29 September 2010
I wonder what Seneca would say about spending one's money in such a fashion!
(We won't be getting down to Positano, which is on the Amalfi coast south of Naples, but it looks like a beautiful place to live. And the house featured here is not too shabby either....)
22 September 2010
This essay explains how to keep yourself safe. It says to own nothing that could stir jealousy in others, keep to yourself, live a private life--as to avoid notice of others. Don't voice your opinions to the public, do not gossip. Do not provoke anyone, use common sense. Having a lot of money or power could lead you to danger as well. No one who can arouse terror can live with peace of mind. And most importantly don't do wrong, because even if no one finds out, you will always know that you did it. This seems to connect with the Dichotomy of Control because you are doing everything in your control to avoid disappointment.
On Rest and Restlessness:
This essay relates to Negative Visualization because it says that when people are constantly moving around from place to place, they are always unhappy and will never find peace. These people can never heal from past hurts because as they move from place to place trying to forget these people or events, they are really only stirring up past memories that cause more pain. People should settle down in one place, interrupted, in order to heal and find inner peace.
I also read Seneca's letter on the friendship of kindred minds. This letter was interesting, I got the feeling it was referring to self denial. Seneca talks about not allowing yourself to be friends with someone until they develop themselves into the type of person you want to spend time with. He says "such a joy is light and fleeting" referring to spending time with someone you love, but when the person you love is the sort of person that you desire them to be then the joy is sustained. This phrase is what made me think of self denial because this technique enables you to enjoy things more and for a longer period of time instead of having fleeting joy.
21 September 2010
The second letter I read was On Grief for Lost Friends. This letter was about the line between what is a normal amount of grieving for the death of a friend and what is considered an excessive and unnecessary amount. Seneca says he "would not have you sorrow more than is fitting". Seneca points out that humans are mortal beings and at any moment their time on Earth can run out. This letter relates to the philosophical technique of Negative Visualization because if you visualize what your life would be like if you lost a good friend, it will help your realize and appreciate them more while they are still alive. If and when they do pass away, because everyone eventually does, you will not dwell and grieve for an unnecessarily long period of time, because you already accepted that it was going to happen. And, because of negative visualization you didn't take them for granted while they were still alive.
For the second essay I chose "True and False Riches". Seneca says that it is not that impressive to refuse delicate food and eat common things, but it more impressive to give up common food and eat uncommon food. This causes us to appreciate the delicate foods when we have the opportunity to eat them. The same goes for other items of wealth. He says that as long as we have the essentials we should be happy and we will enjoy wealthy things more than those who experience wealth all the time.
The first essay I chose was “On The Futility Of Planning Ahead”. The entire essay seemed to be based around the technique of dichotomy (or trichotomy) of control. He basically is saying throughout the entire essay that we’re planning for eternity, but death is always over our shoulders. Many people pray and beg for a longer life and will do anything to prolong it and have less suffering, but death is one of those things that is completely out of our control, so why waste time worrying about it. I feel this is represented quite clearly in the following section, “But how foolish it is to set out one’s life, when one is not even the owner of the morrow! (uncertainty)”. He says that worrying about the outcome of our future just “eats away the mind” because essentially it is out of our control and just causes unnecessary fear.
The second essay I chose was “On Discursiveness In Reading”. He says, “Do you ask what is the proper limit to wealth? It is, first, to have what is necessary, and, second, to have what is enough”. He’s telling us that happiness and contentment lies within what we have in life and we need to stop striving for things that we do not have. He also refers to the technique of fatalism. He says, “’Contented poverty is an honourable estate.’ Indeed, if it be contented, it is not poverty at all. It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor”. If one’s fate is to be poor and live in poverty, then they need to live contently in the poverty because that’s how they were meant to be. This same idea was used in describing reading. Reading many books or authors at one time is not appreciating what you have and is nothing but a distraction. You will never fully appreciate a book or author until you focus solely on that one without thinking what else is out there to read.
In "On Old Age and Death" Seneca writes that "old age is a time of bloom" and a great time for one's mind. Seneca also counsels to be ready for death and that it could come at any time. He also writes that one must learn how to die and that "he who has learned to die has unlearned slavery." His belief is that at death "there is only one chain which binds us to life, and that is the love of life." I think fatalism comes in to play with this letter because death is a part of life and also the idea that do not worry about what is beyond your control is a big lesson in this teaching.
"On the Trials of Travel" was written by Seneca after a long voyage from Baiae to Naples. He finds it foolish that we will fear one thing more than another even when they will both end the same way. Seneca also ponders about the soul and remarks that the soul can not be "arrested or destroyed inside of the body" but can escape through any part of the body. This writing uses the logic of do not concern yourself with things that are beyond your control for if you fear your soul dying you should not because since it cannot be crushed then it can not be harmed.
