Hello, I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. I’m 35 years old and just lost my younger brother to complications after Brain Tumor Surgery. He was a self-taught man who knew much about the Humanities. He took it upon himself to read the classics while I was preoccupied with sports. I cannot begin to describe the loss and the pain I endure on a daily basis. I am completely stuck on the age-old question, What is the meaning of life? The only comfort I get at the present time is to educate myself in more of the great works. I stumbled across your site and it has brought me much comfort. I have made it my home page. I just wanted to say Thank you very much. Tim
Mycha (Princeton, NJ), 10/4/04
If you lack a general liberal education and would like to fill that gap, you may have noticed that it’s very easy to get lost. Pick any topic and you are faced with an overwhelming number of classical texts, authors and theories, each requiring a large investment of time and energy to understand and appreciate. What would be really helpful is a high-level overview of entire areas of study, and, incredibly, this very slim book attempts to provide just that. Of course, you won’t find any detailed analysis of any texts... just a few paragraphs per major work... but overall the book is incredibly easy to read and presents often impenetrably abstract ideas in a comprehensive and entertaining manner. Highly recommended! (posted on Amazon)
“Ma Blue”, 6/23/12 This world of GENIUSES you showed is so beautiful. The ride was really amazing.
Sean (Columbus, OH), 10/7/13
Your site is a real treasure, your Journey is inspiring, and your views are solid & daring (And, not just because I am finding we share so many).... I truly LOVE your site, your books, and I am only about halfway through devouring all of this wonderful “One-stop shop” of stimulating fun. The Philosophy of Today and its synthesis of Philo/Lit/Psychology/History and the lot, really re-ignites a love of learning and a love of life for me right now, and in some new unique ways.... I’ve never felt so akin to such an all-encompassing, solid, flexible, thorough, evolving philosophy or way to look at and experience life.
I’m always very glad to see another issue of Phlit in my mailbox. Honestly, I have never been a huge fan of Beowulf, but I’d still read it again if we could have a reading group here like yours!
Chris K., 9/13/07
Great great essay from 2005 on the sonnets, Goethe and much more. Really enjoyed your ideas and will come back....
After reading the article on the sonnets, I stayed at your site and read several more articles. Nothing disappointed me. I like your wide breadth of knowledge. I like your balanced and calm presentation of arguments. I like your choice of subjects. I want to read every back issue of the newsletter.
Jim F., 10/6/03
Your influence continues to reach me and my family. Two weeks ago I finally went out and bought Jung’s autobiography (on your recommendation).... My married daughter visited us Friday night and asked how I was liking Jung’s book. I told her I was enamored with the account of his vision, and she replied that when I was finished, she hoped I would lend it to her.
Your blog (table talk) is consistently interesting, infectiously readable, and prompts me to seek out more and more of your book recommendations. Thank you, as always. [Note: technically, I don’t write a blog, Vince is referring to my e-zine.]
I discovered Conversations With Great Thinkers this past March. I typed “a conversation with great thinkers” into Google one night out of desperation because I was not finding a suitable mentor at college. I wished that I could talk to the great thinkers about my situation and seek their input.
Your book was an essential source of support and guidance as my instincts swiftly resumed a front-and-center role in my life and thoughts (after being relegated to the side for a year and a half). It also gave additional strength to my deepening objections to the academic approach and the prioritization of public reality over private reality. It stimulated my thinking by providing me with fresh insights.
Your articles are very interesting. I enjoy reading them very much. If I was in America I would join your reading group.
Can I buy a copy of your book “book of aphorisms” from you after it is issued? Or can you tell me if the book will be issued in Australia?
Thanks in anticipation.
Today I was in a despondent mood and ran a Google search. I came across your webpage via your writing on the “Death-instinct.” Being a history enthusiast, I quickly became immersed in your narrative and eventually found myself feeling much better. I could go into detail on why that occurred, but I sit here in my cubicle at a state agency in Austin, Texas, and must continue with my rather mundane bureaucratic duties.... Thank you for your voluminous, stimulating website.
I find your newsletters truly extraordinary sources of philosophical and literary thought and am very grateful for your generous sharing of them with us! I also think that you are one of the most unsung scholars and thinkers around today!
I am entering solitude in 3 days to study Latin and philosophy for a year.... I consider you to have a rare gift of wisdom and have written down many of your comments in my personal journal.
I came across your website looking for something to send our new office administrator who insisted that Western culture was essentially devoid of any spirituality. [I] am pleased to find your thoughts lead me in a logical progression of culture and philosophy throughout the ages. I’ve long been interested in philosophy (and religion) and your jottings are very enlightening.... I like how you take philosophy to be a “way of life,” and not just abstract dialogue.... Just as you discovered Eastern spirituality one night on TV, I’d like to introduce you to Islamic spirituality by way of the teachings of Shia Islam.... The real spirit of Islam — a far cry from the ignorant bloodshed prevalent in many parts of the Muslim world today — is best reflected in the holy Imams from Muhammad’s family whom Muhammad deputed to be his successors, peace be upon them all.
