On love and marriage

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I have been silent but not away, always checking new posts and reposting interesting ones. Every time I go silent, I realize how unhappy I am at the world and what it had become (you can check my older post on this matter Writing… and why I stopped it for a while). I am a philosophy teacher and a blogger (on my free time) with a tint of idealism, always hoping for a better world for all of us which is clearly not the case. Maybe we are going through labour, a transitory phase to deliver more consciousness.

On a personal level, I have been busy organizing my wedding. I am sure most of you know how exciting but hectic wedding planning can be. I found some beautiful quotes on love and wedding that I share with you on here, hoping it will bring you some lightness of being.

“We loved with a love that was more than love.”
– Edgar Allan Poe

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”
– Plato

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it be rather a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

“When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”
– Rumi

“ A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers”

-Ruth Graham

Noam Chomsky on the Russian Ukrainian conflict

World’s eyes are on this conflict, war or special military operation; whatever the name you give it, it is dangerous and yet easily resolved as Noam Chomsky says.

In the below video, Chomsky goes back to the 90s, where an agreement was made between the U.S and Russian for a non-expansion of NATO in Russia’s neighbouring countries. Surely, the agreement was not respected as we can see now.

However, does this justify invasion, brutality that is of a high price on a humanitarian level? On a moral level, nothing justifies this. On a political level, Niccolo Machiavelli would say the opposite.

Wherever you stand, this short video is worth watching:

And if you haven’t read my book review on Chomsky’s On Anarchism, you can catch it here:

On Anarchism… by Noam Chomsky

The concept of Black Friday

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It happens on a Friday (sometimes all over the weekend) on the last weekend of November. The concept is to put on sales products to be sold.

The scenery of crowded shops and malls (Covid19 anyone?), people elbowing each others and fighting for an item to buy is so humiliating.

First of all, why weren’t prices low in the first place? If shops can make profit out of super sales then why were products more expensive before Black Friday? Isn’t it a lie?

Big companies will always make profit even on Black Friday. Black Friday is another way to push people to buy things, necessary or unnecessary, who cares? The ultimate goal is to push them to buy. For a lower price, one would be tempted to buy many things. Therefore, more money one would spend and more waste and garbage there would be.

Isn’t it time to wake up?

What is writing?

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(Originally written on October 25th 2012)

As i am sitting here in front of my white screen, it is not obvious for me to write anything, my mind is full of thoughts, ideas, tasks, to-do-lists. Daily life turned us into soldiers in a constant battle against time, wishing we could stretch our days few hours longer than 24. In the circular moving world, the mind is torn apart, too much planning due to too much rationality. We were all brought up on fearless, matter-oriented, wild rationality. We are blocks, living in blocks. The result: our world is a web. Are we unconsciously Hegelian?

Writing is concentration. Clear black on white words that can stop the world for a while, that can free the imagination. Writing is letting go. Writing is drawing images, dancing arabesques on an empty space, making silent music (not very silent, typing is musical). What we get in this experience is chaos, pure immanence, fugitive rays of lights and lines; less poetically, it is energy. Immanent energy. We are not bodies, not souls, but energy, dancing chaotic energy. As long as we are dancing, imagination, creativity, connectivity are saved. Connectivity with the chore of the world , life. Writing saves us.

What is writing? It is dancing.

Where to put the things you don’t want in your head anymore

Have you ever said to yourself “I wish I could just cut off my head, lose my ever thinking brain, and then I would be peaceful” We suffer more often in imagination than in reality Seneca “Why don’t you just live with yourself” yelled my youngest son at his sibling, years ago. He was trying […]

Where to put the things you don’t want in your head anymore

the Aesthetics of Populism [Minor Treatise]

This is a follow-up treatise on my article What (and how) to expect from Leaders [Opinion] by H.St.C For as long as humans have made use of their intellectual faculties to ponder upon the question of what makes something attractive, we have always known- almost instinctively- what we want. The philosophical discipline of aesthetics exists because […]

the Aesthetics of Populism [Minor Treatise]

Albert Camus vs Jean-Paul Sartre

In this post published on Medium, James Cussen describes the relationship between Camus and Sartre, the “intellectual superstars” of post-war France. As I am interested in the French Existentialism, which is a recent interest to me, this article shows the real relationship between the two men, beneath the surface.

From intellectual competition to political feuds, their friendship accompanied their philosophical and literary works.

