Thoughts on: ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ by Friedrich Nietzsche

A Birth of Tragedy in 7 Steps:

▪️Nietzsche is 24 y/o when he become professor in philology.

▪️In 1872 he writes his first great book on dramatic theory; The Birth of Tragedy.

▪️He found an art form in the classic Athenian Tragedy that transcended the nihilism and horror of a meaningless world.

▪️What he found was an opposition between Dionysian and Apollonian forces; Chaos, Intoxication, Music vs. Order, Self-control and Sculpture.

▪️The Tragedy balanced these forces and allowed the spectator to experience in fullness the human condition.

◾️The end of Tragedy came with Socrates, through Euripides, Who Nietzsche thought ruined the Dionysian/Apollonian balance in Tragedy with reason and logic.

◾️ Nietzsche found new hope in Wagners music as a way to re-establish the balance between the Dionysian and Apollonian in modern art; a possible rebirth of tragedy.


📝 Beautiful works of art compensates for the horror of existence.

📝 Aectestic Arrest: Freedom from the Will in experiencing a great work of art. The only time except Nirvana or Samadhi where man can be free from the Will. (Schopenhauer)

📝 Is dancing and shouting in a drunken madness to “Killing in the name of” a form of modern Dionysiac phenomena? 🧐🤔


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I’ve gotten through a book that is ‘out of my league’ and came out on the other side with new-found confidence in my ability to read philosophy straight from the sources.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I got a lot value from this book, both as an introduction to Nietzsche, and to the concept Dionysian/Apollonian opposition. But If you’re unsure if you could stand 129 pages of analysis of Ancient Greek theatre and art theory then you think you should pass on this one.

4/5

Share some philosophy book recommendations on the comments! ‼️

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How to Nietzsche?

“The struggle of maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play.” – Friedrich Nietzsche


Every time Nietzsche is referenced in books I pay extra attention because I know it’s likely that something utterly profound and insightful is being offered.

He intrigues me, but I’m pretty much oblivious about his work and life.

Where and how do I get started on studying Nietzsche? What your relationship to this man and his work? 🤔

I need your help here! 🙂

Are You Taking Part in the Reoccurring Ancient Pattern of Judging the Younger Generation?

When we get into midlife we tend to start judging the younger generation.

“When we judge in this way, we are not aware that we are reacting according to a pattern that has existed for at least 3000 years. There is an inscription in a Babylonian clay tablet that dated from around 1000 BC that reads, “Today’s youth is rotten, evil, godless and lazy. It will never be what youth used to be, and it will never be able to preserve our culture.””Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature, Chapter: Seize the Historical Moment.)

Something is bubbling under the surface. Maybe there is repressed envy of their youthful energy or mourning of the loss of our own? 😉

What are your resentments towards the younger(or older) generation of today? 🤔

Anyway, Look out for my reviews of The Laws of Human Nature and Give People Money later this week!

Thoughts On: ‘On the Shortness of life’ by Seneca

A brief essay on the the duration of life. And about why most people think it’s too short, when it’s actually long enough to if the time is used properly.

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Seneca is a stoic philosopher (4. BC – 65 AD. I won’t go into into much detail about what a stoicism is, since there will be a lot other opportunities to dwell into that in upcoming post (judging from what I’m reading right now). With a risk of oversimplifying, I like how Nassim Taleb put it: “A stoic is a Buddhist with attitude, one that says “fuck you” to faith”

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“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficient measure to allow us to achieve the greatest things, if the whole of it is well invested…” “…we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”

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So, how do people waste their life? By gossiping, overindulgence in food and sex, living life for others (work a job you hate), complaining, etc.

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Also worrying about the future or letting the past disturb ones tranquility. Then, when we find out that these things are unimportant, we only have a few years left to live and wonder where all the time has gone.

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“He who has grey hair has not lived for long, he has existed for long.”

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Being written 2000 years ago, it’s amazing how almost all these thoughts are applicable to contemporary society. ———————————–

My takeaway from this book is to be more protective of my time and be wise in how I spend it. A sad thing would be to spend your life doing things you dislike with a promise of leisure and freedom in the future. Wasting each day as it comes for a future that one are is certain to live to see.

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

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My Favorite Philosophy Books of Last Year

I did a “favorites of 2016” last year on my instagram and I thought it would be a good addtion to my blog. Good book recommendations are always relevant, right? The list for 2017 is coming soon butthese books sure are worthy gifts for loved ones this holiday season!

Favorite Books of 2016 – Philosophy

My Pick:

“A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” by William B. Irvine

Excellent introduction to stoicism, it’s history and how to apply it in a modern context. One of my favorite books of all time. My reading this year has been heavily skewed towards stoic philosophy but I’m planning to broaden my horizons next year. 😜

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RUNNERS UP:

 

Read the full list with all it’s categories here!

Thoughts on: “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind”

zenmindbeginnersmind

I feel like some book are meant to be studied rather just being read. There are some book that I decided not to review for this reason. Reading them ones just don’t do the trick, usually this is the case with esoteric writings like today’s book.
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So I read the book two more times after finishing it. Not because the book was fantastic in any way but to see if there was any value in repeating the information. Maybe it would reveal new insights?
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It kinda worked! like peeling an union – each round exposed a new layer of understanding and more concepts made sense. Unfortunately re-reading didn’t turn it in to a “must read” recommendation. 😜
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📝 When you are a beginner it’s easy to learn. The challenge is to keep this mindset – the beginners mind – when you get to an advanced level.
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📝 “Real calmness should be found in activity itself. We say: it’s easy to have calmness in inactivity. It’s hard to have calmness in activity. Calmness in activity is true calmness.”
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📝 Zazen: “If you continue to this simple practice everyday you will attain a wonderful power. before you attain it it’s something wonderful but after you attain it it’s nothing special.”
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It’s a cool book about Zen practice and you should probably pick it up if you are into meditation and feel like you need some inspiration to spice things up. ———————
Which books did I end up not writing reviews for, you ask? So far it’s “Power vs. Force” and “The Kybalion”. Did you ever run into books where you not sure how you feel about them? 🤔
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3/5

 

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