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Old 06-05-2010, 02:55 PM   #7
WT Sharpe
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Thanks for this thread, FlorenceArt! This should be both enjoyable and edifying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlorenceArt View Post
Hi All,

This thread is to discuss anything related to philosophy, and of course especially books: what you are reading, what you have read, what you'd like to read, what you think about them, what you like or hate about them...
The book I'm currently reading is The Antichrist by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. It's part of a larger work, The Portable Nietzsche which I read probably 30 years ago, but am now revisiting.

The Antichrist is probably Nietzsche's most sustained attack on Christianity in all of his writings; not that he was ever shy about it in any of them. As a non-believer, the problem I have with Nietzsche is not his antipathy for Christianity; but that he denigrates everything I feel to be of worth about that religious tradition. Where he criticizes the excesses and questionable metaphysics of Christianity, I feel we are on the same page, but when he attacks the notions of charity and offering support to the weak and helpless, I can't help but recoil. He calls Christianity a weak feminine religion; a slave's religion that stands against everything that is born of strength, virtue, and nobility.

I wonder. I have read (but can't offer a ready source) that among his neighbors he was know as "The Saint." Is it possible that his hard and often harsh words served as a shield against a tender heart?

Having the well-deserved reputation of being one of the most quotable of philosophers, his prose is at once accessible and profound. One wit called him, "King of the One-Liners."

As for his philosophy, I believe it has been largely misunderstood and ill-served by political types who sang his praises, but his notion that helping the weak is a crime against nature because it tends to weaken the species seems repulsive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlorenceArt View Post
This week I started reading "On The Shortness of Life" by Seneca. And suddenly I wondered why. Here I was, standing in a hot and crowded train, with my e-reader in one hand, reading the advice of a guy who lived 2000 years ago and presumably never had to lift a finger to earn a living, living as he probably did out of inherited farmland tended by slaves. What can this guy possibly offer me? Advice on how to get out of the politics of the Roman Senate to retire and think about life?
To my shame, I have not read Seneca, but I have read an English translation of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and find it amazing how stoicism managed to capture the imagination of people from emperors to those born into slavery like Epictetus.

The stoic philosophy would be well-worth discussing.
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