I love good conversation. I love the classics, philosophy, poetry, art, and literature, and write on these topics here.
I'm particularly fond of Aristotle and Heidegger, and with "premodern thinking" -that is, thinking which questions the "progress" of the modern age.
I do not say that I like to "question" things, because the many of the people who say that pride themselves on "take nothing on authority" or "believe nothing," and I would not wish to characterize myself that way. Rather, I am interested in a more progressive questioning: a questioning which attempts to get to the basis of that which we thought we understood, but now find ourselves in a state of confusion about.
Great picture I found while browsing Wikipedia.
“Women surrounded by posters in English and Yiddish supporting Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert H. Lehman, and the American Labor Party teach other women how to vote, 1935.”
Depicted here are a number of friends of Manet as well as a number of artists, musicians, and authors including Manet himself and Charles Baudelaire, although I am not sure where they are in the picture. An early example of Manet’s style, Music in the Tuileries hangs in the London National Gallery.
“It is reported that over the last six years, 12 Israelis have been killed by the rocket attacks. This is horrible. Each person is precious and each death is horrifying. But this does not compare to the thousands upon thousands of Palestinian deaths caused by the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and to more than forty years of brutal occupation. Thousands of Palestinians are imprisoned in Israeli detention centers where there is reported use of torture. People die at Israeli checkpoints because they cannot get to medical facilities. Palestinians are being denied water, food and medical supplies. Palestinians have to endure continual attacks by jets, helicopters and drones used for assassinations (which are illegal by international law) that also kill many civilians. According to Chris Hedges (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19127.htm), since 2000, 1033 Israelis have died and 4,437 Palestinian have died from this conflict. 119 of these deaths were Israeli children and 971 have been Palestinian children. All these deaths are a waste of life, but these numbers also show that the fault is not equal between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically-cleanse Palestinians.
Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army… and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder.
When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense.
Keep a stack in your pocket and pull them out and flip through them whenever you’re looking for something to do (e.g., when you’re waiting on a train, sitting on the train, bored at a bar or club, whatever). You should pronounce the word when you see it, either out loud or in your head.
Eventually, it becomes systematized. When you want to add a word to your vocabulary, go home, look it up, and add it to your stack of flashcards. Words shouldn’t leave your stack of cards until they actually enter your vocabulary and you can use them and recognize them without having to think about it.
I use different colors for each part of speech (green for verbs, yellow for nouns, etc).
You can also use an online program like Anki which will make and sort your flashcards for you. I prefer having physical cards with me, but will use this program on occasion also. It is available for iphone and droid, as well.
Whenever I want to test my knowledge of a subject, I’ve started using the following thought experiment:
I imagine myself to be designing the syllabus for a course on the topic. I imagine my audience to be high school students with a similar background to my own. I run through, in my head, the way the course would go, what questions they would ask, how I would introduce the topic, how I would make it interesting for them, what homework I would assign, etc.
I first started using this thought experiment with History and Philosophy. Now that I’m learning German, I imagine how I would go about teaching a German course. It’s a really good way to get an assessment of your knowledge of a topic, and it can help you see things about a topic that you’ve never seen before.
I believe that if you can’t explain something from the ground up you don’t know it. I try to hold myself to that standard for every subject.