There's a cave, and then there are philosopher kings and all the poets have been exiled because they are seriously dangerous to society. What else do...moreThere's a cave, and then there are philosopher kings and all the poets have been exiled because they are seriously dangerous to society. What else do you really need to know or to make you feel like you should be king if you're an undergrad philosophy major?(less)
"We've got rules and maps and guns in our backs but we still can't just behave ourselves even if to save our own lives, so says I, we are a brutal kin...more"We've got rules and maps and guns in our backs but we still can't just behave ourselves even if to save our own lives, so says I, we are a brutal kind.
Cause this is nothing like we'd ever dreamt tell Sir Thomas More we've got another failed attempt cause if it makes them money they might just give you life this time." (less)
Note: What follows is convoluted. It only sort of makes sense to me when I read it, but it made much more sense in my head as I wrote this.
"Blue skie...moreNote: What follows is convoluted. It only sort of makes sense to me when I read it, but it made much more sense in my head as I wrote this.
"Blue skies make us sadder than gray skies because they offer us hope which we do not have the courage to entertain." For this line alone this book is worth five stars. Finally someone else who understands the anxiety of spring (not a rational anxiety for someone who also awaits the warm nice days of spring). Actually I could keep quoting great lines from the book, many of which I jealously wished I had thought of first. This book is meditation on the role of tears and saints (especially women) and their relation to the world and God. Well that's kind of what some of the book is about. The book is written mostly in epigrams, a la Nietzsche; and even though there are some disparaging remarks made about Freddy in the book, the whole work reads a lot like Nietzsche. Also like Nietzsche it's very easy to miss the point of what Cioran is trying to make. "Heaven irritates me. In it's Christian guise, it drives me to despair." The book is filled with little gems like this. Heaven, God and despair mix around, and as the book moves on the saints begin to become mentioned less and the authors own relation with God begins to take center stage. But what exactly his relation with God is can be very difficult to figure out. He's a believer who seems to not want to believe. He's a skeptic who feels the need to passionately believe. He's a solipist who wants to duke it out with God - mano y mano. He's also a romantic who finds the proof of God's existence in the music of Bach. "Had we thought about it a little, we could have made God happy. But now we have abandoned him, and he is lonelier than at the beginning of the world." Tears and Saints works best as a meditation on ones personal relationship with God. And it does this in a way that's especially wonderful in the current climate of vogue Atheism and maniacal Evangelicalism. I don't know about other people, but I have no interest in live in the world of Daniel Dennett (having not read his book I'm really in no position to say this, but I like to hold fast to my semi-educated opinions, and having read some of Dennett's (I might be misspelling his name, but oh well), books I have a good feeling that the man is a dullard, and one of many examples of just what is wrong with professional philosophers (this too is covered in this book, and by Nietzsche), especially those of the Anglo / American variety), and I also don't want to live in the death obsessed end times drooling co-dependent world of the born-agains. Between these two camps there can be a happy middle of moderate believers, and they are fine and good upstanding people, or you can look at the person who finds happiness to be a disease and melancholy a normal state and that is the person who is seen in this book. My review is not doing justice to this book. It's fucking beautiful, that's the best I can say about it. It's a book for people who would identify with the Outsider talked about by Colin Wilson - and a book that I would like to think would be a great thing for people to read in our spiritually retarded times (I mean this nicely of course, I mean when you get the uneducated in two camps warring over science neither of them really know much about but only the party line of the side they are on, then you know that we are doing good (in case if you have actually read this far and don't understand where these little asides come from, I'll state that I don't like organized religion, or blind belief, be it about God or Science, and furthermore I've read my Adorno well enough to make me very mistrustful of science, or practical reason, not that I don't believe what science says, I do believe in evolution and gravity, but looking at the world 'scientifically' robs the world of everything good in it and basically leaves all that is shit and calls it progress (so says I typing on my computer and posting to the internet)). So as I was saying it would be great for people to read this book, but I don't think people would get it and find themselves lost in the idea that conflicting ideas can hold sway and rage in a person and it's only in the space opened up between the conflict, the void, nothingness, Lacan's Real, that the truth, or what is important, or what really matters, or maybe just reality, or maybe if it's your fancy God actually resides and hides itself from any direct attempt to access it. But maybe it's in this space of inner and metaphysical conflict lies something important that can't be easily put into words. "Children scare me. Their eyes contain too many promises of unhappiness."(less)
