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Philosophy | davelovell.net - Part 2
Sep 222010
Narcissus and Goldmund, and me

Every now and then you remem­ber a book that you read in your youth; it’s like remem­ber­ing an old class­mate that you were very close to for a short while, long ago.  Dur­ing some under­grad sur­vey in phi­los­o­phy we read Sid­hartha — it didn’t do much for me, but I remem­ber the pro­fes­sor men­tion­ing that it was his least favorite of Her­mann Hesse’s work, and that was enough to send me off to the library.  I came back with a worn copy of Nar­cis­sus and Gold­mund. I hope every­one has a book that hit them at a vul­ner­a­ble moment in their life, one that called their inher­ited world view into ques­tion.  N&G hit me dur­ing my sec­ond year of col­lege sem­i­nary, that’s the year when […click to read the rest]

Sep 032010
Untilting Knight Seeks Windmill

I like lists, although I do think that my lists get together and make fun of me some­times. Most of my lists enu­mer­ate things that I would like to do, should do, or may just look good on a list.  One of these lists con­tains the titles of very impor­tant books that very smart peo­ple have told me I should read in order to be smart enough to tell other peo­ple what books should be on their lists.  Some of the titles have a lit­tle check by them; I love to check things off lists!  But oth­ers, some near the top of the list (denot­ing a longer period of res­i­dency on said list) stare back at me in mock­ing laugh­ter; these are the books that […click to read the rest]

Aug 262010
Tony Judt, …we need to read!

I have a sec­tion of wall space in my liv­ing room where I hang black and white por­traits of peo­ple that I think had genius and did some­thing with it.  I need to make a new space for Tony Judt; who lost his bat­tle with ALS ear­lier this month. “The historian’s task is not to dis­rupt for the sake of it, but it is to tell what is almost always an uncom­fort­able story and explain why the dis­com­fort is part of the truth we need to live well and live prop­erly,” he told His­tor­i­cally Speak­ing. “A well-organized soci­ety is one in which we know the truth about our­selves col­lec­tively, not one in which we tell pleas­ant lies about our­selves.” In a few pieces I’ve writ­ten lately, […click to read the rest]

Aug 252010
Casual Conversation

I’m sit­ting at my desk this morn­ing, lis­ten­ing.  I can hear ran­dom neigh­bors head­ing off to work, the occa­sional air­plane and the birds.  If I’m able to be still enough, some­times my brain will try and deci­pher what the birds are up to, which ones are respond­ing to each other, which ones are sound­ing a warn­ing; there must be some logic at play. Try­ing to lis­ten to birds reminds me of the first few months that I lived in Europe as a young grad­u­ate stu­dent.  I didn’t speak the lan­guage, and I remem­ber lis­ten­ing to the peo­ple then the way I am lis­ten­ing to the birds this morn­ing.  It was both dis­con­cert­ing and peace­ful; what if peo­ple are talk­ing about some­thing I should know, some dan­ger, […click to read the rest]

Aug 102010
Adam Smith, Karl Marx and the Vagaries of Terminology

I was look­ing at some pho­tos from the ran­dom AP shots of a recent Tea-Party event – one of them caught my eye: It was a poster with Hitler super­im­posed over the image of Pres­i­dent Obama, some part of the cap­tion also decried the evils of Social­ism…  Holy mixed metaphor Bat­man! I’m try­ing to fig­ure the logic behind the poster (other than someone’s desire to make a quick buck pan­der­ing to the tea-partying hordes).  I sup­pose that they per­ceive Obama as being dic­ta­to­r­ial, so that must be the asso­ci­a­tion with Hitler, but the addi­tion of Social­ism is just wrong.  Hitler was a lot of things, but he clearly was no Social­ist, and the ones that he found he tended to house at Dachau.  So call­ing […click to read the rest]

 Posted by at 1:33 pm
Aug 062010
America and the Long View of History

A cou­ple of years ago, at the onset of the present finan­cial cycle, I wrote a rather long and tedious arti­cle about the period of Amer­i­can global finan­cial dom­i­na­tion that began at Bret­ton Woods.  I’ve been think­ing about that piece as events have unfolded since then – and I would like to revisit and revise some of those remarks. One thing that I’ve learned from my years in the his­tory class­room is that most people’s sense of his­tory is only about ten years deep, they folks may have some vague notion of the times that their par­ents lived in, but not much more.  This must partly explain the death grip which many peo­ple clasp around their world­view, they really believe that the world they inhabit […click to read the rest]

 Posted by at 10:31 am
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