Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 1)

Photo credit: @eruchdah

Why should you know history? It tells you how we got where we are today. Why we believe what we believe, why we do what we do. By learning about the past you can also avoid repeating it’s mistakes —- and it’s f***ing fascinating!

This book is ambitious in scope, the series (11 volumes) even more so; trying to summarize the history of civilization itself. This first book alone is 1184 pages. One of many reason to make break this book down to several micro reviews!

My focus for this year will be Ancient Greece, but first I want to read up on the history leading up to it.

The first part of the book talks about the economical, political, mental and moral elements needed for the establishment of civilization.


📝 “I do not have to think. I have plenty of meat”. Not planning for more than today in primitive life had its advantages. When planning for the future you pave the way for property and greed.

📝 Communism appears most commonly in the beginning of civilization. In times of dearth. Fear of starvation fuses the individual into the group. The dream Communism lurks in every modern society as a memory of a simpler and more equal life. “We remember its equality but forget the poverty!”

📝 About taxes: “It was better to pay bribe to one magnificent robber than to bribe them all.”

📝 Women not bearing children are shamed by men in societies that rely on high birth rates to compensate for high death rates.

📝 In primitive society delay between desire and fulfillment is not very long and therefore there is not need to idealize passion.

📝 “Where food is dear, life is cheap.”

📝 In simple days, men married for cheap labour and regular meals.

📝 Is it good to be a virgin or not upon marriage? What is shameful is totally dictated by culture.

📝 “Civilization is not imperishable. It must be required anew by each generation.”

📝 “Magic becomes science.” Magicians needed to give the supernatural a push by using natural means. Stuff that works for real.. 👩‍🔬

Photo credit: @cinefile_25


I’m excited to be a student of history again. The world I see everyday makes more and more sense after each chapter I read. 👨‍🎓

5/5

Thoughts on: “At the Existentialists Café” by Sarah Bakewell

Time for a small break from the Top- 10 countdown before it reaches its crescendo. 😎

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This became my first encounter with the modern existentialists thanks to a recommendation by @inside_brians_brain . In this book we get to know Sartre and de Beauvoir primarily – but also Camus, Heidegger, Merleau Ponty to name a few! And we are taken on a journey where we get to familiarize with their concerns about being human, freedom and above all; authenticity.

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📝 Remnants of existentialist ideas in modern culture: “The vague longing for a more “real” way of living leads some people for example to sign up for weekend retreats in which their smartphones are taken away, like toys from children, so that they can spend two days walking in the country landscape and reconnect to each other and their forgotten selfs.” Did I mention that I wished for a “silent retreat” for Christmas?! 🤣

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📝 Phenomenology:

A philosophy of describing reality in detail, exactly how it’s experienced in the moment. An example of phenomenology in action would be wine tasting.

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📝 Sartre wrote a lot. Averaging 20 pages a day during his lifetime.

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📝 Sartre gave money away as fast as it came – and books after he read them. The only things he kept was his pipe and his pen. ”Nothing was to be kept in place of the money. Just memories.”

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📝 About the pre-war rise of the nazis: ”Sometimes the most educated people where the least inclined to take the nazis seriously, dismissing them as too absurd to last.”

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The books is complex and so are the persons it portrays. It was slow to hone me in – but now I’m excited to learn more! I’m already committing to further studies of the existentialists and to embrace the density of existence, it’s anxiety and contingencies.

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4/5

“At the Existentialists Café” by Sarah Bakewell

Photo credit: @punkass_bookjockeys on Instagram

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Frozen balls, New Book and the Run of my Life


It was freezing, raining and windy but it was my last opportunity for a long run before Kullamannen 25k. So I took it!

The biggest hurdle was not the weather, though, it was finding clothes to protect me from it. I’m moving houses this weekend and finding anything among all the boxes is almost impossible.

I found what I assessed to be the bare minimum clothing-wise for 2.5 hour run and then I was on my way!

I also treated myself with a new audio book“Apollo 8: The thrilling story of the first Mission to the Moon” by Jeffrey Kluger – to accompany me in the trail.


After 7k I notice I was freezing my balls off, literarily. My packages was colder than a piece of space debris in shade.

I’d know I had to abort the mission if this problem was not adressed. I was less than a third into the run and continuing would mean this cold might turn into real damage.

 

I proceeded to orbit the lake I was running around, like a satellite, when I got the splendid idea to sacrificing my hat to isolate my boxers. Temperature started to stabilize and the mission was saved. And I got really confused looks from passing people that tried to figure out if I was really well hung or if I had a really bad tumor growth.

 


All in all, Good run though!

New Audiobook for my morning run!

Preparing for my race in November with a 21k morning run. It went fairly well except that it rained the whole time. I did see two row deer as a bonus, though!

Accompanying me on this adventure was a new book I got from audible – “Apollo 8” by Jeffery Kluger – and it’s going to be super interesting to learn some more space race history. 


What are you reading this weekend?