For more details, click on the link below for the full article. A pleasure to read!

https://link.medium.com/MvQdNBhhUkb

Emile Durkheim: La morale est un état de dépendance.

Est moral, peut-on dire, tout ce qui est source de solidarité, tout ce qui force l’homme à compter avec autrui, à régler ses mouvements sur autre chose que les impulsions de son égoïsme, et la moralité est d’autant plus solide que ces liens sont plus nombreux et plus forts. On voit combien il est inexact de la définir, comme on a fait souvent, par la liberté ; elle consiste bien plutôt dans un état de dépendance. Loin qu’elle serve à émanciper l’individu, à le dégager du milieu qui l’enveloppe, elle a, au contraire, pour fonction essentielle d’en faire la partie intégrante d’un tout et, par conséquent, de lui enlever quelque chose de la liberté de ses mouvements. On rencontre parfois, il est vrai, des âmes qui ne sont pas sans noblesse et qui, pourtant, trouvent intolérable l’idée de cette dépendance. Mais c’est qu’elles n’aperçoivent pas les sources d’où découle leur propre moralité, parce que ces sources sont trop profondes. La conscience est un mauvais juge de ce qui se passe au fond de l’être, parce qu’elle n’y pénètre pas. La société n’est donc pas, comme on l’a cru souvent, un évènement étranger à la morale ou qui n’a sur elle que des répercussions secondaires ; c’en est, au contraire, la condition nécessaire. Elle n’est pas une simple juxtaposition d’individus qui apportent, en y entrant, une moralité intrinsèque ; mais l’homme n’est un être moral que parce qu’il vit en société, puisque la moralité consiste à être solidaire d’un groupe et varie comme cette solidarité. Faites évanouir toute vie sociale, et la vie morale s’évanouit du même coup, n’ayant plus d’objet où se prendre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Emile Durkheim, De la Division du travail social (1893)

Showcase: Simone de Beauvoir on feminism and existentialism

Considered as a pioneer of feminist philosophers, Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) was one of the most important French existentialist philosophers and writers. Working alongside other famous existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, de Beauvoir wrote excessively on ethics, feminism, fiction, autobiography, and politics.

In The Ethics of Ambiguity, she developed an existentialist ethics that condemned the “spirit of seriousness” in which people too readily identify with certain abstractions at the expense of individual freedom and responsibility.  In The Second Sex, she produced an articulate attack on the fact that throughout history women have been relegated to a passive acceptance of roles assigned to them by society. Freedom, responsibility, and ambiguity are main concepts of existentialist philosophy shown in her works.

Her influences include French philosophy from Descartes to Bergson, the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, the historical materialism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and the idealism of Immanuel Kant and G. W. F Hegel. Her most famous and influential philosophical work, The Second Sex (1949), remains to this day a central text in the investigation of women’s oppression and liberation.

Immanuel Kant: Le bonheur

Immanuel Kant

« Le concept de bonheur est un concept si indéterminé, que, malgré le désir qu’a tout homme d’arriver à être heureux, personne ne peut jamais dire en termes précis et cohérents ce que véritablement il désire et il veut. La raison en est que tous les éléments qui font partie du concept du bonheur sont, dans leur ensemble, empiriques, c’est-à-dire qu’ils doivent être empruntés à l’expérience, et que cependant, pour l’idée du bonheur, un tout absolu, un maximum de bien-être dans mon état présent et dans toute ma condition future, est nécessaire. Or il est impossible qu’un être fini, si clairvoyant et en même temps si puissant qu’on le suppose, se fasse un concept déterminé de ce qu’il veut ici véritablement. Veut-il la richesse ? Que de soucis, que d’envie, que de pièges ne peut-il pas par là attirer sur sa tête ! Veut-il beaucoup de connaissances et de lumières ? Peut-être cela ne fera-t-il que lui donner un regard plus pénétrant pour lui représenter d’une manière d’autant plus terrible les maux qui jusqu’à présent se dérobent encore à sa vue et qui sont pourtant inévitables, ou bien que charger de plus de besoins encore ses désirs qu’il a déjà bien assez de peine à satisfaire. Veut-il une longue vie ? Qui lui garantit que ce ne serait pas une longue souffrance ? Veut-il du moins la santé ? Que de fois l’indisposition du corps a détourné d’excès où aurait fait tomber une santé parfaite, etc. ! Bref, il est incapable de déterminer avec une entière certitude d’après quelque principe ce qui le rendrait véritablement heureux : pour cela, il lui faudrait l’omniscience(1). »

Emmanuel Kant, Fondement de la métaphysique des mœurs

A list of my posts about Stoicism

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Stoicism is a much needed way of thinking and acting as it is a practical philosophy, a daily discipline for a happier life. Whilst the world is going crazy with pandemics, climate change, violence and crisis, life coaching has become a necessity. Stoic philosophers are the first and the most important life coaches for their philosophy is, as aforementioned, a practical rational discipline whose main principle is about taking control of one can control and leave to fate the outside incontrollable events.

