All posts tagged: philosophy

Manfred – Lord Byron

”Manfred” is one of my go-to-books – dramatic poem, as Lord Byron calls it. I love “Manfred” on so many levels. First of all, I recommend everyone to read “Manfred” aloud. The language and rhythm are beautiful. Reading aloud is an almost musical experience. Just as an example: “We are the fools of time and terror: Days Steal on us and steal from us; yet we live, Loathing our life, and dreading still to die.” (lines 258-260) I also recommend “Manfred” to those who lose their breath when they study a classical reading list and instantly get Intellectualitis. “Manfred” is short, dramatic, and still profound. Every time I’ve read “Manfred”, I get something different from it in terms of themes, but before I go there, let me tell you about Manfred. Manfred is a nobleman, living in a Bavarian castle high in the Alps. He is haunted by the death of his love, Astarte, and the reader gets the sense that their relationship and her death are somehow untoward. Manfred is the original Byronic hero, …

Considering Criticism

”The covers of this book are too far apart.” The quotation is attributed to Ambrose Bierce, although there is some dispute about this. Notwithstanding, it is a poignant quotation that leads me to consider criticism and its different faces. Talking about – or criticizing – books, art, movies, food is huge part of promoting the product and regardless of whether you are a professional critic or just voicing your opinion at the water cooler, criticizing something plays an important role in making up our own opinion, presenting ourselves and our values, and gaining position in a group. However, Mama always said, that if you cannot say something nice, then you should keep your mouth shut. Mama has a point, but apparently, she does not visit the water cooler, the social media, or listens to news coverage in general. You are supposed to have an opinion about everything. Let me reiterate that. About. Every. Thing. Can you hear Mama patting my hand, saying: “Yes dear” and meaning, that does not mean that you have to have …

Reading life

I am a life optimist. I sincerely believe that I am on a magnificent journey leading…. I don’t know where. My companions are my loved ones and the myriad of books, I carry with me either in bulk or in memory. I don’t know where I would be if it had not been for the many, many paths, I have tried through books. I have walked through the streets of New York with Typhoid Mary by my side. I have been re-educated in a tiny village on a huge mountain near the Tibetan border. I have seen vampires, murderers, and answered to Henry VIII for my actions. My life isn’t a fairy tale, but it is a good story, whether or not it is ever written down. The same goes for every person I have encountered if they dare to open up and share their chapters. A delicious part of my life are the books I read – and without them, I would be less happy and my life would be smaller; the horizon would …

Thomas Aquinas

Not any one is granted sainthood, but Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was one of the few. He was a prolific writer – and more importantly a prolific think, who in some ways became the starting point of modern philosophy. Thomas was a younger son of lower Italian nobility and a religious career was always the plan, but he thwarted his family’s intentions, when he chose to join the newly founded Dominican Order. Thomas is remembered as the classical proponent of natural theology and was an influential philosopher and theologian. He concerned himself a number of subjects, including ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. Thomas argued a co-existence of philosophy and the Catholic faith – and in doing so was quite revolutionary. I know Thomas best from his political theory. Thomas believed that man – as a social being – lives in a society and interacts with others. A form of societal contract is made. Thomas also viewed kings as God’s representatives in their respective territories. The pope of course higher in order in matters of …