Tag: philosophy

Hannah Arendt on Action and the Pursuit of Happiness

“What is happiness, anyhow? … so impalpable — a mere breath, an evanescent tinge,” Walt Whitman wondered in his diary precisely 100 years after the Founding Fathers wove the pursuit of that evanescent tinge into the material of what Whitman thought-about America’s “democratic vistas.” The notion of “the pursuit of happiness” has been with us

Thoreau on Nature as Prayer

Walt Whitman noticed bushes — “so harmless and innocent, but so savage” — as a wellspring of wisdom on being rather than seeming. “When now we have realized easy methods to take heed to bushes,” Hermann Hesse exulted in his love letter to our arboreal companions, “then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike

Nobel Laureate André Gide on the Five Elements of a Great Work of Art

“To harmonize the entire is the duty of artwork,” the nice Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky wrote in considering the spiritual element in art and the three responsibilities of artists. “The goal of artwork is perception, understanding of the important lifetime of feeling,” thinker Susanne Langer asserted a era later in her trailblazing treatise on the

Neither Victims Nor Executioners: Albert Camus on the Antidote to Violence

“Progress isn’t everlasting, will at all times be threatened, should be redoubled, restated and reimagined whether it is to outlive,” Zadie Smith wrote in her spectacular essay on optimism and despair. Seventy years earlier, simply after the shut of World War II, one other genius of the occasions addressed this predicament and its attendant query

A Burst of Light: Audre Lorde on Turning Fear Into Fire

“There isn’t any time for despair, no place for self-pity, no want for silence, no room for concern,” Toni Morrison exhorted in contemplating the artist’s task in troubled times. In our inside expertise as people, as within the public discussion board of our shared expertise as a tradition, our braveness lives in the identical room

A Placid Ecstasy: Walt Whitman’s Most Direct Reflection on Happiness

“One can’t write directly about the soul,”, Virginia Woolf wrote. “Looked at, it vanishes.” So with happiness — as slippery as “the soul,” as certain to crumble upon deconstruction. Philosophers have contemplated its nature for millennia, psychologists have attempted to unearth its existential building blocks and delineate its stages. And yet at the heart of

Nietzsche on Depression and the Rehabilitation of Hope

“The gray drizzle induced by depression,” William Styron wrote in his classic memoir of what depression is really like, “takes on the quality of physical pain.” In my own experience, the most withering aspect of depression is the way it erases, like physical illness does, the memory of wellness. The totality of the erasure sweeps