The first essay that I read was "Self-Control"- CXVI. This essay mainly focused on self control of indulging in our emotions and personal desires like wealth. Many people want to obtain wealth and a high status, but the stoics believe that this will not bring a person happiness. One quote from the essay says, "We are endowed by Nature with an interest in our own well-being; but this very interest, when overindulged, becomes a vice." The writer of the essay talks about how it is very important to at first resist and avoid any temptations of over indulging because it will almost always be easier to avoid them, than to rid yourself of the habit. The more temptations that we give in to will only lead to an unhappier life. The stoics believe that we should live a normal life, which would consist of normal-average daily living even if you have enough wealth to buy more expensive things. This way of living uses the philosophical technique dichotomy of control. When practicing dichotomy of self-control, a person must set the goal to not give in to ones personal desires. We have the ability to control things like our personality, values, and goals. The stoic of this essay says that many people make up excuses for not controlling their personal desires because they love those vices and are unwilling to practice control.
The second essay I chose was "On Values" XLII. This essay is also about having self-control. It talks about valuing ones self by not over indulging because when we over indulge in objects sometimes we ended paying for them more that we actually thought we would. Material things do not add much value to our lives and the feeling that they give us will eventually fade, so it is important to have the self-control not to indulge in these things. One quote from this essay that makes a good point is, "We are eager to attain them at the cost of anxiety, of danger, and of lost honour, personal freedom, and time; so true is it that each man regards nothing as cheaper than himself." We must own ourselves before we focus on owning other things.
The first essay I read was "On Wisdom and Retirement," in it Seneca discusses how someone should go about retiring. He said that they should not announce that they will retire because they usually hide away from the world and this leads to other people to gossip about what has happened to the retiree. Seneca also suggests to spend your new acquired free time to do what you wish and not worry about what could have been. This essay is a prime example of Fatalism because Seneca is saying that after you retire you should move on with your life and not dwell on the past events that could have made what you are today different.
LXIII: On Grief for Lost Friends
This essay is about how Seneca feels that we should grieve the lose of friends, even though he says that it would be ideal if we were not affected by this tragic event. He says that someone who does not grieve is ideal, but we "may be forgiven for bursting into tears." Seneca understands that grief is a necessary emotion and that there is no way to avoid it entirely. He does however say that is important to not allow our grief to flow without some control over it. I think this essay goes along with the idea of Negative Visualization because Seneca tells us to enjoy our friends now because you never know how long they will be here. With this, if we appreciate the good times we have with friends now, when they go, it won't be as difficult because we will have the memories of those better times.
The second essay i choose was "Self Control." This essay ask the question is it better to have moderate emotions or no emotions at all? It is natural for us as humans to be affected by man's opions, to become affected by negative things that happen to us. It is natural for us to have certain desires and pleasures we want fullfilled. But what Seneca is saying is if you allow that desire to begin, you can't be so sure that you will be able to stop it. In other words it is eaiser to deny a desire from the beginning then to make it go away after we let it in. If you cant control the little that you have, it is better for you to aviod it all together. Of course we can't deny ourselves of everything, its okay to feel emotion and to experience pleasure, but only if we can do so in moderation. This essay connects with the idea of Fatalism also, Fatalism teaches us to learn to desire what we already have (and not what we wish to have). It also connects with Self-Denail because this concept tells us it's okay to enjoy pleasures, its okay to experience emotion; but dont abuse them. By practicing self-denial we are gaining a sense of self-control.
The first topic I chose was about saving time. This was of particular interest to me because, being a college student, I have many things to do, and never enough time to get everything done. In this essay, Seneca describes how time is constantly slipping away from us, and most of the time we spend is without purpose. Therefore he advises us to not to waste anymore time because by the time we die, it will be too late. In connection to our lecture on Monday, three of the four psychological techniques can be applied to the concept of saving time. As time is slipping away, we should be pondering, "What if I didn't have this time that has been given to me?" The thought alone should give you a greater appreciation for the time you have, making you value it more. We experience hedonic adaptation in reference to time because we grow accustomed to having control over what we do with our time, all the while unaware that time is slipping away. Related to this idea is the dichotomy of control, meaning that some things we have complete control of, some things we have partial control of, and some things are completely out of our control. Time is related to all three of these concepts because although we can not control time ticking away, we can somewhat control what we do with our time. Prior obligations do take some of the time that we have, but it is our decision to do with our free time whatever we choose.
