Ibn Gabirol Discusses The Virtues

If we accept the premise that personal sufferings and misfortunes provide excellent grist for philosophy’s mill, then we must concede that Solomon Ibn Gabirol was provided with incomparable ingredients for speculative thought.  He was born to a prosperous family in Malaga, Spain around 1022.  Yet life wasted no time in dealing him cruel cards; his parents died when he was a child, making him an itinerant orphan.  He seems to have been stricken by a degenerative disease as a teenager, and this fact lodged in his breast an enduring sense of alienation and resentment; but like many other thinkers, he would find refuge from his pain by taking up the pen. 

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Pythagoras: An Introduction To His Life, School, And Ideas

Only one name in European history unites the realms of religion, mathematics, and philosophy, and that name is Pythagoras.  Yet it is this very achievement that so torments posterity when assessing his legacy.  Centuries of speculative accretions, hagiographic mythologizing, and the dubious testimonia of ancient authors have so obscured his original doctrines that the exasperated scholar must, at last, accept that fact and legend are in him inseparably woven.

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The Unrelenting Fires Of Heraclitus

It was in Ionia that the Greek-speaking world of the sixth century B.C. jostled with the ancient kingdoms of Asia’s westernmost region.  Phrygia, Lydia, Caria, and the other principalities of Asia Minor were Greece’s portal to the Asiatic interior.  The empire of Persia, herself irrigated to fertility by various Asiatic streams, retained a power and influence that lapped the shores of the Aegean Sea. 

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The Discovery Of Andrea Palladio’s Lost Literary Masterpiece

Andrea Palladio is considered one of the most distinguished names in the history of architecture.  His designs of villas, churches, theaters, and palaces have for centuries been held as exemplars of the High Renaissance genius for adapting classical styles and themes to modern purposes. 

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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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