Today was a standard day. I was out most of the day. During my morning reading session I finished Bernard Williamsâ€™ essay on Plato. I didnâ€™t know Plato is considered the father of philosophy. I am amazed at how much Western Thought even after all these years is shaped by Platoâ€™s thoughts. I learned from Williams that a great philosopher has the following qualities: intellectual power and depth; a grasp of the sciences; a sense of the political, and of human destructiveness as well as creativity; a broad range and a fertile imagination; an unwillingness to settle for the superficially reassuring; and in an unusual and lucky case, the gifts of a great writer. I think that is a tall order, but a great one to aspire to reach.
Actually now looking at my notebook, I realize it was John Cottinghamâ€™s essay on Descartes that I finished this morning (I finished Plato yesterday).
Descartes main concern of the day was trying to answer the question: â€œWhat exactly is the nature of consciousness and what is its relationship to the physical world?â€
Then I started on Roger Scrutonâ€™s essay on Spinoza. I was immediately blown away by the Spinozaâ€™s division of his work, Ethics:
1. Why does anything exist?
2. How is the world composed?
3. What are we in the scheme of things?
4. Are we free?
5. How should we live?
As I said, I was blown away. Powerful questions to which I am looking forward to reading Spinozaâ€™s answers to the questions.
I did a Google search on Roger Scruton. The manâ€™s stats are impressive. I marveled over his accomplishments. Heâ€™s written 30 books, numerous articles, broadcasting, lectures at university level, set up 4 businesses, and still has found time to write fiction, poetry, and even music! Reading about Scruton made me realize how basically lazy I am, either that or very dumb. Or worse yet, dumb and lazy.
That realization prompted a new motto for myself: STFU Do It. (Shut the fuck up and do it).
After my workout, I went into town to meet Fan. Itâ€™s her 25th birthday today. I thought it would be nice to have a cup of joe with her and wish her a happy and prosperous birthday. I gave her a book of Zen poems as a present.
We chewed the fat for a couple of hours, basically tackling some of lifeâ€™s biggest questions like where does the divine spark go when you die? What is the nature of addiction? Who are we really after you strip away everybody elseâ€™s shit theyâ€™ve dumped on you during the course of your life.
I said goodbye to Fan and then skipped over to the NLP course we have running at the moment just to sit in observe how things are going. And since of course there is no rest of the wicked, I zipped home for an hour before driving over to Leicester to catch up with Jenny. We always meet at the big Borders Books there, which is good news for Borders, but bad news for me as I always walk away with a smaller bank balance. This time I bought: Affluenza, by Oliver James; Fermatâ€™s Last Theorem, by Simon Singh; The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene; the Oxford Worldâ€™s Classics title, Travel Writing 1700 – 1830, in addition to those titles, I received Matsu Bashoâ€™s A Haiku Journey, Bashoâ€™s Narrow Road to a Far Province, and H.D.F. Kittoâ€™s book, The Greeks. I have a lot of reading to do.
Oh yeah, and I potentially picked up a new contract today.