There are two general approaches to Western Philosophy (“WP”) for beginners, I think: review the history of philosophy from the beginnings, or jump right into discussions about the questions that most interest you. History is easier to talk about, but my own approach in this, as in all things, has been to follow my interests wherever they lead, and to hell with being systematic. My everlasting puzzle has been “the meaning of life” and a related question of “how should I live?”
"...extensive, excellent quotes from Stephen Dobyns on metaphor in poetry, with some great examples, a fine poem from Thomas Lux, and my thoughts on Henry James and The Turn of the Screw. Fans of James may wish to comment."
I began drastically reducing my intake of sugar. First to go was sugared sodas. While I usually had diet sodas at home, the fast-food fountain sodas use saccharine or some other sweetener that I can’t stand, so I had sugared sodas (Dr. Pepper, if you must know) whenever I ate out, and was glad to get it; now I drink strictly water when eating out.
Unless analysis and self-examination and increasing self-esteem are good in themselves, and I think they are, then it does not matter what is consumed by each consumer. But if they do matter, then what is consumed and what is available for consumption and what is taught about literature and its analysis also matter, because they help determine what kind of society we live in, and the quality of life of those who live in it. And if anything matters, these things do.
Here I discuss Pierre Bezuhov’s spiritual questions in Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and a few additional issues from Milton’s Paradise Lost, Mishima’s Temple of Dawn, and other works. Includes "The 10% Solution" of what a "moral person" should do with their life.