Les philosophes et l’amour: aimer de Socrate à Simone de Beauvoir

415KCP6i5lL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Mon type de livre préféré; vies et oeuvres des grands hommes et femmes et leur opinions sur un sujet compliqué…et quoi de plus compliqué que l’amour!

Devrait-on idéaliser l’amour comme disait Socrates, ou le tuer préventivement avec d’hédonisme exsessif comme Lucretius proposait? Devrait-on préserver le bonheur grec ancien d’une ataraxie stoicienne ou céder à l’instabilité d’éros?

La vie personelle de Montaigne m’a absolument surpris (Montaigne le Don Juan!), de Rousseau aussi, son inconsistance entre sa vie et ses oeuvres (et quelle misogynie!)

L’histoire de Kierkegaard j’ai trouvé tragique…il est mort seul, toujours aimant la fille qu’il avait lui même refusé. Il a décidé de sacrifier son amour pour sa philosophie, sa philosophie qu’on peut lire aujourd’hui. Amour vs immortalité, il a choisi ce dernier et il l’a payé profondément. Pitié ou respect?

Nietzsche m’a fait plaisir (naturellement!), l’amour humain comme Carmen de Bizet et l’éros comme une force primitive, une force dont il a aussi été victime quand il a rencontré Lou Salomé.

Kant, Schopenaeuer, Heidegger etc, chaque philosophe avait son propre point de vue.

En bref, j’ai vraiment aimé ce livre, beaucoup d’informations et opinions intéressantes sur la vie, l’amour, l’éros. Je préférerais si il finirait avec une sorte d’epilogue (au lieu de Sartre & Beauvoir qui est le dernier chapitre) mais je suppose que…comme la vie et l’amour on ne peut pas tout avoir!

The Schopenhauer Cure

Schopenhauer_Cure_lowresI got hooked on the Schopenhauer parts of the book.

Actually I caught myself reading fastly the rest, longing for the next aphorism or biographical information and yes, smirking each time Philip’s talk (impersonation of the philosopher) would disturb and…schopen-shock the naivety of the psychotherapy group.

Raw, piercing intellectual power against expected pleasantries.

The Birth of Tragedy

568047The Birth of Tragedy: Some great insights amid complex writing and thoughts. Prepare to spend quite some time on it, I guess it is a must read if you are really interested in ancient greek tragedy.

The Case of Wagner? Delightful! Especially for people who try, but can’t get to like Wagner (me!)

An angry and sarcastic Nietzsche attacks Wagner’s “sickness”, focusing on his operatic themes and characters (“a pathological gallery!”) with the occasional misogyny, anti-christian and anti-populism touches. Exaggerating but witty.
Fantastic!

Walking

henry_david_thoreauAfter a one day Walden reading marathon (a full day of Thoreau-ian seclusion in the house!), I can say Walking was a disappointment. I could not find equally lyrical descriptions of nature, I could not feel the “joys and necessities of long afternoon walks”. I was not moved…

Reading Walden and you imagine being alone in that forest next to the lake, you imagine walking and seeing the plants, you hear the sound of birds, you learn to distinguish the species of fish visible through the clear waters. The author describes in moving detail even a territory war of ants: several pages of ruthlessness ensue but also heroism and self-sacrifice compared only to the noblest of heroes. The scene ends when our lone survivor, wounded, staggers… and falls off the window ledge, unrenowned.

:-O

How much meaning can be found even in such small happenings in nature, how much meaning goes unnoticed every day? One only has to look for it. I got a fresh appreciation for the small things, I loved all those descriptions of plant and animal behaviours, it all made me admire wildlife and anticipate next time I ll happen to be in a forest or park. I will be more aware, this is sure.

This is the spirit I was longing to find in Walking, and this I didn’t find. It was not bad, but it was more general and philosophical and thus not as exciting.

Unpopular Essays

182354Fearless against past “authorities” (Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Marx etc) Russel uses logic and observation against nonsense philosophy, religion, superstitions, xenophobia, misogyny and other dogmatic beliefs of his time.

It’s unfortunate that his same logic led him to believe that the human race would most likely go extinct because of nuclear weapons…but well, it was cold war, that ending was more logical than not!

His essays about philosophy and ideas were my favorite part of the book (what is and why we need philosophy) and especially “Philosophy for Laymen” (how to think logically, judge views with unemotional honesty, don’t be victim of populism, get rid of dogma).

If only Russel was alive today.

All in all, it’s an easy to read book and also quite entertaining and eye-opening especially when reading about old beliefs and prejudices that nowadays seem completely far-fetched! (“An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish”)

Atlas Shrugged

atlas-shrugged-sg-amazonI live in Greece. Just finished the book. Could not have been a better time. I think it describes perfectly a big part of the greek problem…

Some similarities that i couldn’t help but notice:

Public sector is big and the most corrupt in Europe according to indexes. Caters for its “own people”, with old and established businesses having political connections that struggle newcomers. Only under the recent EU supervision many such scandals came to light.

Even in those harsh economic times, increase in taxation is preferred instead of layoffs of public servants. During those 2 years of economic depression there was not even one layoff from the public sector (it is constitutionally forbidden too)

Years of populism and left party domination established an ideology that demonizes private entrepreneurship and businesses. I challenge you to ask any greek which is considered worst. Being labeled communist or being labeled “capitalist” or neoliberal.

Tip1: being labeled anarchist is better than both.
Tip2: Greece is one of a few countries in the whole world(and the only one in Europe) where a Stalinist totalitarian party exists (the same as North Korea’s). And not only exists but it also gets around 8% on every election
Tip3: There is and never was a liberal party represented in the parliament. Ever.

State is controlling even how many taxi drivers, pharmacy shop owners etc can exist in a certain neighbourhood. In order to hinder competition and guaranty profit for those already in business – state controlled licences are valued 100.000-200.000euros just to be able to get your own taxi driver licence for instance. EU tried to enforce liberalization in the drug stores market recently and all pharmacy owners came on strike along the lines “if anyone is able to open any store he likes, anywhere, then what will become of the already existing ones?” Reminds you something? Next step i guess is an anti-Dog-eat-Dog regulation as Ayn Rand imagined…

In Atlas Shrugged there was an intentional strike of business minds to destroy and save the country. In Greece i m afraid there will be an unintentional and unwilling hunger-strike of those same business minds as no one will be able to create and keep a business any longer.