The Outsider is great. Much of the book are things that any serious reader will say the very not so serious comment of 'duh' to, and there is the sens...moreThe Outsider is great. Much of the book are things that any serious reader will say the very not so serious comment of 'duh' to, and there is the sense of 'preaching to the converted' (although there is no preaching here), but that's ok with me since a good portion of my life has been being submersed in subcultures that preach to the converted believing that their words just might be able to transcend the actual audience to an audience that needs to hear the message (for the record I just thought this now at 11:22 AM on Sunday January 20th, 2008, and I wish I had thought it sometime ten years ago to counter a lukewarm review I had received from MRR for the eighth issue of my zine. A review that had accused me of preaching to the converted.). But anyway, this book could only have been produced by an 'outsider' himself. Someone standing on the edges of popular and academic writing, but not entrenched in either camp at all. The basis for this book is that historically there are people who feel like they don't belong to the world around them. They feel like there should be something more to life. But not just a disdain for 'commoners', but more acutely a problem in themselves in relation to the world around them and how to live in that world. To get at what exactly this problem is Wilson looks at many examples, both literary and biographically to try to pinpoint what exactly the mindset of the outsider is and to discover a common thread between them. He gives a wide array of examples, actually it's an amazing amount of examples he goes into with a fair amount of exposition, especially for a book that runs only 288 pages. He looks at real people like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Van Gogh, William Blake, and T.E. Lawrence (to name a few), and sets them alongside literary creations like Dostoesky's major characters, Sartre's man who almost loses his lunch looking at a beer glass, Camus' Arab shooting vessel of emptiness, among other lesser well known (to me at least) examples of fictional outsiders. For me reading these examples and Wilson's insight's made the book. They also made me hate Wilson at times, since at 22 years old is better read then I am at 33, and that he was able to come up with all of this while I was writing silly rants in punk zines. I'm very envious. But anyway I'm going all over the place with this review. This book is very interesting material for people who do find themselves in the precious position of 'outsiders' to society. Along with studying examples of different types of these people, Wilson is more interested in seeing what kind of solution there is for the outsider to 'win'. Winning in a situation like this is a tricky concept though, because as the reader soon learns most of the people studied don't win, they don't find a way out of the conflict between the world and themselves. Even literary characters don't find a way out of this problem in successful manners. And why is this? Why can't great novelists who know of the problem, and probably feel like outsiders themselves write their characters to be 'winners'? This is the basis of the book. And Wilson finds at least the semblance of a solution towards the end of his book, but along the way shows the disaster of living that awaits people with this particular mindset. Nietzsche's insanity. Siddhartha's bad faith escapism. T.E. Lawrence's mental suicide. I'm noticing my character count running out quickly, so I can't go into the solution, but for me at least it was a very interesting one. This is one of those books that personally I felt was written for me, and then placed out there to be found at the right time. If I had read this book ten years ago it wouldn't have meant as much to me as it does now. I don't think it's for everyone though, and I'm not sure what someone would think of this book who the book isn't for, they would probably find it tedious and maybe vaguely interesting, but see nothing special. (less)
Yet another collection of Sartre that can be found in other books. There was a time that I'd read anything Sartre wrote, even re-read a book I'd alrea...moreYet another collection of Sartre that can be found in other books. There was a time that I'd read anything Sartre wrote, even re-read a book I'd already read as long as the title was different.(less)
I didn't like reading this. It made reading the butt-ton of Aristotle I had to read every week seem enjoyable, but not because it illuminated anything...moreI didn't like reading this. It made reading the butt-ton of Aristotle I had to read every week seem enjoyable, but not because it illuminated anything for me.(less)
Being and Nothingness lite. Sections from the magnum opus of his early philosophy along with a passage from Anti-Semite and the Jew, something called...moreBeing and Nothingness lite. Sections from the magnum opus of his early philosophy along with a passage from Anti-Semite and the Jew, something called the Psychology of Imagination (never heard of it except for here, probably it has a better title translation), and Nausea. THe kind of book you find in thrift stores and used bookstores from a time when philosophy books were produced for general consumption. (less)
The best eighty eight cents and hour I could have spent. An impassioned tract that Karl Marx wasn't just a Satanist but pretty much the Dark Prince hi...moreThe best eighty eight cents and hour I could have spent. An impassioned tract that Karl Marx wasn't just a Satanist but pretty much the Dark Prince himself. Great stuff.(less)