This is just a quick note to say your essay is one of the best things about the JFK assassination I’ve ever read. Great insight from a psychological point of view.
Jim F., 9/27/01
You impress me with sound reason balanced by spiritual values. I will forward this to a few friends whom I know will appreciate your insights.... Keep up the good work. I do believe it makes a difference.
[Perhaps the most flattering messages I’ve received are those that ask “why haven’t I received your e-zine recently? When is the next issue coming out?” Here’s one such message:] Hopefully you are just taking a deserved hiatus from writing your newsletter and that you and your family are well.
Please don’t let any negative comments concerning what you write stop the newsletter. You are certainly more conservative in your view than I, but I look forward to each issue. As a college biology instructor at a junior college, you expand my horizons in philosophy and literature.
Once, you made mention of a subscription price for Phlit, but you did so kind of tongue-in-cheek. If you were serious I am willing to contribute. Phlit is well worth it to me.
I recently came across your site through a Google search, and read your essay on genius, which was very interesting. I am thrilled to find someone who appreciates great philosophy “as a method of living, a set of values, not as a purely intellectual exercise.” That is the type of philosophy that should be taught in the academy, but which isn’t — except perhaps by philosophers like Williams and MacIntyre.
Your stuff is great. You definitely know more about philosophy and have more interesting ideas than any of my professors at UC Davis or UC San Diego. It’s a tragedy that someone like you can’t get a wider audience. A sad commentary on today’s intellectual culture.
Also: have you ever checked out Colin Wilson’s stuff? He became famous in England for The Outsider which he published in his early 20s and came out in the 1950s. I’ve been reading his autobiography Dreaming To Some Purpose. He is also a big believer in “the occult”. He wrote of his book Beyond the Occult:
“I tried to put everything about mysticism and the paranormal I had learned in the past 20 years [into it]. I regard it as my best book” (Dreaming To Some Purpose, p. 347).
Many thanks for your great web-site. I just discovered it and it has made my day. I look forward to reading more and more. I too have had a fascination with Greek culture and Nietzsche but also Indian culture and philosophy, psychology and literature in general. I want to get your books. Please add me to your e-list.
Amrit (India), 4/10/00
I’ve been getting your newsletter for quite some time, and by “getting” I mean, I read it with awe.
Your writing on “Roots” really enchanted me, although, “enchanted” is not the right word but I can’t think of something else :-) right now. I want to use it as it is in my newsletter. I have just started a newsletter for writers.... I have a feeling that your article could bring a sense of quality to my next issue, and it will give me immense satisfaction. So please don’t say No. I’ll give you full credit.
Just a short note to say how valuable i found your pages. Without reservation i can say that they are the most illuminating, not to mention, concise and clear, pages i have yet found on the web. I chanced upon them in a general search, but have returned again, and again.
I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate you not just for their style and content, but also for the generosity that prompted you to put them on-line.
I’ve been a reader since ’04, I’ve in a sense grown up with you. I am deeply sorry to hear that your wife has passed. The eulogy you wrote was touching, very restrained. I believe in an after-life, and I pray for your wife. I hope that means something to you! You have my deepest sympathy.
Chris (Canada), 2/6/07
I love your website! I visit it all the time because I find your ideas so interesting. I too am fascinated by the occult (though I’ve had very little personal experience with the occult). I’m more and more convinced that occult beliefs are perfectly compatible with a scientific worldview, indeed are NECESSARY if the discoveries of modern physicists and biologists are to coalesce and cohere. Newton’s paradigm is woefully obsolete, and even Einstein wasn’t a radical enough thinker.
Last year, I stumbled on a couple of fascinating websites I think you’d enjoy. One is THE QUANTUM NIETZSCHE, maintained by Dr. William Plank. Unfortunately, the text of his book of the same name is no longer available for free on his website, but the book, I can promise you, is well worth reading by anyone and everyone with an interest in Nietzsche, and an interest in how quantum physics up-end old notions of “reality” and “truth”. I don’t think you’ll be shocked by anything Plank writes, but I do think he gives alternative means of tying together the various themes you keep revisiting in your essays. (You can also read portions of THE QUANTUM NIETZSCHE at Google Books, which excerpts various passages from the book.) Here’s a link to Plank’s homepage (make sure to check out his essay entitled “The Implications of Quantum Non-locality...”): http://www.msubillings.edu/CASFaculty/Plank/.