Here is a list of my older posts about Stoicism:

A stoic guide to become fearless

Epictetus vs Jesus on Figs. The relationship between philosophies… | by Massimo Pigliucci | Stoicism — Philosophy as a Way of Life | Medium

How to face the planetary lockdown? Stoic philosophers answered

Stoicism as a cure for anxiety!

Some stoicism for the day!

Seneca: on the shortness of life — How to Be a Stoic

Philotherapy

The Stoic Kiss of Death

Success Can Make People Better… Or Worse

What are your journaling strategies?

Wisdom and Virtue. The Stoic principles.

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In last Tuesday’s post, Stoic philosophers believed that living life according to nature is a way to achieve happiness. The full post is on this link https://maylynno.wordpress.com/2021/10/12/living-life-according-to-nature-the-stoic-principles/

Stoic philosophers transformed philosophy into a praxis, a practical discipline of daily life. If nature is bigger and stronger than all of us and if its actions aim to survival in a rational way, then wisdom is to live according to nature.

Therefore, wisdom is the root virtue without which one can not be ethical nor a philosopher. Even success and real power can’t be achieved without wisdom. Think about Marcus Aurelius who was a Stoic philosopher and one of the greatest emperors of the Roman Empire.

What is virtue? Virtue is a life led according to nature.

Showcase: Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin (15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940) was a German philosopher, and a cultural critic, combining elements of German Idealism, Romanticism, Marxism, and Kabbalah. He was associated with the Frankfurt School.

Benjamin was early on keen on art. He saw in photography a democratic form of art. He considered that the photographic reproduction of an artwork (a poster or a postcard for example) was of higher social value than the original (only viewed in a gallery) because the artwork in question could be possessed and enjoyed (very democratically) by the art lover in a time and place that suits them. He sensed that a copy was of higher social significance on postmodern thought and has influenced (in one way or other) a number of late-20th-century art movements, including Pop art and Conceptual art.

Whereas high art needed the intervention of an art expert or critic to explain its true meaning, Benjamin was an admirer of Hollywood cinema because the sound film could be enjoyed collectively by the public without the need for a critic to explain its meaning: “the greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form,” he said of the Hollywood film, “the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public.”

In the same frame of thought, Benjamin helped explain urbanization in terms of an historical and ideological shift from a culture of production to a culture of consumption and commodification.

Living life according to nature. The Stoic principles.

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Stoicism is a school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or by the fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

Nature (understood also as the universe) is rational and deterministic whose actions aim for survival. The universe is governed by the law of reason. There is no hazardous phenomenon in the natural world nor intention. Everything natural happens for a reason.

Humans are part of the big nature; thus the importance to live according to its plan. Otherwise, human actions can provoke a disequilibrium as it is the case today with climate change, endangered species, floods and storms which are all lethal to humanity. If money is the goal, then nature is overexploited. Since nature is rational and tends to harmony, not to forget that it is much stronger than people.

One day, human actions can wipe out all existence. According to Stoic, this is the peek of human foolishness.

Showcase: Gilles Deleuze

Gilles Deleuze was a 20th century French philosopher (1925-1995) who, from the early 1950s until his death in 1995, wrote on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and SchizophreniaAnti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), both co-written with psychoanalyst Felix Guattari. His work has influenced a variety of disciplines across the humanities, including philosophy, art, and literature, as well as movements such as post-structuralism and postmodernism.

Here is a list of my posts on Gilles Deleuze:

Gilles Deleuze on the world and space dilemma

Gilles Deleuze and his views on people

Gilles Deleuze on desire, becoming an Idiot and dismantling systems

The Idiot: Deleuze’s political concept to crack the system’s wall

Le nomade, le migrant et le sédentaire chez Gilles Deleuze et Félix Guattari Reading WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? (17): Spectres and Personae (Deleuze and Derrida)

The body in philosophy

White Man vs white men

Yoga or the deleuzian Body without Organs !

