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Oroboros (Muspellheim, Ragnarok)

Page: 1
by Hermann Hesse
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 5.53
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Buddha is not the Buddha, July 22 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Mass Market Paperback)
Siddhartha is nothing less than a seminal piece of classical literature. Hesse's succint and subtle prose delivers the goods in the Dostoyevskian manner: a polyphonous style of presentation where characters are self-conscious mouthpieces of ideas that exist within and for others. The main character undergoes several adventures on his journey of self-discovery: which is basically that knowledge may be exchanged, but true wisdom cannot.
In the final chapter, Govinda the sidekick confronts the protagonist and asks for his supposed wisdom. Siddhartha makes several Nietzschean points: the denial that wisdom can ever be taught, that any assertion of truth excludes what is false, but the world isn't as one-sided, that since time is an illusion the world is not progressing to a better, more perfect state of being. It is already perfect. (The Heraclitus/Nietzsche promotion of the eternal changing flux, the Becoming over static Being is all too obvious here) The dual nature of existence - sin and divinity, pleasure and pain, love and hate, life and death - is necessary. This echoes Nietzsche's Amor Fati. In order to renounce worldly goods, Siddhartha had to experience their bewitching allure first hand. Siddhartha claims that transcendence - the comparison of the world to some imagined perfection - inhibits the ability to love the world. Even the refusal to differentiate between words and thought is Nietzschean, more precisely, Wittgenstienan. Even though his thoughts do not cohere with the teaching of the Buddha, Siddhartha blames the distinction on mere words, and in the end the only thing matters is that he agrees with what the teacher did, not what he said.
Govinda, upon hearing him out, also notes that, despite the apparent distinction from the tenets of Buddhism, Siddhartha also has attained what the Gotama did: "... out of his gaze and his hands, his skin and his hair, out of every part of him shines a purity, shines a calmness, shines a cheerfulness and mildness and holiness, which I have seen in no other person since the final death of our exalted teacher." Siddhartha's journey is codified by Andre Gide's maxim: "Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it."

For and Against Method: Including Lakatos's Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence
For and Against Method: Including Lakatos's Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence
by Imre Lakatos
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 50.71
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5.0 out of 5 stars a glimpse of what could've been...., Dec 26 2002
This book is an excellent introduction to the two great philosophers of the latter half of the twentieth century, Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend. In the enlightening and lucid lectures, Imre Lakatos comes off as the established logician whose views on the philosophy of science is marvelously comprehensible and original, and serves as a springboard for the correspondence. What surprised me was the natural humor and gaiety in the letters, that they promised to annihilate one another in the joint efforts at a book, and yet they could not stop talking about the women in their lives. In a way, the book is also an autobiography, a profile of the two proud and brilliant men and serves as an inside peek at their relationship. Kudos to the editors of this book. I recommend reading this book in order to get your feet wet before tackling on Lakatos' other books and Feyerabend's Against Method.

Nietzsche Against the Crucified
Nietzsche Against the Crucified
by Alistair Kee
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 58.82
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4.0 out of 5 stars The theologian gets his turn at hermeneutics, Nov. 26 2002
I managed to finish Kee's Nietzsche against the Crucified last week, and here are the thoughts that have slowly percolated through my brain as i read the book. His writing style was generally terse and at times, profound and illuminating. There's a quesiton of how much Kee's theologian insights contributed to his reading, and it appears to me that Kee lends a sympathetic ear to a "christian" reading of Nietzsche. According to the person who recommended this book, his understanding of Nietzsche is that religion has always fulfilled our "presuppositions" or psychological need for teleology, for purpose, but those who lost their faith in God still have that need of teleology and in order to satisfy it, they usually find another center. Whoever is truly irreligious will lack a center, and their lives will be total chaos. Since the most of us lead a stable life, we remain religious.
As for atheism, it is oddly true that Nietzsche never really discusses the atheist-theist question in his writings on the epistemological level. Kee takes his announcement of the death of God as a cultural fact, not an epistemological one. That we have lost our belief in God has severe repercussions in our lives, and only those who are truly perceptive will recognize that. This loss of belief demonstrates the exact location of the actual foundation of all our beliefs of morality, science, knowledge, everythying- and it is in religion. So, this existential experience of utter nihilism is a tragic one, but also a means to freedom. Where the typical postmodernist stop Nietzsche invents a grand narrative, the Eternal Return of the Same (a psychological doctrine or existential mandate that equals the power of Kant's Categorical Imperative). His insight of the Eternal return is a religious one, according to some letters and other notes ("it came to me" or "thunderstruck" etc). Kee tries to persuade the reader that Nietzsche chose the word "eternal" because it was religious, as opposed to the mathematical or scientific synonym, "infinite." There's not much to go on here, though. I agree with the distinction Nietzsche makes between Christ and Christendom, though, and it always has helped me gain slipperiness in the inevitable discussion with the friendly neighborhood devout bible thumper. Well, after reading the book i had to really question the legitimacy of the exegesis of Nietzsche's corpus because some of the extrapolations are overheated speculation built upon stilts. There's more, but there's a lot to be said about the justified exegesis itself though, and this book offers a fairly persuasive case of Nietzsche as a truly religious thinker.

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