The second of the Seneca letters that I read concerned true and false friendships. Seneca felt that a true friend is someone you can trust, and who knows you as well as you know yourself. You should feel comfortable telling your friends anything, and you should keep friends that are loyal and are not deceiteful. Seneca's thoughts about this topic can be related to the philisophical techniques of negative visualization and self-denial. For example, if you visualize your life without your true friends, you will learn to appreciate their company more, and not take for granted their presence in your life. Self-denial could also be practiced by putting yourself in a situation in which you are around complete strangers. Therefore when you are with your friends, you will be able to reflect on that experience and enjoy the comfortibility of the situation.
The second essay I chose was 'On Saving Time'. In this essay, Seneca tells his friend that time is slipping away from them and if they do not begin to enjoy every second life has offered them, they will never begin to enjoy life as a whole. Seneca points out that the greatest lost of time is when we give our time to carelessness and choose to ignore what is going on around us. The Stoicism ideas that are expressed in this essay are control and fatalism. We can not control how much time we are given, therefore we should not worry about it and instead use the time we have as productively and joyfully as possible. We also do not know when our time will run out, therefore we should go with the flow and play your role as best as possible, leaving the rest up to fate.
The first letter I chose was grief for lost friends, it mentions that when a friend dies we may weep but we must not wail. The Seneca letter follows Irvine's Negative Visualization. In the letter it mentions "Let us greedily enjoy our friends, because we do not know how long this privilege will be our." Sencea is saying that we need to enjoy our friends while they are still on earth, and when they do die, do not mourn but think of friends who are alive and well and that is like enjoying a meal of cakes and honey.
III ON TRUE AND FALSE FRIENDSHIP
The first letter I choose was On Facing Hardship, in this letter it mentions that with all the complaining about bad circumstances, there is really only one bad part of this whole equation which is you complaining. He mentions that affairs come by order and not by chance. In life you will have the ups and downs that’s apart of living. This attitude on facing hardships is similar in the dichotomy of control, you can’t control everything bad in your life, things are going to happen to you and you will just need to accept it. Focus on the things in life you can control with the help of setting goals.
In the second letter I choose On the Diseases of the Soul, in this letter Seneca mentions there is a difference between the disease of the mind and its passions. The diseases are “harden and chronic vices, such as greed and ambition”, while passions are “objectionable impulses of the spirit, sudden and vehement.” With the diseases of the mind like greed and ambition can be an impulse from not letting go of incident in the past, for example whether you think someone has more than you. But with fatalism you have to let go of the past to be able to move on with the future. Only at that time will you be “undisturbed by fears, unspoiled by pleasures, we shall be neither afraid of death nor the Gods, it means not craving wickedness or excess; it means possessing supreme power over oneself.”
The sentence that reads " Even such a man will be stung by an event like this, but it will be only a sting." I believe in this sentence he is relating to the negative visualization because if the person who lost that friend had known that people are mortal and will die one day then he would come to accept that death and it would only hurt a little. Another sentence that follows this technique to Stoicism is "Let us greedily enjoy our friends, because we do not know how long this privilege will be our." Also, this reminded me on the two fathers that Irvine compared in the book. The father that cherished the time he had with his daughter the less painful her death would be compared to the father that never thought that the last moment he had with his daughter would be his last.
LVII On Trails of Travel
This caught my attention because it as about travel and I thought it would relate to our trip to Italy. In this letter a voyage is discussed and how two problems or inconveniences occur, but then in my opinion he thinks of the positive side. Almost like fatalism and not seeing how it could be better. "The gloom, however, furnished me with some food for thought; I felt a certain mental thrill, and a transformation unaccompanied by fear, due to the novelty and the unpleasantness of an unusual occurrence." This can be related to out trip if we get stuck in traffic or it is raining.
20 September 2010
17 September 2010
16 September 2010
One WHS in Italy is Venice and its Lagoon. This site is important because buildings (big and small) contain work from some of the greatest artist to ever live. The site is also absolutely beautiful and its lagoons spread over 118 islands.
A second WHS is the Ferra, City of the Renaissance and its Po Delta. This location marked the beginning of modern town planning. It also displays to universal heritage the infulence of Renaissance culture on a natural landscape.
Finally a third WHS is the Church and Dominican covent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. On a wall of this church is the painting of "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. One of the greatest artist of all time, and one of the most famous art peices as well.
15 September 2010
1. Irvine, in Chapter 1, introduces us to the notion of a philosophy of life. A philosophy of life involves two things: a conception of what the truly valuable things are and then a discussion of what the best means is to pursue those things. What is your philosophy of life?
