The Object Of One’s Desire Is The Means Of One’s Capture

The Roman writer Aelian, in his treatise On the Nature of Animals (De Natura Animalium), collects many interesting facts related to the habits and behaviors of the creatures of the land, sea, and air. It is unfortunate that he felt compelled to write in Greek instead of Latin, but I suppose this is a decision forgivable for an educated Roman long steeped in Greece’s literary and rhetorical heritage.

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“You’re Supposed To Do Something About It” (Podcast)

At the end of the movie “The Maltese Falcon,” Sam Spade explains his personal code to Mary Astor. He tells her, “When your partner is killed, you’re supposed to do something about it. It doesn’t matter what you thought of him. You’re supposed to do something about it…” But there is a larger lesson here. When problems exist, you have to do something. You have to take action to fight the problems. Running away to live a life of narcissism and selfishness is not what men do.

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The Best Reliance Is Self-Reliance

The Roman writer Aelian makes an interesting comment in his Varia Historia (II.39) about the education of Cretan youths in ancient times.  He says that the children of citizens (presumably both boys and girls) would learn the laws of their island with musical accompaniment as an aid to memorization. 

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Ancient Greek Athleticism And The Idea Of Virtue

This morning my friend Dr. Michael Fontaine sent me an email that contained the following quote by the French Enlightenment thinker Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle.  When Fontenelle, at the age of 85, met Rousseau in 1742, he counseled him, “You must courageously offer your brow to laurel wreaths, and your nose to blows.” 

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The Greatest Horror Films Ever Made

Why horror?  What is it about this genre that exerts such a hold on our imagination?  What psychological need is served by the human desire to be frightened or unnerved?  Perhaps some residue of our prehistoric consciousness, in which our hominid ancestors were stalked by ancient predators on the African savannahs, demands to be recognized as an evolutionary survival sense; or perhaps the perception of fear awakens certain synapses in the brain, igniting the spark of creative impulses that demand some form of outward expression.  I do not know.

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Jean de La Bruyère’s Thoughts On Money, Wealth, And Fortune

The French essayist and philosopher Jean de La Bruyère achieved a degree of notoriety for his work Characters (Les Caractères ou les Mœurs de ce siècle), which he published in 1688.  He died young, at the age of 50 in 1696; perhaps his pen might have produced more marvels had fortune provided him more longevity. 

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What You Vote For, You Must Also Commit To

The Athenian statesman and general Phocion lived from about 402 to 318 B.C.  He was famous for his frugal and unassuming personal habits; and he always put the interests of his country first, in stark opposition to his careerist, opportunistic contemporaries. 

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