Saturday's summery idyll then gave way to yesterday's authentic autumn wet and chill. Baked the season's first apple pie, and downed another cider. Time to drain the pool, I'll miss it dearly but I'm tired of dragging leaves. Must continually recall Santayana's sound advice to enjoy each season in turn.
I think I've finally nailed down the reading list for next semester's Atheism & Philosophy course. How do you find meaning in a material world, Owen Flanagan? Simple: appreciate the pie & cider! We have the universe for it, haven't we Carl? Besides Flanagan's "really hard problem" and Sagan's Gifford lectures we'll tackle Hitch's Mortality, Rosenberg's Reality, and Grayling's Good Book.
Today in CoPhi, reports on Boethius, Seneca, Pascal, and Galileo.
Contrary to the Highlanders' stated intent on Thursday, they succeeded by failing to reduce the philosophers to absurdity. Even Pyrrho made his points. Seneca laid on the weltschmerz a bit thicker than necessary, but consistently with his tragic-farcical fate. "Sometimes even to live is an act of courage," for true.
Seneca also said:
True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing.
The happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast - a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things .
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
There is no easy way from the earth to the stars. (Ad astra per aspera.)
Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.
Life is like a play: it's not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.
Fate leads the willing and drags along the reluctant.
Ignorance is the cause of fear.Boethius had a big fan in the late, troubled, neglected novelist John Kennedy Toole. His Boethius-inspired Philosopher-Slob Ignatius J. Reilly said
you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age. Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books. I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he's found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman. Confederacy of DuncesThere you go, 16/1.
Boethius himself said:
Balance out the good things and the bad that have happened in your life and you will have to acknowledge that you are still way ahead. You are unhappy because you have lost those things in which you took pleasure? But you can also take comfort in the likelihood that what is now making you miserable will also pass away.Blaise Pascal said:
The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.
All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.And
I would prefer an intelligent hell to a stupid paradise.But that's not how he wagered.
Galileo got, and gets, the last word. Hitch summarizes its great significance.
We owe a huge debt to Galileo for emancipating us all from the stupid belief in an Earth-centered or man-centered (let alone God-centered) system. He quite literally taught us our place and allowed us to go on to make extraordinary advances in knowledge.Eppur si muove. Ad astra per aspera. Pass the apple pie, please.