There's just too much for me to say about this book. For some of my thoughts about it and about Harris more generally just check out this review and tThere's just too much for me to say about this book. For some of my thoughts about it and about Harris more generally just check out this review and the comments beneath:
This is an extremely sound-bite-ish "scarcely mammalian noise" of a fraction of a sliver of a byproduct of a spark of a blurb regarding this book:
I can’t say enough about Berman’s book, really. He lays out a very interesting and condensed yet comprehensive historical analysis of fascistic movements and the mythology based death-cults that fuel them. He carries this out by drawing from political history and theory (obviously), philosophy, and even literary works and movements such as the brief but effective references to Baudelaire and Camus. The parallels he fleshes out between these types of movements and the deep historical time-lines and conceptual trajectories that they occupy and create are very, very incisively perceptive and striking. Again, I think it’s a great book.
The basic thing that people like Paul Berman, Bernard-Henri Levy, Sam Harris (all left leaning liberals generally) and others have and continue to point out clearly and compellingly is that there is a general trend of delusional thinking on "the left" about the realities of what’s going on around the world and of a tendency to succumb to the pitfalls of selectively applying moral relativism (which is the way it's always applied and is subsequently its initial and key failure) and/or hypocrisy in an often times rather perilous way. The chapter "Wishful Thinking" was especially salient in its focus on these points and took Chomsky to task for many of his egregiously misinformed stances on international affairs.
Here Nietzsche returns to the form of the essay after several complete works largely composed aphoristically. The second essay in the polemic On the GHere Nietzsche returns to the form of the essay after several complete works largely composed aphoristically. The second essay in the polemic On the Geneology of Morals is excellent and my personal favorite of the three essays that comprise this work. He discusses the historical tossings and turnings that have led to weird inversions of moral standards throughout the ages. The ways in which many eggs are often broken to make various omelettes and how the omelettes often turn out much differently than intended. Social psychology at its most fearless and polemicized.
Ecce Homo (tr. "Behold the man!" in reference to Pontius Pilate's presentation of Jesus to the blood thirsty crowd) is interesting as well. Nietzsche gives several short "reviews" of each of his own books written up until that time, some are a bit forgettable, some a bit more interesting. For a good example of official self-critique see his essay ("Attempt at Self-Criticism") about his first book The Birth of Tragedy which can be found in the intro to some copies of the same book.
The rest of this Beholding of the Man consists of four short chapters entitled "Why I Am So Wise", "Why I Am So Clever", "Why I Write Such Good Books", and "Why I Am a Destiny". These are probably best read as something written on the brink of insanity and steeped in deliberate irony and sarcasm--but not completely. I'll just admit that I had a hard time taking much of it all that seriously. For several pages Nietzsche goes on about his ideas concerning nutrition. He also equates drinking alcohol with subscribing to Christianity. It's a bit of a laugh riot from some angles but one that includes a series of doubtful and perplexed moments about from where or why the laughter comes....more
"If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deep"If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things." — Daniel C. Dennett, Breaking the Spell
"Is this Tree of Life* a God one could worship? Pray to? Fear? Probably not. But it did make the ivy twine and the sky so blue, so perhaps the song I love tells a truth after all. The Tree of Life is neither perfect nor infinite in space or time, but it is actual, and if it is not Anselm's "Being greater than which nothing can be conceived," it is surely a being that is greater than anything any of us will ever conceive of in detail worthy of its detail. Is something sacred? Yes, say I with Nietzsche. I could not pray to it, but I can stand in affirmation of its magnificence. This world is sacred." — Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea
An enjoyable read. I remember finding the essay on Nietzsche's relation to Buddhism to stand out a bit as well. This is a great series that CambridgeAn enjoyable read. I remember finding the essay on Nietzsche's relation to Buddhism to stand out a bit as well. This is a great series that Cambridge has been publishing and I intend to read several others namely on Spinoza, Bacon, Hume and Wittgenstein. ...more