William James: The Moral Equivalent of War

In his essay titled, The Moral Equivalent of War, 19th century American philosopher William James writes, “History is a bath of blood. Our ancestors have bred pugnacity into our bone and marrow, and thousands of years of peace won’t breed it out of us.” Although war is horrific, it is also beneficial. Wars promote political unity by uniting people against a common enemy, and wars promote the cultivation of virtue by inspiring people to perform noble and heroic deeds of self-sacrifice. In this video, we will discuss William James’ examination of the relationship between mankind and war. Continue reading

Voltaire: Candide – Analysis of the Enlightenment

“Let’s work without speculating; it’s the only way of making life bearable.” This sentence is found at the end of Voltaire’s novel, Candide. Written during the Enlightenment, the book is a scathing criticism of the most cherished ideal of the period – that the power of reason will lead humanity to happiness. In this video, we will discuss Voltaire’s attack on philosophical speculation, and his support for a life based on practical concerns. Continue reading

Nietzsche: The Modern State and The Last Man

In his magnum opus, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche comments upon the insidious nature of modern political communities, “The State is where slow universal suicide is called Life.” In this video, we will explore Nietzsche’s criticism of the modern State and of the State’s ultimate goal – the creation of the Last Man. Continue reading

Nietzsche: Promethean Übermensch

Prometheus is a Titan of Greek mythology who stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind, defying the decree of Zeus. As punishment, Zeus ordered Prometheus to be chained to a rock where an eagle daily tore at his entrails. In this video, we will discuss the myth of Prometheus and its relevance to Nietzsche’s idea of the Superman. Continue reading

NIETZSCHE: On Suffering – Analysis

Many of the wisest men have regarded pain and suffering as objections to life itself. Socrates, for example, railed against life, and he urged his followers to practice death. Many religious leaders promise to the faithful an eternal afterlife free from pain – rendering this earthly existence as an evil that must be endured. But Nietzsche is different. “I do not point to the evil and pain of existence with the finger of reproach, but rather entertain the hope that life may one day become more evil and more full of suffering than it has ever been.” In this video we will explain why Nietzsche valued suffering and why he desired more of it. Continue reading

AESCHYLUS: Agamemnon

The Oresteia is the only surviving trilogy of Ancient Greek Tragedy. The trilogy was written by Aeschylus, and it was first performed in 458 BC during the festival of Dionysus in Athens, where it won first prize. In this three part video series, we will provide brief summaries of the three plays, and also explore the themes of Revenge, Justice, and Fate. Continue reading

David Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

In the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, David Hume identifies what we can know about the nature of God. In this video, we will explore Hume’s thoughts on whether God is intelligent and whether God is morally good. Continue reading

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 75

Sonnet 75

            In Sonnet 75, William Shakespeare writes about his love for the Fair Youth, an unknown young man who is the object of Shakespeare’s affection. Through simile, hyperbole, and antithesis, Shakespeare examines his contrasting feelings for the Youth.

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Happiness

Happiness

Sometimes the tedium of daily life can overwhelm us and plunge us into depression. We feel like the proverbial hamster on a wheel. Is this what I really want to do with my life? Is this fulfilling? Is it all meaningless? Or perhaps we are struck by tragedy. A loved one may die, and we feel as if the world becomes a “sterile promontory.” But then an incident occurs which reminds us of the happiness and joy which we can experience in life.

“All you need is love” is more than just a great Beatles song. In your darkest moments, if you think about those you love and those who love you, then you can endure anything. That indefinable emotion, Love, is the key to happiness.

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Love in Othello

In Othello, William Shakespeare presents the tragic story of a Moorish general of Venice. Iago, Othello’s ensign, is indignant about Othello promoting Cassio to lieutenant instead of him. To avenge this perceived offense, Iago deceives Othello, convincing him that Cassio slept with Othello’s wife, Desdemona. Consumed with jealousy, Othello kills Desdemona. Throughout this narrative, Shakespeare uses diction and metaphor to portray the dark and dangerous facet of love.

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