Tag Archives: books

Notes on the Magic Mountain: “Mynheer Peeperkorn”

A more than usual appreciation of – linked to his need for – alcoholic drinks. He appears to chew the liquid before it goes down, he spends so long savouring it. His head must be blurry from all he drinks … Continue reading

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Notes on The Magic Mountain: “By the Ocean of Time”

Not to deny reason, but to set limits to it. Beyond the limit of reason is life. If reason were allowed to dominate all, there would be no room for life, which after all needs room to experiment, and see … Continue reading

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Notes on The Magic Mountain: “A Soldier, and Brave”

“I am glad to see that despite your enthusiasm for freedom and progress, you have some feeling for serious things.” So says Naphta to Settembrini as they stand at the deathbed of the young man. What could be more serious … Continue reading

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How Wrong We Are

I’ve been reading Will Storr’s The Science of Storytelling. Aspiring writers might want to read the book in full, but here’s some ideas I found interesting: Stories are about change. In other words: something happens. The best stories gradually transform … Continue reading

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Fools Reproach

William Blake’s infernal wisdom: that evil is the energy of the body and acts upon desire. Good bounds this energy, and wants to restrain desire. That if your desire can be restrained, then it was a weak desire. That desire, … Continue reading

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A Life for Wandering Through

Paris in the 1930s was a place where you could simply be an artist. It didn’t matter if you produced any significant work or not. For example, Henry Miller tells us that an acquaintance of his, called Sylvester, will never … Continue reading

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Hegel, Reason, and the Unhappy Consciousness

As the sun sets in Canto II of Dante’s Inferno, the pilgrim, Dante himself, explains that he is not worthy to undertake the journey, through Hell and Purgatory, to Heaven. I lack the strength and skill, he says. The poet … Continue reading

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The “Specific Shape” of Stories (Notes on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit §§678-679)

For Hegel, the limitation of religion is that it relies on “picture-thinking.” A religion is based around the interpretation of a number of stories, images, and rituals designed to show the human spirit the truth about itself and its place … Continue reading

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The Golden Age

The ideal is always something inhuman: “These men were the so-called golden race, subjects of Cronus, who lived without cares or labour, eating only acorns, wild fruit, and honey that dripped from the trees, drinking the milk of sheep and … Continue reading

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Spirit is the Light of the Morning

“Its shape is in fact shapelessness, the all-embracing light of the morning.” – J.N. Findlay, Analysis of section 686 of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. It’s impossible to see where light begins and ends. You can see it in the green … Continue reading

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