Friday, January 7, 2011

What is hot on 7 January 2011

Words That Shimmer
Poetry is something many of us seem to be hungry for these days. We're hungry for fresh ways to tell hard truths and redemptive stories, for language that would elevate and embolden rather than demean and alienate. Elizabeth Alexander shares her sense of what poetry works in us -- and in our children -- and why it may become more relevant, not less so, in hard and complicated times.
(review, feed)

Clinton impeachment
On January 7 1999 the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton began in the US senate. His press secretary at the time, tells Witness about the politics behind the Lewinsky scandal.
(review, feed)

Nuclear Power
In this episode we learn about the history and future of nuclear power, in the U.S. and abroad.
(review, feed)

KQED - all things shining

Three days ago the radio program KQED Forum with Michael Krasny had a conversation with Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly about their book All Things Shining; Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age.

In podcast we know Dreyfus and Kelly from their philosophy lecture series on Heidegger. The work they have done at UC Berkeley in teaching a course, year in year out, about the meaning of being and how this can be learned from reading classical literature has found its way to this book. Dreyfus and Kelly count as the leading existentialist philosophers today and this, obviously, is the framework in which this book should be understood.

Here is a tiny hint I can give: the question of the meaning of life can also be framed as: what makes life worthwhile, or what is the good life. Dreyfus and Kelly draw our attention to peak experiences that we have from time to time. When what we do or undergo is especially elevated in some way, when our lives acquire an additional shine - hence the title 'all things shining'. They want to argue that this shining is what counts and that our intent in life, as well as our dedication should be directed to it. Yet, in a modern age things seem to shine less. As if the shining is more of a thing of magic, or sacredness, or non-repeatable singularity which apparently is less accessible in the secular, demystified and rational world, or at least within the framework of monotheism.

I find it not so easy to catch the idea, but I was very inspired by the show on KQED and can tell it is at least much more accessible than the courses Dreyfus and Kelly teach. I feel like buying and close reading the book after this as well.

More KQED Forum:
The Iranian Elections,
Irvin Yalom,
Susan Jacoby,
Christopher Hitchins.

See also:
Heidegger in podcast - news