Showing all posts tagged #classics:


Wrestling with Life - My Letter to University of Maryland Athletic Director

Posted on April 4th, 2020

This Essay is broken down into two parts. Part I is my thoughts on wrestling as a metaphor for life. Part II is my recent letter to the Director of Athletics for the University of Maryland Terrapins. Part I: Wrestling as a Metaphor for Life.One of my most favorite art pieces is "Jacob Wrestling with the Angel" by Gustave Dore. It’s both simple in its appearance and complex in its meaning — a compression algorithm, of sorts. To live...

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Posted on December 22nd, 2019

Nietzsche’s imagery, allusions, and treatment of questions of love, envy, and humanity. Notes Generalities The giving of alms is an expression of pity. It’s an ugly version. You’re looking at someone and you're saying to that person: "You can’t help yourself and I know that and I feel sorry for you." There is an assertion of superiority that makes the person who is pitied poorer than they were before. You indicate that they are not a...

Shakespeare's King Lear

Posted on June 23rd, 2019

Notes King Lear As a King, acting like a father As a father, acting like a King. Theme: Shadows or ideal? Theme: Is this play pessimistic or optimistic? Theme: Being resigned to fate, but not a fate of action (tragedy) Theme: Ghost of my father. King Lear wanted to not rule but still wanted to be called king. He has a desire for inaction. He is presented with a challenge and does not even want to be alive anymore. So he keeps dimin...

Plato's Symposium

Posted on November 11th, 2018

Socrates and Alcibiades reappear at a party attended by several characters who decide to take turns praising Eros. As the dialogue progresses, we learn there is much more to love, or rather to "eros," than sexual desire, and the characters’ conversation moves on to numerous other topics, including politics, law, and philosophy. ## Notes Symposium is a drinking party were men come together to celebrate. They had celebrated the vict...

Shakespeare's Coriolanus

Posted on November 11th, 2018

The story of Coriolanus, a Roman general, starts with a heroic victory for Rome, but ends with exile, defection to the enemy, and ultimately death. In this tragedy, how do military leaders relate to the civilians they protect? Notes Plebes cause uprising against Senate. Parallels between culture today: Coriolanus associates military virtue with saying what he thinks — reasonable connection to make because if you are a liar then you ...

Aristotle's Politics

Posted on October 28th, 2018

How are this and other "Great Books" relevant to how we live our lives? What is good political rule? What does it mean to be "just" within a political system? What problems can politics solve? What problems can it not solve? Notes Summary Everything around you indoctrinates you. Then, you get vehement in your position and unable to talk about them. Argument does not go back to fundamental principle of things. Push back down to fund...

Hemingway and Ourselves

Posted on October 28th, 2018

Notes A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Theme: Is human life nothing? What is the contrast between youth and old age and the states of being hurried versus unhurried? How are those distinctions related to the question of whether there is a difference between those who need a clean, well-lighted place and those who do not? Hills Like White Elephants Theme: How do human beings confront a crisis? Two people walk into a Spanish bar and hilarit...

Shelley’s Frankenstein and the Ugliness of the Enlightenment

Posted on March 23rd, 2018

"I beheld the wretch – the miserable monster whom I had created." Why did Victor Frankenstein create his monster? What role did beauty, love, science, and education play in his endeavor? Notes Frankenstein did not study liberal arts. Infatuated with science. He sets out to make something. Alchemy: How a thing works is not always what it is. Properties may be hidden. The quest for knowledge is secondary to the quest for Eve. Could it ...

Platos Alcibiades I

Posted on January 23rd, 2018

Alcibiades is one of the most famous figures in military history. He was a successful Athenian general who fled to Athens’ enemy Sparta after being charged with sacrilege. He and Socrates had a very "complicated" relationship. This particular dialogue raises questions about the nature of justice and who is worthy to lead. Notes This dialogue raises questions of justice and who is worthy to lead. Socrates is teaching Alcibiades justi...

Why Read the Classics?

Posted on January 22nd, 2018

Notes Italo Calvino Let us begin with a few suggested definitions. 1) The classics are the books of which we usually hear people say: "I am rereading…" and never "I am reading…." This at least happens among those who consider themselves "very well read." It does not hold good for young people at the age when they first encounter the world, and the classics as a part of that world. The reiterative prefix before the verb "read" may be ...

Plato's Republic

Posted on January 21st, 2018

Notes Plato‘s Republic is a platonic dialogue. The way to read these books is to skim through it and find something that jumps out at you. The great thing about these books is that it is a conversation. The first reading tends to let the book tell you what questions they have; let them tell you and what you should be interested in. When you come back to the book with the wrong questions they will probably tell you answer to those qu...

Sophocles' Ajax

Posted on January 21st, 2018

Sophocles’s Ajax is the story of a great Greek warrior who takes his own life on the beach of Troy. Notes Example: Sophocles’ Ajax Story of a great Greek warrior who takes his own life on the beach of Troy. What is impiety? Ajax doesn’t need help of gods. Is that related? Ajax is near the flank of the coalition camp. This prior idea // relationship // thoughtfulness for Hector. Want be closer to the enemy than his own coalition. In t...

What is the Nature of Man?

Posted on January 21st, 2018

Notes What is the nature of man? Man is about conflict and cooperation. We can explore the nature of man in conflict and in cooperation through the great books. The military should have liberal arts education. Commanding and obeying commands are heavily involved in human nature; it is what motivates human beings. It is skin in the game, directness, and courage (toughness) in face of painful and difficult questions.Thoughtful warrior...