Friday, June 27, 2008

Why bad things happen to good people

Current reading — Seneca, Moral Essays, vol 1 from The Daily Goose by Matthew

Seneca is among the most well-known Stoic philosophers. He is also rightly considered a Grammarian — one who attempts to discern, organize, and elucidate the basic principles at the heart of the human condition. I have just started his first volume of Moral Essays.

I decided to read Seneca because having absorbed more of Marshall McLuhan’s doctoral dissertation for Cambridge University, called The Classical Trivium, a tract that persuasively argues that the arena of the Humanities, past and present, would greatly benefit from complete overhaul in favor of a system that sees it as one of arguments between Grammarians, Dialecticians, and Rhetoricians (and a system sympatico with ancient wisdom and learning), it was clear that Seneca’s works are simply must-know material. Which would surprise no one with even a passing familiarity with Seneca.

And see here, how the first of his Moral Essays is called “On Providence” and takes up the problem of why bad things happen to good people. I immediately think of The Book of Job, and connect immediately that it and Seneca’s first essay are in conversation. If there isn’t a high school or college Humanities course that close-reads both works, and compares their insights and arguments, there damn well should be. But, if not, who needs college when we can do this ourselves on our own time. And, as fine artists, do up something aesthetic of what we find and reflect.

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