Mind and Body connection (in English and in French)

The main theories on mind and body connection.
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Having two different definitions, one is matter (body) and the other is “anti-matter” or spirit (mind), the correlation and the relation between them have made thinkers and religions obsessed. There are mainly two explanations: dualism and monism.

Here is the full document that I posted a while ago:

The mind body connection (part I)

The mind body connection II

The mind body connection III

The mind body connection IV

And below is the French version of the document:

Watch “6 Hits of Stoic Motivation (Sports and Philosophy)” on YouTube

Seneca

Ryan Holiday, the specialist of Stoic philosophers and the creator of the YouTube channel Daily Stoic which I highly recommend, talks about the strong relationship between Stoic philosophers and sports. In his video, he breaks down the idea of a workout routine and its benefits to Stoic philosophers. In addition he talks to professional athletes who were inspired by stoicism and how it helped them in their career.

Click on the link below to watch the video:

Le désir (synthèse de cours)

Une synthèse de cours sur le désir.
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Le désir est une notion philosophique principale et un concept fondamental pour la compréhension de l’Homme et de son action dans le monde. Ce document ci-contre propose deux définitions du désir:

  • La défintion classique du désir en tant que manque visant le plaisir (définition commune héritée de Platon)
  • La seconde est la définition du désir en tant qu’energie de vie (défintion héritée de Spinoza).

The power of story 2

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In continuation of the previous post the-power-of-stories-1, story telling changed completely with the invention of the printing machine in 1450. A story was not recited orally and collectively, but it became an individual solitary activity. How did this shift in stories status affect us?

As aforementioned, a story became written in a book for a solitary individual activity. At its start, reading was the rich and educated pleasure. So, the story lost its collective social and sociable aspect and turned into, not only a solitary activity, but a social class matter.

As we all know it today, reading has many benefits on the brain and on human faculties despite the social segregation it brought for a very long time. Progressively, people became individualistic in a way and more of thinkers. Reading is a slow activity that developed critical thinking, discussions and debates which didn’t exist massively in ancient times. All types of books began to emerge with all types of topics. Books helped science, knowledge, art, philosophy and much more to evolve. This meant, more reasoning, more curiosity and depth, more emancipation.

In other words, political revolutions wouldn’t have taken place, hadn’t the book been invented.

The power of stories 1

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Contrary to common beliefs that technology and machines being the ultimate impact on populations, stories make the world go ’round and round. Mythologies, religions, legends still have the same power on us like they did centuries ago. That being said, what is their source of power? And how did they evolve?

In ancient times, myths and legends were of oral traditions. A story teller, with highly distinctive talents, would tell a story in front of a crowd. Stories were then a collective activity. The force of a story could be found in both the orality and the collective activity.

When a story is told orally by a story teller, it enhances human faculties such as awareness, imagination, concentration, listening; and for the smarter ones, critical thinking. However, since the mass was not educated, these stories became their system of beliefs which Karl Gustav Jung referred to as the Collective Unconsciousness. In addition to all the above, the fact that story telling was a collective activity, it encouraged sociability and interaction between people.

How had things changed with the invention of the printing machine?

La conscience (Cs) garantit-elle l’autonomie du sujet?

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Il est communément admis que la conscience (Cs) est ce qui définit l’homme et ce qui serait une garantie de son autonomie. Cependant, l’on se demande parfois pourquoi on n’est pas libre, pourquoi on a des addictions, pourquoi on n’arrive pas à dépasser certains traumatismes etc. Ces questions ne remettent-elles pas en question la corrélation de la Cs et de l’autonomie du sujet?

Ci-contre, un plan de dissertation dont la question est: La Cs garantit-elle l’autonomie du sujet?

In and out of yoga

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It is said that the relationship with the mat is the same like the relationship to life. Some days we love life and some others, a lot less. So, it is not strange to be in and out of yoga, and I mean by yoga here is the physical yoga or asanas.

I have much respect to disciplined yoga students with daily practice. But I am not disciplined and this attitude of mine made me wonder and ask questions here and there. As a skeptic myself, I thought something was wrong with me. However I came into a deep realization.

Yoga is not only a workout as it has been marketed on social media as I have written about it on a previous post The IG Yoga. Yoga is made of my many paths to enlightment and Hatha yoga or asanas is one of them.

