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All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age Paperback – August 9, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
But something about King Menelaus's admiration for his wife Helen has always intrigued me. At a feast in honor of Telemachus, Odysseus's son, Menelaus listens with rapt appreciation as his wife, Helen, the very Helen of Troy, recounts her passionate embrace of Paris, and her flight to Troy; she left Menelaus and their young child for this most famous of affairs. A decade-long war was fought to get her back. Now she is sitting beside Menelaus later in life recounting those days devoted to her passion? And he sits by admiring?
I've read the Odyssey many times, and I have always stubbed my toe on this scene. Shouldn't Menelaus react in rage? And why no shame from Helen? The two of them seem to exult in the memory of this costly betrayal. I have shaken my head at this passage, regarding it is a bizarre prelude to the main event, Odysseus's struggle to return home.
All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age, by Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly, opened my eyes. I was using the wrong standard to evaluate Helen's conduct: she swooned for Paris not as an act of betrayal to Menelaus, but because she had responded to Aphrodites's mood, eros. Paris shone, in her eyes, and those eyes were not beclouded with wayward lust, a Christian gloss. She responded to something stirring within and accessible to all, if they would but listen: even in our time we celebrate the sweetest passion.Read more ›
"The world used to be in its various forms, a world of sacred, shining things. The shining things now seem far away. This book is intended to bring them close once more. [. . .] Anyone who wants to lure back the shining things, to uncover the wonder we were once capable of experiencing, and to reveal a world that sometimes calls forth such a mood; anyone who is done with indecision and waiting, with expressionlessness and lostness and sadnes and angst, and who is ready for whatever it is that comes next; anyone with hope instead of despair, or anyone with despair that they would like to leave behind, can find something worthwhile in the pages ahead. Or at least that is what we intend.
The authors goal, in short, is to clear a path by which people can lure back the "merry May-day gods of old"--the sacred shining things--in order that they may thereby lead intense and meaningful lives, as the ancient Greeks once did. However, they are not interested in trying to recover anything supernatural; they are not, for example, interested in bringing back belief in a literally existing, supernatural Greek Goddess named "Aphrodite". They are instead interested in something that might be called a mood, or an attunement, that opens one to the world, and to a sacred dimension that once may have been understood as, and represented by a god or goddess: the erotic dimension and that which attunes one to it, being that which was once called "Aphrodite"; the aggressive, war-like dimension "Ares"; and so on.Read more ›
Ultimately, Hubert and Kelly seem too timid to engage in the controversial side of ontological thought--like Heidegger's maxim to "live dangerously" (see Zimmerman's excellent Heidegger's Confrontation with Modernity: Technology, Politics, and Art (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Technology).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has three parts, a beginning, a middle and an end--so far, so good and conventional. The middle part offers a (quick and dirty) philosophical view on select works of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Matthias Goertz
Packaged as an inspirational self-help book for highbrows, a survey of Western literature that reveals lost touchstones on how to live, this is hard not to simply label a fraud,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by William Adams
At the 50,000 foot level Sartre is right in that the question we all need to ask is--why not suicide. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jay Faulkner
Perhaps I fit perfectly into the intended audience for this book - a wandering, oft-confused college student with no sense of what is sacred and meaningful in modern day culture -... Read morePublished 5 months ago by SailsClark
Doesn't have an anti tip turn off in this device so unless you are going to turn it on and turn it off while always in the room the sense of unknown will be there. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Zack P.
Terrible book, bought it for a philosophy class at the University of Chicago but the book itself reveals nothing insightful and rambles on and on.Published 8 months ago by Liyuan Chen
On the one hand, this is an interesting book. Hubert Dreyfuss and Sean Dorrance Kelly begin with a very interesting take on the Homeric gods, have a long analysis of "Moby... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Clay Kallam
All Things Shining has found a permanent place on my reading table.....with a handful of other books. Read morePublished 11 months ago by John Hook / Dale E. Knight