The Stranger and The Estranged

In this post, I posit the concept – the Estranged – as a dialectical opposite to Simmel’s concept of the Stranger. If the stranger is remembered for his ‘distance’ from the (host) group, the estranged is remembered for his ‘departure’ from the (reference) group.

Simmel defined the Stranger as an “organic member of the group” (p. 149), who “comes today and stays tomorrow”[1] (p. 143), who is defined by his “nearness” over “remoteness” to the group (p. 143), who brings “qualities into it (the group) that are not, and cannot be, indigenous to it” (p. 143), which make him “attractive and meaningful” (p.145), whose “objectivity” that is by no means “detachment and non-participation” (p. 145) lend as “specific form” to his interaction with the group (p. 143) by “both being outside it and confronting it” (p. 146). A stranger is “freer practically and theoretically; he surveys conditions with less prejudice; his criteria for them are more general and more objective ideals; he is not tied down in his action by habit, piety, and precedent” (p. 146). 

[1] as opposed to a wanderer “who comes today and leaves tomorrow” (p. 143) Continue reading The Stranger and The Estranged

How to Mark a Book by Mortimer J. Adler

“marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love.”

You know you have to read “between the lines” to get the most out of anything. I want to persuade you to do something equally important in the course of your reading. I want to persuade you to write between the lines. Unless you do, you are not likely to do the most efficient kind of reading.

I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love. Continue reading How to Mark a Book by Mortimer J. Adler

Camus and “one truly serious philosophical problem” → Suicide

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.

Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest-whether the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories-comes after wards. These are games …”

— Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

Urban vs. Rural Religion / Christianity vs. Paganismus and Heathenism

“Christianity was born among the urban Jews of the Roman Empire and spread gradually into the countryside. Even in largely rural Europe, monasteries functioned as surrogate cities and Christianity spread outward from these centers of structure and literacy.

Pagus is the Latin word for “countryside,” and in the countryside the old polytheisms lingered long after they had died out in the cities. Thus, a rural polytheist was a pagamus, and paganismus (paganism) became synonymous with polytheism. In England, pre-Christian polytheism lingered in the inhospitable heath, and so heathenism became an English synonym for paganism.
Continue reading Urban vs. Rural Religion / Christianity vs. Paganismus and Heathenism

Classification of Science(s)

“… some ways of classifying the various sciences.

(1) Pure sciences versus applied sciences. It is widely held that we must distinguish: (A) science as a field of knowledge (or set of cognitive disci plines) from (B) the applications of science. It is common to refer to these as the pure and applied sciences. (A) Among the pure sciences we may distinguish: (a) the formal sciences, logic, and mathematics; and (b) the factual or empirical sciences. Among the latter we may also distinguish: (b1) the natural sciences, which include the physical sciences, physics, chemistry, and so on, and the life and behavioral sciences, such as biology and psychology; and (b2) the social sciences, such as sociology and economics. (B) The applied sciences include the technological sciences such as engineering and aeronautics, medicine, agriculture, and so on. Continue reading Classification of Science(s)