Like a good mythology, the village boy needs an elder to guide him through the initiation into manhood. The classics have given us these village elders; the shoulders of giants on which to stand upon. These elders have gifted us with an ontological foundation filtered through the lens of reality. So with this ontological foundation we can spot patterns. And by spotting patterns we have the tools for interacting in a complex world.

  • Homer
  • Lao Tzu
  • Seneca
  • Lucretius
  • Sun Tzu
  • Epictetus
  • Thucydides
  • Aeschylus
  • Aristotle

Then, there are historical figures who act as amplifiers for the words of time. Through their words of wisdom the great ideas of antiquity continue to echo through the halls of history. The small few of these figures generate new concepts and ideas, and through their dialectical engine of destruction and creation so goes evolution.

  • The Legend of Musashi
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Edith Hamilton
  • Will Durant
  • Karl Popper
  • Montaigne
  • Alan Turing
  • Zen Master Ikkyū
  • Zen Master Dōgen Zenji
  • Zen Master Takuan Sōhō
  • Kurt Gödel
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • Bruce Lee
  • Carl G. Jung
  • B.H. Liddel Hart
  • Joseph Campbell

Which leads us to modernity. Some of these people have made a deep and meaningful impact on my life. Some write about a wide variety of topics and I regularly learn from them. Some of their ideas may fall on deaf ears while others will grow stronger with time. Through which individuals will we continue to sing the song of Hermes? Only time can tell.

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Hermes delivers the infant Dionysus. Detail from an Athenian white-ground clay vase, about 440 BC. Displayed in Rome, Vatican Museums (165860). Image taken from Classical Art Research Centre.