gift which would be a keepsake for him. If he won by means of horses he would get all these things although he did not deserve them, as I deserve them, for our wisdom is better than the strength of men or of horses. This is indeed a very wrong custom, nor is it right to prefer strength to excellent wisdom. For if there should be in the city a man good at boxing, or in the pentathlon, or in wrestling, or in swiftness of foot, which is honoured more than strength (among the contests men enter into at the games), the city would not on that account be any better governed. Small joy would it be to any city in this case if a citizen conquers at the games on the banks of the Pisas, for this does not fill with wealth its secret chambers. 

Xenophanes

Somethings never change.