Odysseus as an exemplar

The tragic man affirms even the harshest suffering: he is sufficiently strong, rich and capable to do so.”
– Nietzsche, The Will to Power

Homer’s Odyssey is the classic tale of errantry. Set after the Trojan War and The IliadOdyssey is the story of its eponymous character’s adventures as he tries to return home. For ten years Odysseus faces adversity of mythic proportions: being trapped in the Cyclops’ cave; avoiding the monstrous Scylla; being strapped to mast to hear the sirens; being held as a sex-slave by a demi-goddess; a brief sojourn to the underworld. And, of course, being caught up in the schemes of the Olympians at almost every turn. In his fantastic adventures we find the wisdom of the ancients.

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The hermeneutics of suspicion

The term “hermeneutics of suspicion” was coined by Paul Ricoeur to describe a critical, interpretative methodology of several 19th century philosophers including Nietzsche, Freud and Marx. Despite obvious differences in content, Ricoeur identified a similarity in approach. The object of suspicious hermeneutics is to unmask, to dig beneath the surface and to discover hidden truths. The hermeneutics of suspicion also conveys an intense scepticism of any commonly held views. Indeed, it can be described as looking at everything, especially that which is highly praised, with a jaded eye — not simply cynicism for the sake of cynicism, but to reveal what lies beneath.

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Practical virtue ethics

The last stage of the labouring society, the society of job holders, demands of its members a sheer automatic functioning, as though individual life had actually been submerged in the over-all life process of the species and the only active decision still required of the individual were to let go, so to speak, to abandon his individuality, the still individually sensed pain and trouble of living, and acquiesce in a dazed, ‘tranquillised’, functional type of behaviour.
– Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

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Why I always carry a notebook

Pen and paper may seem a little quaint in this day and age. After all, if you’ve got an iPad or a Surface Pro or a smartphone, what need have you for a scrappy little exercise book? They’re not ‘tech chic’ and won’t connect to wikipedia or take photos. But the humble pen and notepad is the far greater accessory.

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Discourse: Urban Techwear

“Clothes make the man”

Much of Shakespeare has transcended quotation and become proverb. This line from Polonius (strictly speaking he says “for the apparel oft proclaims the man”), the fool in Hamlet, accompanies another of Shakespeare’s proverbs: “to thine own self be true”. Perhaps Polonius recognised the tension between these lines, for he surely never followed his own advice.

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