2. Is it true, as Irvine says on pp. 22-23, that religions don’t offer a philosophy of life? They tell us what is required to be a good person, and what is required to have a good afterlife, but since they don’t tell us (or don’t tell us very much about) what is required to have a good life, they don’t offer a philosophy of life. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
3. On p. 27 Irvine very quickly describes three philosophies of life: those of the Cyreniacs, the Cynics, and the Stoics. Which of these three does your philosophy of life come closest to? If it doesn’t exactly match any of them, how does it compare?
4. What do the Stoics mean by tranquility? Is tranquility (as they understand it) something you value? Is it the most important thing? If it is, why is it so? And if it isn’t, what is more important?
5. Identify two or three positive aspects of Stoicism. That is, what are two or three good features, in your view, of the Stoic outlook? What are two or three problems you have with Stoicism?
14 September 2010
Italy has many sites on the list. I was surprised to see that only 3 were considered "natural" sites. The Dolomites are a mountain range in Northern Italy. The mountain range is a World Heritage site because it is considered one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. The Dolomites also play a great significance to geomorphology, which is the study of how land forms are made and changing throughout time.
Another site is The Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This church is important because it houses Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting, "The Last Supper." This painting is famous worldwide and was even featured in the movie, "The Da Vinci Code."
The rock drawings in Valcamonica have more than 140,000 carvings that date back to over 8,000 years, representing a group of people that no longer exists. The figures of agriculture, dance, war, etc. help form ideas of how they once lived and thought, and further contribute to the fields studying their history and sociology.
The trulli of Alberobello are pyramid shaped dwellings that were formed from limestone boulders found in the surrounding fields. This sit represents the very beginning of a construction technique that is still used in today's modern buildings in this area.
The City of Verona was founded in the first century B.C. and it has preserved a vast number of monuments from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. It also represents a military stronghold. All of this and the development of the architecture over 2,000 years makes the City of Verona important to our universal cultural heritage.
The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes is a railway that opened in 1904 and it connects two historic railway lines that cross the Swiss Alps. It has had a significant technical, architectural and environmental impact on the culture and society of the Central Alps. All of this and the impact the Rhaetian Railway had with the development of mountain railways makes it important to our universal cultural heritage.
Although it was challenging to choose only a few sites to focus on, I was able to choose one cultural and two natural World Heritage sites.
The Historic Centre of Siena is located in Siena, which is a city in Tuscany. The center of this city was designated a World Heritage site because of it's medieval and gothic appearance. At this time between the 12th and 15th centuries, several artists wanted to greatly influence Italian and European art, and did so through the architecture of this city. Preserving this part of history gives insight into the culture of the time.
The Aeolian Islands are volcanic islands that have greatly contributed to the studies of geoscientists. The changes and eruptions that have occured over time have led to these islands being studied for over 200 years.
The Dolomites is a mountain range in the northern Italian alps that have been designated as a World Heritage site. (If you haven't seen the pictures of these you should definitely check them out!!!) The mountains contain many sites where geologists have uncovered fossils from the Triassic period. Some of the highest limestone walls in the world can be found here, alongside ledges and peaks that overlook meadows of incredible beauty. The area is protected by government provinces as well as staff members that control the number of visitors allowed on the property.
So as I got looking at the list of historic sites on the world heritage site I choose 1st one to be the Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. The Last Supper artwork was created by Leonardo di Vinci, whose work was "herald to a new era of art." This piece of artwork is known worldwide and has continued to be an inspiration for many artist. The second place is Venice and its lagoon. Venice is spread across the lagoon on 118 islands. The architect of the buildings are one of a kind, with many of the buildings containing works of art.
Shark Bay, Western Australia is home to a vast sea-grass bed and also five endangered mammals. This site is important to cultural heritage because if it were not protected we may loose some of those endangered species forever and that would be a great loss to society. Then there is Tsodilo in Botswana, it has been called the "Louvre of the Desert" and holds over 4,500 rock art paintings that are preserved in the desert. This art is part of our history and can give us a glimpse back into the past.
13 September 2010
1b. For my two world heritage sites, I'm choosing Mantua and Sabbioneta, which are in the Po Valley in northern Italy. Mantua is important to universal cultural heritage because it played a significant role in the start of the opera and opera is now performed by many different people. Sabbioneta is important to universal cultural heritage because of its Hebrew printing-press, which has allowed the Jewish to continue to practice their religion.
Make sure to view the Multimedia slideshow connected to this article.
http://italianpod.com/ (This is a good site--I subscribed for a few months and listened to their podcasts, but there's some free content available as well.)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/ (This is a site put together by the BBC in England; it has some nice resources.)
If you find other good resources, please share them with the group!