Tag «TSOL»

PHILOSOPHY – René Descartes

PHILOSOPHY – René Descartes

René Descartes was a French 17th century philosopher, famous above all for saying ‘I think therefore I am’, but worthy of our attention for many reasons beyond this. What makes him stand out is that he was a fierce rationalist. In an age when many philosophers still backed up their arguments with appeals to God, …

PHILOSOPHY – Nietzsche

PHILOSOPHY – Nietzsche

The challenge begins with how to pronounce his name. The first bit should sound like ‘Knee’, the second like ‘cha’ Knee – cha. Then we need to get past some of his extraordinary and provocative statements: ‘What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger’ ‘God is dead! And we have killed him.’ And his large moustache. …

HISTORY OF IDEAS – Ancient Greece

HISTORY OF IDEAS – Ancient Greece

The modern world is deeply attracted to ancient Greece. Every year around one million people visit the Parthenon and wander around the ruins. Because they’re sure the place and the culture of which its supreme embodiment has something important to say to them. But it’s often not quite clear what. What can ancient Greece do …

LITERATURE – Marcel Proust

LITERATURE – Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust was an early 20th century French writer responsible for what’s officially the longest novel in the world: “A la recherche du temps perdu”/In search of Lost Time. which has 1.2 million words in it, double those in “War and Peace” . The book was published in French in 7 volumes over 14 years, …

POLITICAL THEORY – Karl Marx

POLITICAL THEORY – Karl Marx

Most people agree that we need to improve our economic system somehow. Yet we’re also often keen to dismiss the ideas of capitalism’s most famous and ambitious critic, Karl Marx. This isn’t very surprising. In practice, his political and economic ideas have been used to design disastrously planned economies and nasty dictatorships. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t …

LITERATURE – Ralph Waldo Emerson

LITERATURE – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson is the father of American literature. In a series of strikingly original essays, written in the mid-nineteenth century, he fundamentally changed the way that America saw its cultural and artistic possibilities, and he enabled a separation from transatlantic literary traditions. “We have listened too long…”, he wrote, “…to the Courtly muses of …

HISTORY OF IDEAS – Work

HISTORY OF IDEAS – Work

One of the things that’s the most peculiar about life in the developed economies in our own time is the way we look at work and in particular, the way we think that work should be about two things: Making money of course. But also in far more strangely: Finding fulfillment, creativity and meaning. It’s …

HISTORY OF IDEAS – Capitalism

HISTORY OF IDEAS – Capitalism

Today, pretty much every economy in the world is organized along capitalist lines but at the same time, capitalism is almost everywhere regarded with disappointment, frustration and suspicion. Interestingly, none of the criticisms are new. They’ve been dogging capitalism since its inception. So let’s look back in time to figure out how capitalism got its …

LITERATURE – James Joyce

LITERATURE – James Joyce

James Joyce is one of the most revered writers in the English language and a central figure in the history of the novel he is still hugely important to us because of his devotion to some crucial themes the idea of the grandeur of Ordinary Life his determination to portray what actually goes on through …

POLITICAL THEORY – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

POLITICAL THEORY – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Modern life is deeply attracted to the idea of progress in the 18th century as European societies became ever richer and more technological, the conventional view was that mankind was firmly set on a positive trajectory from savagery and ignorance toward prosperity and civilization. But there was at least one eighteen century philosopher who violently …