Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"Civilization" by Roger Osborne - Prologue

The Book of Isiah wasn't doing it for me so I decided to work on "Civilization" by Roger Osborne for awhile; This may be a mistake I have the feeling that this going to be one of those books that pisses me off.

Be that as it may I have decided to analyze each chapter as I go.

In the prologue Mr. Osborne asserts that the idea of civilization is a fiction dreamt up in the 18th century by intellectual elites seeking to explain the state of man. That there is in fact no intellectual tradition that defines the west as a culture and that our acceptance of the idea that there is is buying into a fraud.

As he discusses the subject of his book it becomes apparent (to me at least) that Mr. Osborne is not an admirer of western civilization, declaring that it breaks up communities and families in pursuit of cheaper goods. The only period about which he seems to have anything good to say is the counter-culture of the 60's for their rejection of materialism, and they get on his shit-list for selling out later in life.

This is only the prologue so my impression may change but so far I have the idea that Osborne would be much happier if we were all living in mud huts unable to read his book because writing hadn't been invented. Of course you should take all this with a grain of salt. I am not a historian and my opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Finished P. J. O'Rourke's "On the Wealth of Nations"

P. J. O'Rourke took Adam Smith's "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" and "Theory of Moral Sentiments" and broke them into bite sized pieces. Coupling that with an examination of Smith and the period in which he lived his book is readable and humorous (although not laugh out loud funny). Do I now think I have a complete understanding of Adam Smith? No. But, I have a better basis to finish his works and that's what I was looking for.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Selection 11 - Antigone

References: Sophocles Wikipedia Entry, Antigone Wikipedia Entry, Theban Plays Wikipedia Entry

Sources: Free at or

Discussion: The first of Sophocles Theban plays Antigone is also the most meaningful in my opinion. This play is a story of conflict, between the laws of men and the laws of the gods, between family and the state, and between the law and justice. Creon represents the state, and the law and is bullheaded, arrogant, and cruel. Antigone is the family, the gods and justice and while she is also bullheaded she is clearly in the right, and she is willing to die for that. The fact that she is undermines and ultimately destroys Creon's position and while she does die her victory serves a purpose in hopefully restoring Thebes.

Once again nothing new or spectacular in my analysis but it's another notch in the bookcase.

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