Looking closely at my behaviour, I noticed that yoga makes one connected to the universe. When my connectivity to the universe weakens due to daily life hassles, I feel it in my body which makes me unroll my mat and practice.

Le temps

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Nous sommes formés de temps et par le temps. L’être humain conscient s’inscit dans l’historicité de par sa conscience qui fait du temps un élément majeur dans la vie de l’homme. C’est la raison pour laquelle l’homme a créé la montre, l’horloge, l’emploi de temps, les fuseaux horaires etc. Cette historicité spécifique à l’humanité a permis la conscience de la finitude ou de la mort. L’homme sait qu’il est un être pour la mort comme disait Heidegger. Il voit ses conséquences sur les transformations de son visage, de son corps, sur les autres et les choses de la nature et du monde. D’où le fantasme humain de remonter le temps ou de le suspendre, d’en effacer ses traces sur le corps et sur les choses, de travailler pour allonger l’espérance de vie et ce jusqu’à l’immortalité. L’arbre de l’immortalité n’était-il pas le deuxième arbre interdit à Adam et Eve?

Maitriser le temps, c’est devenir Dieu!

Alors comment concevoir le temps? Est-il cyclique ou linéaire et téléologique? Est-il malgré notre conception majeure du temps relatif? Le temps est-il objectif ou subjectif?

Vous trouverez ci-contre un cours sur les différents concepts du temps pour essayer de répondre brièvement à ces questions:

The 20th century, the revenge.

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Atrocities everywhere: Afghanistan, the Middle East, climate change, cancel culture, violence, crisis on a global scale raise the question and skepticism about liberal democracies, New World Order, international organizations, multinationals, capitalism and in general, world politics and economics.

Are we forever stuck in the 20th century?

Main ideas and global political systems are still the same but with different tools. However, the world is in a new era. Logically speaking, using the same old methods for new encounters can only lead to the same mistakes but more complicated.

The 21st century, as aforementioned, has different problems, some of them are residue of the 20th century ideas and systems, a sort of continuum of the same disasters. Other issues are purely 21st century made. Isn’t it time to find new solutions before there is no turning back? Isn’t it time to create new fair systems of social justice?

The power of sunset.

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It is always here transiting from day to night. Sunset is that time of the day where confusion is here. The day is not over yet and the night isn’t very far. . Angst is the feeling accompanying sunset.

Romantics love sunset. It is a period of softness with warm colours stretching out there everywhere. Sunset is the perfect time for a friends’ gathering before everyone goes home. One must keep busy during sunset since loneliness, at sunset, provokes anxiety and loneliness.

Sunset is psychologically more impactful than dawn although both are transitional periods. Whilst dawn is a daily rebirth and awakening, sunset is a reminder of aging, of a dying before darkness sets in.

J-P Sartre: La conscience est intentionnalité

La conscience et le monde sont donnés d’un même coup : extérieur par essence à la conscience, le monde est, par essence, relatif à elle. C’est que Husserl voit dans la conscience un fait irréductible qu’aucune image ne peut rendre. Sauf, peut-être, l’image rapide et obscure de l’éclatement. Connaître, c’est « s’éclater vers », s’arracher à la moite intimité gastrique pour filer, là-bas, par-delà soi, vers ce qui n’est pas soi, là-bas, près de l’arbre et cependant hors de lui, car il m’échappe et me repousse et je ne peux pas plus me perdre en lui qu’il ne se peut diluer en moi : hors de lui, hors de moi. Est-ce que vous ne reconnaissez pas dans cette description vos exigences et vos pressentiments ? Vous saviez bien que l’arbre n’était pas vous, que vous ne pouviez pas le faire entrer dans vos estomacs sombres et que la connaissance ne pouvait pas, sans malhonnêteté, se comparer à la possession. Du même coup, la conscience s’est purifiée, elle est claire comme un grand vent, il n’y a plus rien en elle, sauf un mouvement pour se fuir, un glissement hors de soi ; si, par impossible, vous entriez « dans » une conscience, vous seriez saisi par un tourbillon et rejeté au-dehors, près de l’arbre, en pleine poussière, car la conscience n’a pas de « dedans » ; elle n’est rien que le dehors d’elle-même et c’est cette fuite absolue, ce refus d’être substance qui la constituent comme une conscience. Imaginez à présent une suite liée d’éclatements qui nous arrachent à nous-mêmes, qui ne laissent même pas à un « nous-mêmes » le loisir de se former derrière eux, mais qui nous jettent au contraire au-delà d’eux, dans la poussière sèche du monde, sur la terre rude, parmi les choses ; imaginez que nous sommes ainsi rejetés, délaissés par notre nature même dans un monde indifférent, hostile et rétif ; vous aurez saisi le sens profond de la découverte que Husserl exprime dans cette fameuse phrase : « Toute conscience est conscience de quelque chose. » […] Que la conscience essaye de se reprendre, de coïncider enfin avec elle-même, tout au chaud, volets clos, elle s’anéantit. Cette nécessité pour la conscience d’exister comme conscience d’autre chose que soi, Husserl la nomme intentionnalité.

