On Plutarch and the idea of citizen

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It is not histories I am writing, but lives; and in the most glorious deeds there is not always an indication of virtue or vice, indeed a small thing like a phrase or a jest often makes a greater revelation of a character than battles where thousands die.” ~Plutarch (Life of Alexander/Life of Julius Caesar, Parallel Lives, [tr. E.L. Bowie]) Prologue: Biography Plutarch, (born c. 46 AD, Boeotia [Greece] – died c. 120), biographer, historian, essayist and moralist whose works strongly influenced the development of the essay, the biography, and historical writing in Europe from the 16th to the 19th … Continue reading

On Virgil and the necessity of good language

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It is easy to go down into Hell; night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide; but to climb back again, to retrace one’s steps to the upper air – there’s the rub, the task. ~ Virgil Prologue: Biography Publius Vergilius Maro (October 15, 70 BC – September 21, 19 BC), in English he is usually referred to as Virgil, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan Era (c. 43 BC – 18 AD). His most noted works of Latin literature include the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. There are many minor poems … Continue reading

On Lucretius, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and the nature of life and death

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“Again we are all sprung from a heavenly seed, all have that same Father…” ~ Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, Book II If thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this that disturbs thee, but thy own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgment now. ~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book VIII, 47 Prologue: Biography Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99 BC – c. 55 BC) was a Roman philosopher and poet. His only known work is the epic philosophical poem De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things or On … Continue reading

On Apollonius, Nicomachus and first principles

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Apollonius image of conic sections and the question of orbital motion *N.B.: This essay is based in part on ideas from Great Books of the Western World, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Editor-in-Chief (1952), Vol. 3, chap. 70 – Principle and Vol. 11 – Apollonius of Perga and Nicomachus of Gerasa. “All that has by nature with systematic method been arranged in the universe seems both in part and as a whole to have been determined and ordered in accordance with number… by the domination of number preexistent in the mind of the world-creating God…” ~ Nicomachus of Gerasa, Arithmetic I, Chap. … Continue reading

On Euclid, Archimedes and first principles

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*N.B.: This essay is based in part on ideas from Great Books of the Western World, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Editor-in-Chief (1952), Vol. 3, chap. 70 – Principle and Vol. 11 – Euclid and Archimedes“Give him a coin since he must needs make gain by what he learns.” ~ Euclid Prologue: Biography Euclid (fl. c. 300 B.C.), also called Euclid of Alexandria, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the “Father of Geometry.” He flourished in Alexandria during the rule of Ptolemy I (323–283 BC). His magnum opus, Elements (10 vols.), is one of the most important works in the … Continue reading

On Hippocrates, Galen and the nature of ancient medicine

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*N.B.: This essay is based in part on ideas from Great Books of the Western World, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Editor-in-Chief (1952), Vol. 3, chap. 55 – Medicine and Vol. 10 – Hippocrates and Galen“First do no harm.”~ Aphorism attributed to the Hippocratic Oath“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population [via abortion racism]. And the minister is the man who can straighten out … Continue reading

On Aristotle and the nature of animals and slaves

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*N.B.: This essay is based in part on ideas from Great Books of the Western World, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Editor-in-Chief (1952), Vol. 1, chap. 2 – Animals and Vol. 9 – Aristotle (theoretical works) “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” ~ Proverbs 6:6 “And indeed the use made of slaves and of tame animals is not very different; for both with their bodies minister to the needs of life.” ~ Aristotle, Politics (384-322 B.C.) Prologue to Aristotle’s ideas about animals Most people are aware that Aristotle is part of the legendary pantheon of the … Continue reading

On Aristotle and the idea of judgment

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*N.B.: This essay is based in part on ideas from Great Books of the Western World, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Editor-in-Chief (1952), Vol. 2, chap. 41 – Judgment and Vol. 8 – Aristotle “We don’t do punishment [judgment]…. The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives….” ~ Will Smith (actor) “…I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self…” ~ Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Prologue to Aristotle’s ideas about judgment The idea of “judgment” has a range of values which comprises three principal … Continue reading

America the beautiful… America the racist… America the hypocrite!

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“I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? … Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners that created the league?” “Black people are the Enemy” (including his Black girlfriend) ~ Donald Sterling Prologue: When Arkham Insane Asylum becomes Arkham Nation I am an intellectual. That means I think very deeply about everything I write on, like a philosopher. That makes most people very uncomfortable in reading my work, because my type … Continue reading

On Plato’s Theory of Forms

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*N.B.: This essay is based in part on excerpts from Great Books of the Western World (1952), Vol. 2, chp. 28 – Form and Vol. 7 – Plato Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool. We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. ~ Plato (427-347 B.C.) Prologue to Plato’s Theory of Forms In April, 2011 … Continue reading