By Bertrand Russell
Because its first e-book in 1945? Lord Russell's A historical past of Western Philosophy has been universally acclaimed because the amazing one-volume paintings at the topic — exceptional in its comprehensiveness, its readability, its erudition, its grace and wit. In seventy-six chapters he lines philosophy from the increase of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical research within the 20th century. one of the philosophers thought of are: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Atomists, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Cynics, the Sceptics, the Epicureans, the Stoics, Plotinus, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Gregory the nice, John the Scot, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, Machiavelli, Erasmus, extra, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Utilitarians, Marx, Bergson, James, Dewey, and finally the philosophers with whom Lord Russell himself is such a lot heavily linked — Cantor, Frege, and Whitehead, co-author with Russell of the huge Principia Mathematica.
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On the one hand the purposes of the community are enforced upon the individual, and, on the other hand the individual, having acquired the habit of viewing his life as a whole, increasingly sacrifices his present to his future. It is evident that this process can be carried too far, as it is, for instance, by the miser. But without going to such extremes, prudence may easily involve the loss of some of the best things in life. The worshipper of Bacchus reacts against prudence. In intoxication, physical or spiritual, he recovers an intensity of feeling which prudence had destroyed; he finds the world full of delight and beauty, and his imagination is suddenly liberated from the prison of every-day preoccupations.
All this superstition was still flourishing in classical times. * Pan, whose original name was "Paon," meaning the feeder or shepherd, acquired his better known title, interpreted as meaning the All-God, when his worship was adopted by Athens in the fifth century, after the Persian war. â€ There was, however, in ancient Greece, much that we can feel to have been religion as we understand the term. This was connected, not with the Olympians, but with Dionysus, or Bacchus, whom we think of most naturally as the somewhat disreputable god of wine and drunkenness.
To the Orphic, life in this world is pain and weariness. We are bound to a wheel which turns through endless cycles of birth and death; our true life is of the stars, but we are tied to earth. Only by purification and renunciation and an ascetic life can we escape from the wheel and attain at last to the ecstasy of union with God. This is not the view of men to whom life is easy and pleasant. It is more like the Negro spiritual: I'm going to tell God all of my troubles When I get home. Not all of the Greeks, but a large proportion of them, were passionate, unhappy, at war with themselves, driven along one road by the intellect and along another by the passions, with the imagination to conceive heaven and the wilful self-assertion that creates hell.