Jean-Paul Sartre, « Une idée fondamentale de la phénoménologie de Husserl : l’intentionnalité », Situations [1947], Gallimard, 2010, p. 10-11.?

Four books by Friedrich Nietzsche you should read

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a German philosopher and one of the most influential of all times. He is considered as one of the first existentialists philosophers and his books are still widely read and discussed. Let’s take a look at his most important works, highly recommended to be read:

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Very much inspired by Jesus’s parables like way of speaking, this book is the most representative of Nietzsche’s philosophy and vision. In it, one would find  the issue of the death of God and Superhuman appearance.

On the Genealogy of Morality

Nietzsche discusses various concepts of ethics, morality and religion. His idea is to reject the “slave morality” and adopt the Superhuman way of thinking.

Ecce homo

It is the autobiography of Nietzsche, written little before he became ill. He examines his life and his work, an intimate intake on his conceptual and beliefs system.

The Birth of Tragedy

Nietzsche describes life as tragic and music is the correlation of the existential tragedy and aesthetics. This book is a profound essay on art as intertwined with life.

David Hume on thoughts and perceptions (original text)

“But setting aside some metaphysicians of this kind, I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement. Our eyes cannot turn in their sockets without varying our perceptions. Our thought is still more variable than our sight; and all our other senses and faculties contribute to this change; nor is there any single power of the soul, which remains unalterably the same, perhaps for one moment. The mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions successively make their appearance; pass, re-pass, glide away, and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations. There is properly no simplicity in it at one time, nor identity in different; whatever natural propension we may have to imagine that simplicity and identity. The comparison of the theatre must not mislead us. They are the successive perceptions only, that constitute the mind; nor have we the most distant notion of the place, where these scenes are represented, or of the materials, of which it is compos’d”.

DAVID HUME, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), Book I: Of the understanding, Part IV: Of the sceptical and other systems of philosophy, Section VI: Of Personal Identity

P.S: Don’t forget to check on my blog, in Portfolio, my philosophy free teaching documents, published on every Saturday in July.


Baruch Spinoza on God

In the Ethics, Spinoza directly challenged the main tenets of Judaism in particular and organised religion in general:

– God is not a person who stands outside of nature

– There is no one to hear our prayers

– Or to create miracles

– Or to punish us for misdeeds

– There is no afterlife

– Man is not God’s chosen creature

– The Bible was only written by ordinary people

– God is not a craftsman or an architect. Nor is he a king or a military strategist who calls for believers to take up the Holy Sword. God does not see anything, nor does he expect anything. He does not judge. He does not even reward the virtuous person with a life after death. Every representation of God as a person is a projection of the imagination.

– Everything in the traditional liturgical calendar is pure superstition and mumbo-jumbo

However, despite all this, remarkably, Spinoza did not declare himself an atheist.

The unprecedented desire for routines

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

It is understandable that, in shaky situations, one would like to stick to a routine, any routine, for the sense of security and survival. This is why social media is full of videos, podcasts and posts on routines and practices and this tendency skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic.

However is it beneficial?

Neurologists explain that the brain functions in patterns. Once an activity becomes regular, the brain takes it as a pattern and forces the person to do it regularly. Hence the feeling of guilt or confusion in missing the regular habit.

Does it mean that we all must be doing yoga, meditation, daily workouts, journaling, drinking lemon water every morning etc.?

Although the above-mentioned practices are beneficial and recommended, it doesn’t mean every person should be doing them. Maybe one hates journaling, must they force themselves to do it? Maybe one feels uncomfortable with yoga or something else, should they do it in spite of it all?

The answer is no. A routine is a personal (sometimes collective) chosen activity for security, pleasure, health etc. or for any enhancement that leads to a better survival.

