Beginning his "humanist Bible" not with Eve's apple but with Isaac Newton's, philosopher (and BNR columnist) A. C. Grayling has imagined and fashioned a non-religious scripture from the secular wisdom of both the Western and Eastern traditions. The result is a harvest of history, reflection, proverbs, and philosophy drawn from souces as diverse—and as humanly allied—as Confucius, Herodotus, and Montaigne.
brave and spirited assault against the forces of cultural entropy, this
meditation upon the virtues of civilization by a down-to-earth philosopher
proves that what is most missing from our civic discourse is a long-range
perspective steeped in enduring verities.
"It is not only species of animal that die out, but whole species of feeling," says Conchis in John Fowles's The Magus. "And if you are wise you will never pity the past for what it did not know, but pity yourself for what it did." What the past knew and what it can still teach us, through the works of Homer, Dante, Melville, and others, explain philosophers Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly in this brief but bracing book, is how to respond to the world with wonder and gratitude. It's an inspiring argument, and they're right.
Our resident philosopher, A. C. Grayling, who contributes "The Thinking Read" column to this site, here teaches us how to think about questions fundamental to the pursuit of an examined life. His brief, inviting essays are lucid and illuminating.
May 24: Joseph Brodsky was born on this day in 1940 in Leningrad. Brodsky's constitutional skepticism was not compatible with the official Soviet alternatives, and by age twenty-five he was in prison, wrapped in cold, wet sheets as…