Great Book: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine – A 15 min Summary

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy Book Cover A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
William B. Irvine
Philosophy, Stoic philosophy
Oxford University Press
November 4, 2008
Kindle
Part Two: Stoic Psychological Techniques
Negative Visualization: What's the Worst That Can Happen?
Anyone interested in philosophy and/or living a good life
Meditations (Marcus Aurelius), The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph (Ryan Holiday), Ego Is the Enemy (Ryan Holiday)

“Irvine excels at giving a “walking tour” of the many schools of Stoic philosophy, from Greek to Roman traditions, identifying individual Stoic thinkers (many more than Seneca) and their principles and techniques, which Irvine argues are even more relevant in modern times than their own.”
–Philosophical Practice

“Well-written and so compelling, this is a rare example of a book that actually will make a difference in the lives of its readers. Whether it’s coping with grief or arriving at lasting happiness, Irvine shows, with care and verve, ancient Stoic wisdom to be ever relevant and very, very helpful.”
–Gary Klein, author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions

“Bill Irvine has given us a great gift: the most accessible and inviting description of modern Stoicism available. Read this book and be prepared to change your life!”
–Sharon Lebell, author of Epictetus’s The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness

Continue reading “Great Book: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine – A 15 min Summary”

Jan 22: Francis Bacon was born in 1561

Francis_Bacon

“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
― Francis Bacon

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”
― Francis Bacon, The Advancement Of Learning

Wikipedia:

Born 22 January 1561
Strand, London, England
Died 9 April 1626 (aged 65)
Highgate, Middlesex, England
Nationality English
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Era English Renaissance, The Scientific Revolution
Region Western philosophy
School Renaissance PhilosophyEmpiricism
Main interests
Natural philosophy
Philosophical logic
Signature
Francis Bacon Signature.svg

Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.

Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only uponinductive and careful observation of events in nature. Most importantly, he argued this could be achieved by use of a skeptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves. While his own practical ideas about such a method, the Baconian method, did not have a long lasting influence, the general idea of the importance and possibility of a skeptical methodology makes Bacon the father of scientific method. This marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, the practical details of which are still central in debates about science and methodology today.

Bacon was generally neglected at court by Queen Elizabeth, but after the ascension of King James I in 1603, Bacon was knighted. He was later created Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St. Alban in 1621. Because he had no heirs, both titles became extinct upon his death in 1626, at 65 years of age. Bacon died of pneumonia, with one account by John Aubrey stating that he had contracted the condition while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat.

Will Durant—The Philosophy of Francis Bacon (audio – 1h 43m):

Quotes

“Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.”
― Francis Bacon

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”
― Francis Bacon, The Essays

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.”
― Francis Bacon

“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
― Francis Bacon, The Essays

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.”
― Francis Bacon

“Reading maketh a full man; and writing an axact man. And, therefore, if a man write little, he need have a present wit; and if he read little, he need have much cunning to seem to know which he doth not.”
― Francis Bacon

“Wonder is the seed of knowledge”
― Francis Bacon

“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”
― Francis Bacon

“It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else, and still unknown to himself.”
― Francis Bacon

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake…”
― Francis Bacon

“Money is a great servant but a bad master.”
― Francis Bacon

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”
― Francis Bacon

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”
― Francis Bacon

“Age appears best in four things: old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust and old authors to read.”
― Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon's statue at Gray's Inn, South Square, London
Francis Bacon’s statue at Gray’s Inn, South Square, London

October 6: Alfred, Lord Tennyson died in 1892

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

Wikipedia:

Born 6 August 1809
Somersby, Lincolnshire, England
Died 6 October 1892 (aged 83)
Lurgashall, Sussex, England
Occupation Poet Laureate
Alma mater Cambridge University
Spouse Emily Sellwood (m. 1850)
Children
  • Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson
  • Hon. Lionel Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets.

Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, such as “Break, Break, Break“, “The Charge of the Light Brigade“, “Tears, Idle Tears” and “Crossing the Bar“. Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such as Ulysses, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and student at Trinity College, Cambridge, after he died of a stroke aged just 22. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, “Ulysses“, and “Tithonus“. During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success.