The problem when something so private becomes a mainstream on social media, it is highly misunderstood or unproperly applied.

P.S: Starting the 1st of July and for every Saturday of the month, I will publish free philosophy teaching documents. You can find them on my main blog page in “Portfolio”.

Platon: “Le poète est une chose légère”.

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“De la même façon, c’est la Muse qui par elle-même rend certains hommes inspirés et qui, à travers ces hommes inspirés, forme une chaîne d’autres enthousiastes. Car ce n’est pas en vertu de la technique, mais bien en vertu de l’inspiration et de la possession que tous les poètes épiques, j’entends les bons poètes épiques, récitent tous ces beaux poèmes. Et il en va de même pour tous les poètes lyriques, les bons poètes lyriques ; tous ceux qui sont pris du délire des Corybantes n’ont plus leur raison lorsqu’ils dansent, les poètes lyriques n’ont plus leur raison lorsqu’ils composent leurs chants si beaux. Dès qu’ils sont entrés dans l’harmonie et le rythme, ils sont possédés par le transport bachique, et ils sont comme les bacchantes qui puisent aux fleuves le miel et le lait lorsqu’elles sont possédées et quand elles n’ont plus leur raison, exactement comme le fait l’âme des poètes lyriques, selon leur propre aveu. Car c’est bien là ce que nous disent ces poètes, que c’est à des sources de miel, dans certains jardins et vallons des Muses, qu’ils puisent les chants pour nous les apporter à la façon des abeilles, en volant comme elles. Et ce qu’ils disent est vrai. Car le poète est une chose légère, ailée et sacrée, qui ne peut composer avant d’être inspirée par un dieu, avant de perdre sa raison, de se mettre hors d’elle-même. Tant qu’un homme reste en possession de son intellect, il est parfaitement incapable de faire œuvre poétique et de chanter des oracles’.

Platon, Ion, 533d-543b

N.B: A partir du 1e Juillet et pour tous les samedis du mois, vous trouverez sur la page principale de mon blog, dans la rubrique “Portfolio” des cours de philosophie gratuits.

The new normal

TOPSHOT-BRITAIN-HEALTH-VIRUS
photo by livescience.com

 

This new concept is everywhere now, underpinning new behaviours, new reflexes, new apprehensions and a new way of life. The so called “new normal’ is a normal reaction to an aftermath.

Knowing this fact, why to hate the new reality?

Reality is a complex concept. The etymology is Latin, res, which means “thing” (for example, the word republic comes from res publica, public thing. A dictatorship calling itself a republic is a contradiction of words). Therefore, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic notion of them.

Zooming in, it is clear that reality is made of different layers: social reality, political reality, public reality, personal reality, environmental reality, individual reality and so on. A repetitive collective action defines the norm or what is normal or abnormal. Wearing a mask has become a new normal as a planetary and an individual repetitive action due to the birth of a new layer: the pandemics.

This powerful new layer threatens all the other ones. Consequentially, new behaviours and ways of thinking and living have already taken place.

Is our life better or worse now? 

So far, we hate it. Humans are creatures of habits and rituals and the latter played a major role in cultural and social cohesion as well as in cultural differentiation throughout history of mankind. It goes for our safety, our sanity and our survival. Even our cells are units of habits. What is a disease other than a disruptive phenomenon in the genetically programmed organism?

The problem is, humans are not their cells. They are their own minds, emotions and desires. Only a human mind can be in denial of an actual threat while an organism can’t be so.

Modern philosophy defined humans as rational beings but we are not or at least not all the time.

We seek pleasure and we fear pain. We function by reward and punishment. If we were only rational, we wouldn’t be depressed facing the new normal.

If ever the pandemics would disappear forever, its consequences on the different layers of the world reality will remain. The new normal will eventually become the normal.

 

Writing… and why I stopped it for a while

Writing is about inventing something new, as in a life, an existence, a becoming. For the becoming is creativity, a change, becoming other, creating hope for us in this world we live in. Art, philosophy, mysticism have a responsibility: the becoming of our societies!

