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All Things Shining: Reading The Western Classics To Find Meaning In A Secular Age (2011)

by Hubert L. Dreyfus(Favorite Author)
3.6 of 5 Votes: 4
1439101701 (ISBN13: 9781439101704)
Free Press
review 1: A nice short book combining philosophy and interpretation of some of the classics. I'm not much of a reader of philosophy because it has always seemed excessively abstract and unverifiable, so 225 pages of it, all relating back to famous books, was the right amount and approach for me. One of my primary reactions to the book is that there are a lot of great books that I have never opened. The more I read, the more I realize how much I don't know.The overall message of the book is that we should allow ourselves to get swept up in moods as the Homeric Greeks would, while keeping in mind that not all moods are a good thing. The other (related) conclusion is that we should try to find as much meaning as we can in every day rituals. The two examples that the authors use ar... moree sporting events, which they identify as a modern-day collective religious experience (this analogy made a lot of sense to me one day after watching Alabama win the SEC title), and drinking morning coffee. The authors draw a distinction between the process of finding meaning in objects and rituals on the one hand and David Foster Wallace's idea of trying to find meaning in the annoyances of modern life (like being stuck behind an idiot in the checkout line of a supermarket) on the other hand. The authors think that the latter is nihilistic and puts too much emphasis on people as individuals who control their own reality, but it's a little hard to explain a hard and fast line between the two.There's a great section early in the book that compares a scene in the Odyssey with the scene in Pulp Fiction where a guy jumps out and unloads a pistol at Jules and Vincent, missing them with all six shots. Jules sees divine intervention; Vincent sees a random event. They use those scenes to illustrate two different ways to try to find meaning (or not find meaning) in reality.
review 2: Great insight of the link between famous works of literature and their reflection and influence of how and wherefrom the society in which they were written finds meaning. A must read for lovers of philosophy and literature. The authors are both college professors who have used their own research and lecture notes to write this book, but are able to be present the content cogently enough for readers who aren't philosophy nerds. I really enjoyed this one less
Reviews (see all)
Couldn't finish, too dense and philosophical, but I did learn something new about Christianity.
One of the most formative books I've read. This book turned me back onto philosophy.
I think it was provoking but again, not really remembering it 6 months later
I liked it ok. But I disagree with their criticism of David Foster Wallace.
Great read!
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