A number of phrases from Tennyson’s work have become commonplaces of the English language, including

  • “Nature, red in tooth and claw” (In Memoriam A.H.H.)
  • “‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all”
  • “Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die”
  • “My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure”
  • “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”
  • “Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers”
  • “The old order changeth, yielding place to new”

He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

Videos/Audio

Alfred Lord Tennyson – The Circle of the Hills – Documentary

The Charge of the Light Brigade audiobook Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Quotes

“Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.

Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust;
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a fury slinging flame.

Be near me when my faith is dry,
And men the flies of latter spring,
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing
And weave their petty cells and die.

Be near me when I fade away,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control; these three alone lead one to sovereign power.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

I must lose myself in action, lest I wither in despair.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Shape your heart to front the hour, but dream not that the hours will last.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

By blood a king, in heart a clown.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

We cannot be kind to each other here for even an hour. We whisper, and hint, and chuckle and grin at our brother’s shame; however you take it we men are a little breed.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

“I sometimes find it half a sin,
To put to words the grief i feel,
For words like nature,half reveal,
and half conceal the soul within,”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

“I hold it truth, with him who sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

lord tennyson

 

August 26: Guillaume Apollinaire was born in 1880

Guillaume Apollinaire

 

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
– Guillaume Apollinaire

wikipedia

Born Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki
26 August 1880
Rome, Italy
Died 9 November 1918 (aged 38)
Paris, France
Occupation Poet, writer, art critic

Signature

Guillaume Apollinaire (August 26,1880 in Rome – November 9, 1918 in Paris) was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic of Polish descent. His novels were mostly erotic.

Apollinaire is considered one of the foremost poets of the early 20th century, as well as one of the most impassioned defenders of Cubism and a forefather of Surrealism. He is credited for coining the term Cubism (1911) to describe the works of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, the terms “Orphism” (1912) to describe the works of Frantisek Kupka, and the term “Surrealism” (1917) to describe the works of Eric Satie. He wrote one of the earliest works described as Surrealist, the play The Breasts of Tiresias(1917), which was used as the basis for the 1947 opera Les mamelles de Tirésias.

Two years after being wounded in World War I, he died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 at age 38.

Guillaume Apollinaire Selections from Alcools (youtube video)

Poems:

  • Mirabeau Bridge
  • Palace
  • Marizibill
  • The Farewell
  • Night Wind
  • Autumn
  • Rosemonde
  • Clair de Lune
  • Sickly Autumn
  • Hunting Horns

Alcools (Alcohol) is a collection of poems by the French author Guillaume Apollinaire. His first major collection, it was published in 1913.

It was listed @ #17 on Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century

Quotes

“How slow life is, how violent is hope.”
Guillaume Apollinaire

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can not, we’re afraid!” They responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can not, We will fall!” They responded.
” Come to the edge, “he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”
– Guillaume Apollinaire

“Joy always came after pain.”
– Guillaume Apollinaire

Without poets, without artists … everything would fall apart into chaos. There would be no more seasons, no more civilizations, no more thought, no more humanity, no more life even; and impotent darkness would reign forever. Poets and artists together DETERMINE the features of Their age, and the future meekly conforms Their edit it.
“- Guillaume Apollinaire, Selected Writings

“People quickly grow accustomed this being the slaves of mystery.”
Guillaume Apollinaire, The Cubist Painters

“Now you are walking in Paris all alone in the crowd As herds of bellowing buses drive by Love’s anguish Tightens your throat As if you were never to be loved again If you lived in the old days you would enter a monastery You are ashamed when you discover yourself reciting a prayer You make fun of yourself and like the fire of Hell your laughter crackles The sparks of your laugh gild the depths of your life It’s a painting hanging in a dark museum And sometimes you go and look at it close up,“- Guillaume Apollinaire, Zone

Stoic History

Mainly based on info from “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” – William B. Irvine

The First Stoics

  • Zeno – (333-261 BC) = the first Stoic

  • started as a Cynic
    • “same” as today’s homeless
    • Antisthenes
      • pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes
    • the Cynics were renowned for their wit and wisdom
    • Diogenes (pupil of Antithenes) – the most famous Cynic
      • Bad man obey their lusts as servants obey their masters.
      • because they cannot control their desires, they can never find contentment
    • lived on the streets of Athens.. same as Sokrates
    • constantly pushing their philosophy on other people
  • found to be more interested in theory than the cynics.. hence .. a combination & lifestyle & theory
    • as Socrates had done
  • Continue reading “Stoic History”