I wrote this small paragraph the day I started this blog in June 2016, about philosophy in simple words or light philosophy, about philosophical writings for everyone with a purpose: to make myself heard, to make the romantics like me heard, to make misfits heard, to make anyone who doesn’t agree with the mainstream heard. Unfortunately, since 2016 the world hasn’t altered much, not to say it has gotten crazier. The becomings I mentioned earlier which we can see are about crisis: wars, violence, poverty, migration, racism etc. Something that made me stop writing for a long time, just because, as Charles Bukowski said it, if writing doesn’t roar out of your soul then don’t write. I found this video with his voice about being a writer:

http://youtu.be/F_1EiVab_08

It just roared now… and I don’t know why it did. I wish my writing desires would be more roaring but I am on those silent writers, and this can only make sense to writers who can go for a long time without any inspiration. If writing is inventing something new, today I didn’t invent anything, I didn’t write. The word, that precise word is yet to come!

I wish you all a lot of boredom

Placeholder ImageI am sitting in front of the blank screen, thinking about writing. It has been like this for the last 2 days but, all of a sudden, my mind has become as blank as this screen. No words, no images, no thoughts… nothing but a quite peaceful emptiness! Only one questions kept on lingering: what to write? What to write?

This is the experience of everyone of us, the experience of the missing word. And we can’t stand silence easily for it makes us unease. With social media in reach, media, news, explosions, celebrations, discussions, debates, loads of writing and posting, the world is talkative and noisy, too exposed and too exposing. Where one is forced to give an opinion, to protest, to cry, to laugh, to ask, to answer, to speak..is where silence is unbearable! For silence is the luxury of boredom!

Boredom is troublesome because it makes our mind wander. Martin Heidegger pointed out that boredom makes us reach the being! In a more simple language, boredom makes us think about the core, about the substantial: life, love, movements, actions, feelings, death, loved ones, hate, beauty, ugliness, freedom, justice, sex…. Boredom makes us think about the existence… about the being!

I wish you all a lot of boredom!

How to party like an existentialist?

In the article below, a hint of the concept of partying of the famous existentialist couple de Beauvoir and Sartre. To face life absurdity, partying is a key, making the world more playful whereas too much seriousness turns it rigid.

For the full article, click on the link below:

https://aeon.co/ideas/being-and-drunkenness-how-to-party-like-an-existentialist?s=09

‘Allãmah Davānī On the Creation of Man

“Shaykh Ibn-Sīnā writes in Shifa that it is more akin to truth that owing to elementary convulsions taking place at the great conjunction of planets, or to the coincidence, or a near approach to that, of the zones if they may happen, or to the interalliance of the Zenith and the Nadir etc., some regions […]

‘Allãmah Davānī On the Creation of Man

Philosophie 14 : Le Hegel de Kojève

Une des caractéristiques majeures, si ce n’est la caractéristique essentielle, du philosophe Hegel présenté par Alexandre Kojève dans son Introduction à la lecture de Hegel publiée en 1947 et qui réunit les cours donnés par Kojève de 1933 à 1939 sur la philosophie hégélienne, et plus particulièrement sur la Phénoménologie de l’esprit de 1807 (Phänomenologie […]

Philosophie 14 : Le Hegel de Kojève

Literary Summary: Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment is another classic of nineteenth century Russian literature. Written in a time of intellectual, socio-political, and moral upheaval in the Russian Empire, Dostoevsky’s work must be understood in the context of the debates of Russian nihilism and egoism. Russian nihilism and egoism are not about the absence of values and […]

Literary Summary: Crime and Punishment

Literary Summary: Dostoevsky’s The Idiot

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot is another great work by one of Russia’s preeminent authors. The work draws on the Russian folklore archetype of the holy fool, a trope also found in Christianity. Prince Myshkin is the holy fool. Returning to Russia after having been away in Switzerland for many years battling epilepsy, Myshkin’s appearance acts […]

Literary Summary: Dostoevsky’s The Idiot

The Neuroscience of Agreement

https://neilorvay.substack.com/p/5-the-neuroscience-of-agreement?s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web To understand why agreement is so powerful, it is helpful to understand the neuroscience behind both agreement and disagreement. In a January 2021 article released in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal based on the work of a group of researchers led by the Yale School of Medicine, it was found that when two people agree, […]

The Neuroscience of Agreement

The Neuroscience of Agreement

https://neilorvay.substack.com/p/5-the-neuroscience-of-agreement?s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web To understand why agreement is so powerful, it is helpful to understand the neuroscience behind both agreement and disagreement. In a January 2021 article released in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal based on the work of a group of researchers led by the Yale School of Medicine, it was found that when two people agree, […]

The Neuroscience of Agreement