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July 28, 2009

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Love your comments, Phil. I don't agree that it is soothing to know we've been making the same mistakes for 2,500 years - I wish we were progressing to new mistakes! But I certainly agree that joy is possible in hard times, and the joys of learning in community are sweet indeed.

I think it was all inevitable. Greed had a lot to do with it. It had to happen.

Phil Terry Sr

I love the way you express yourself...so readable and understandable. I will look forward to participating in some of the events.

In a recession, or depression, culture - the arts generally - are more important than ever. Spiritual resources like the works of Herodotus and Aristotle can help us carry out Socrates's injunction to live the examined life. Phil, your Reading Odyssey project is simply the best possible tonic, and what you say especially in para 3) above hits the spot - thanks!

Phil,
I enjoyed the comments. Reading these works have been very rewarding. The issues of the past have great relevance in today's work and have helped me reflect more deeply on current issues. The concept of philosophy-loving wisdom-has so much more meaning to me now.
Frank

Seeing that joy in hard times through these books is a great reminder to us the every moment that it is up to us to make the most out of our lives. Great stuff

really reminds that we humans really have hard heads and require several lessons to learn from our mistakes!!!! but I loved that part where it talks about having joy in hard times.....
very inspiring!
;)

Phil, Thanks so much for this reminder, and for creating the Reading Odyssey, the community where those who share the values and curiosity you mention, can gather and discuss the great texts.

I think it is fascinating that humans retain so little from - or choose to foret the past. And yet we know, as Antonio says in "The Tempest"

"Past is prologue."

The current conflicts in Macedonia and surrounding areas are first described in Herodotus. The conflicts in Iran and the result - in part - of western political boundaries mapped over ancient tribal lands - again first described by the early historians. At the end of WWII, did the leaders and diplomats drawing the boudaries read the Historians? I for one am illuminated by reading these texts, and the experience becomes transformational listening to my fellow readers - serious, dedicated, from all walks of life, and passionate about reading and learning.

I'm absolutely convinced that one of the reasons we do repeat the mistakes of the past is because not enough people making crucial decisions have internalized the mistakes of the past, which they could easily do by reading and re-reading the classics. I'm also convinced that if I didn't have this community of other readers I would not be reading these amazing works. That is motivation enough, but in reading with a group I get so much more out of the works because of the diversity of opinion and insight of the community. Reading a great work alone is like trying to climb a mountain alone. Why add to the struggle?

Phil,
I couldn't agree more with your comments. I especially like number 4 (and so I agree with Bruce, above). Reading the books is one half of the coin. The discussions are the other half.

Sharing our thoughts as a community has really impacted the way I think. I am repeatedly surprised by the insights of my fellow readers and I am routinely introduced to perspectives that hadn't occurred to me. I don't always agree, of course, but that's part of the point: we're trying to learn and understand, not win. That's a lesson that most leaders could use.

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