Literary Commentary, Philosophy, Psychology

Human Virtues and the Meaning of Life: Rousseau vs. Frankl

I’ve had “Discourse on the Arts and Sciences” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau on my “currently reading” shelf for the longest time, and just a few weeks ago I had a little reading inspiration so I decided to finish it. Turns out I only had several pages to go anyway. Then, I was recommended “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl to read, and I did, and I loved it. Since I happened to read both these rather philosophical and psychological books (I label them as both because it seems that they have a bit of both in them) back-to-back, I noticed that they both discuss very similar topics: human virtue, the arts and sciences, and the purpose of life. However, interestingly, Rousseau and Frankl contradict on some concepts, which I want to discuss today, while also attempting to organize some of my thoughts about each. [Click to read more]

Book Review, Philosophy, Psychology

Wow: “Nation” by Terry Pratchett

So, to get the basics out of the way: I loved this book. It was absolutely captivating (though it did fall short in some respects, which I'll describe below), and it had so many gems of comedical as well as insightful passages sprinkled throughout. The characters were incredibly dynamic, too. Overall this is a complex piece of art that I regard with the same wondrous and mystified respect one might regard, say, the Egyptian pyramids. (And as you may or may not see, Pratchett's writing style is already rubbing off on me, which is a way of confirming that yes, it was really good.) [Click to read more]

Philosophy, Religion

The Case for Non-Theism: The Strengths of Buddhism

There are two things all religions seem to know for certain: 1. God is Good. 2. We are all a part of God’s masterfully orchestrated plan. Everything that happens is meant to happen. I’ve always puzzled over the idea of destiny. Everything that we are, or will be - has already been predetermined by a supreme being. God is all-knowing. God is good. God has plans for us. Even though this is what all religions teach, I didn’t like the sound of it. By this principle, we have no freedom of choice or free will, because our destiny is fixed. [Click to read more]

Literary Commentary

The Backbone of “Blue Bouquet”: An Analysis of Literary Style

We read "Blue Bouquet" by Octavio Paz a while ago in my English class, and I wrote a response to the following assignment: Respond to any specific aspect of the story that you feel is an important part of the story (Character, setting, symbol, central metaphor, conflict) or a central idea (theme) in the text. Identify and explain examples in your paper to help develop your ideas. Use a structured, paragraphed approach to your discussion. I decided to tackle a more unconventional topic: the stylistic components of the text and how they develop the story from a story-engineering perspective. [Click to read more]

Literary Commentary

“Vicious” and Morality

This book was packed with some pretty heavy moral questions, as its main underlying theme was the fight between evil and "less-evil". We've got Victor on the one hand, who's clearly an introvert with no "good intentions" to look out for others or help others, but incredibly smart and ambitious. Then there's Eli, the popular but smart and (also) ambitious one. At first, they're both united by a shared intelligence and passion in college. But what happens when their situation changes, and they both obtain supernatural powers really shows their true colours in ways that makes you question who is truly, morally right. [Click to read more]