“The belief in historical destiny is sheer superstition. There can be no prediction of the course of human history by scientific or any other rational methods.” –Karl Popper
V-Day Special! On Fromm’s The Art of Loving (1956). What is love, really? This psychoanalyst of the Frankfurt school thinks that real love is not something one “falls” into, but is an art, an activity, and doing it well requires a disciplined openness and psychological health. Love is the answer to the deep human need to rid ourself of isolation, but a mere sexual union won’t provide real intimacy. To connect the center of your being with the center of another’s being, you need to really know yourself and know the other, and this knowing requires an overall openness that amounts to a love of humanity, a feeling of oneness with nature, and an overall orientation toward the good, which is what he considers a mature take on “love of God.”
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Kevin Godley is a multi-media master, having directed many of the coolest music videos you’ve ever seen. But before that, he was half of Godley & Creme and 1/4 of 10cc, singing, drumming, and mostly coming up with ideas, ideas, and more ideas. Today he runs Whole World Band, a platform for collaborative video creation, and recently released his iBook autobiography Spacecake, but he still performs on occasion, and for the first time produced some solo music as part of his soundtrack to the audioplay Hog Fever.
We first discuss his song from that project, “Confessions” (2015), then “Punchbag” from the Godley & Creme album L (1978), “Barry’s Shoes” from GG06 (2006), and finally play “Lost Weekend” (feat. Sarah Vaughan) from Consequences (1977).
“I remember a night near Bahia when I was enveloped in a firework display or phosphorescent fireflies; their pale lights glowed, went out, shone again, all without piercing the night with any true illumination. So it is with events; beyond their glow, darkness prevails.” –Fernand Braudel
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Exploration of the big idea that permeates Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me.
It’s February! Time to check out the Citizens’ Forum and Not School proposals.
Continuing with Massimo Pigliucci on selected “moral epistles” by Seneca: 4. On the Terrors of Death, 12. On Old Age, 49. On the Shortness of Life, 59. On Pleasure and Joy, 62. On Good Company, 92. On the Happy Life, 96. On Facing Hardship, and 116. On Self Control. We see what Seneca has to say about love and other emotions, facing loss and other hardships, fear of death, desire, pursuing your goals, keeping company with ancient sages, and wearing nice clothes. All you have to do to be happy is have “a complete view of truth!”
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Fritz maintains a cool, direct front-man persona even while engaging in self-help, snarling social commentary, and referencing classic literature. He aims to write simple, repetitive songs that catch you and hit you and make you their dog. He’s been out there since the ’80s, moving around the country from band to band, but consistently delivering the goods.
We discuss “Spray Job” (The Bishops, 1994), “Try Something New” (Punchy, 2001), and “When I Say Jump” (Crown Vic, 2013), and also play “I’m on a Leash” (Crown Vic, 2008).
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“All history is the history of thought.” –R.G. Collingwood
On selected “moral epistles” (from around 65 CE) by Lucius Annaeus Seneca: 4. On the Terrors of Death, 12. On Old Age, 49. On the Shortness of Life, 59. On Pleasure and Joy, 62. On Good Company, 92. On the Happy Life, 96. On Facing Hardship, and 116. On Self Control. We’re joined by Massimo Pigliucci of the How to Be a Stoic blog. How can one most profitably interpret weird-sounding Stoic recommendations about the emotions and about following nature?
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Lights are gone, distant, dark. Crowds of anxious, beautiful, stylish, crazily costumed fans in bright purple, piercing pink, screaming yellow and orange chiffons—capes and crowns of diamonds, darkened eyes of sparkle and thick lashes–they dance, vibrate in unison—praying for that moment. Madison Square Garden. The Stage Blasts Bright. Station to Station roars through the speakers. […]
Socioeconomic policies, not symbolic gestures, are the proper means for combating racism and improving the lives of African Americans.
Concluding On the Soul, book 3, focusing on the “nous,” or intellect, which allows us to grasp abstractions, including the forms/essences that make things what they are. The nous is the “form of forms,” which is literally nothing (just pure potential) until it grasps form, at which point (at least in cases where we grasp fancy metaphysical principles) it’s identical to that form, and not MY thought or YOUR thought in particular. Yes, this is weird.
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With the fall of Rome, the desire to escape what seemed to be a hopeless and dying world was the impetus for Christianity’s rise. Is our current trend toward escapism a sign that we’re repeating the same pattern?
Our second discussion of De Anima or On the Soul (350 BCE), this time on book 3.
What is the intellect? In ep. 130, we talked about Aristotle’s idea of the soul as the form of the body, and now we get to it’s highest part/function, nous!
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Adorno thinks that we get the notions of subjective and objective the wrong way around. An inquiry that starts with the experience of discussing a film suggests that he may be right.
Continuing on De Anima, books 1 and 2. We talk about the nutritive part of the soul, which is the only kind plants have, and the perceptive part, which animals have too, which for Aristotle means they have (or many of them have) imagination too. We grapple more with types of causation and what Aristotle means by forms. How does the soul “cause” the living body?
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Happy New Year! Nathan Hanks brings us up to date on January’s Not School offerings for PEL Citizens. And if you’re not a Citizen yet, what better way to start the year than by making a commitment to your intellectual health?
Welcome to Nakedly Examined Music, an offshoot of “The Partially Examined Life” focusing on the head and heart of songwriting. The front man of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven joins Mark Linsenmayer to discuss his songs: “All Her Favorite Fruit,” “I Sold the Arabs the Moon,” and “Take the Skinheads Bowling.” Plus “Almond Grove.” Please subscribe via iTunes or nakedlyexaminedmusic.com.