The other website I came across, completely by chance, is even more fascinating and thought-provoking. It’s called PERCEPTIONS, and the author, one Ray Dickenson, is a brilliant man, a true original. Read what Dickenson calls his UEF theory (unified energy field): if this theory is substantially correct, then there simply IS no valid objection to “the occult,” to “mysticism,” to mental telepathy or what you call “action at a distance” or “mutual arising”, etc., etc. Here’s the link (and make sure to check out his Index at the top of the page for links to all sorts of fascinating essays): http://www.perceptions.couk.com. Best wishes!
I wanted to say thank you for your site, and your book.... Brilliant people sometimes seek to prove how smart they are, more than to do anything with their brilliance. You seem to be the exact opposite.... [you] have no interest in proving that you’re smart, instead seeking to help others learn as well. I have yet to read a sentence you’ve written that makes me think “this guy’s trying too hard.” Conversely, I can’t get through a paragraph of the DFWs of the literary world, because it seems like all they’re trying to do is prove how smart they are.
Thank you for this. Steve Jobs’ death caused me to question the nature of genius and this was an excellent resource. I wasn’t convinced of all the theories, but I was certainly educated and even entertained.
I read the material on your site for about two hours and found it very helpful and refreshing. Your simple writing style reflects the clear understanding that academic writers lack. I am now encouraged to read Jung.... We have similar backgrounds -- much Eastern and primitive thought, but I have not dismissed Institutional Religion as you have in the first paragraph of your manifesto. There is a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to be found there -- and one does not have to reject Jung or Nietzsche to find it.
Hi. I’m from Beirut, Lebanon. I’ve stumbled upon your sight while searching for comparative essays on Nietzsche and Zen. I have been reading Nietzsche for several years. A few months ago I read Watts’ book Nature, Man and Woman, and, afterwards, The Way of Zen. The way I thought and perceived the world utterly changed, and I’ve been overwhelmed by new feelings ever since. One of the first effects I noticed was the release of the strain on my forehead; a strain which I did not even notice that it was there. It was impossible to read Nietzsche afterwards. What Zen offers is incalculably more valuable although it practically amounts to nothing special. Your book, Conversations With Great Thinkers, sounds very interesting. I will soon purchase it. This here abode of yours is very lovely.
Anthony (Tony), 5/8/04
Mr Hammond I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts, insights and data as presented on your masterful website. I enjoy the style of your writing very much. Your writing is lucid and provides one of the most readable humanities websites I have ever encountered. Your recommendations regarding further reading of the subjects presented and the tips regarding abridged versions do indeed provide a valuable “map” to follow. After spending what seems countless hours reading some text and waiting to find “the beef” I have too often come away chagrined at the realization that there was in fact no beef to be found. Thank you for blazing the trail for many of us who will certainly make use of your suggestions. May I take the liberty of offering another website, much like your own for your perusal? I have made much use of a website called ‘Bluepete’ located at http://www.blupete.com/index.htm. Thanks once again for sharing your great website.
Jie (Long Island, NY), 10/7/09
I started reading your book yesterday and liked it very much. I think it is a perfect book for [my daughter] because she was looking for a road map leading to comprehensive classic literatures.... The nicest thing about your book is that it is a reference book in some way but the rich content makes it an enjoyable book to read, truly a rare combination.... Your book is one of the very few serious books that I am eager to read as soon as I have time.
Dave (North Carolina), 10/11/09
I am enjoying your new book very much. The only problem is that it generates the desire to follow a thread to more reading about the subject — ha. I have to stay focused and finish your book first! It’s really quite handy for a quick read.
[On the Inca Trail essay:] Your writing is crystal-clear and smooth as silk. I would love to hear from you as a travel writer!
That was a beautiful essay you wrote about your father. It was very inspiring to know he existed. I’m sorry he is gone, but I bet he would be touched by this essay, and the lovingly detailed memories you’ve shared with us in his honor.
Enjoyed your story very much. I was looking for some real insight into a vacation to England. Your trip sounded wonderful. Thanks for sharing!
Harry Keyishian, 6/5/05
I was very happy to see that my article on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was of use to you and your reading group. Your piece was very informative.
Interesting, well thought out, challenging. I liked the “what would we think if we sat atop the mountain” discussion. Please keep writing.
Last night I was talking with my significant other. The topic of conversation: the death of philosophy. My boyfriend suggested that philosophy has become extremely specialized, and really, there were no more philosophers per se. In fact, he suggested the only real, practicing philosophers we had any more were day-time-talk show hosts.
I said, well, what about this person, Jim Hammond? I described your work and newsletters to him and he speculated there was maybe just you, and that was it!
Vince, San Diego, 5/2/08
I love reading your newsletter. I’m an old English major and voracious reader, especially in literature, history and philosophy. It’s invigorating to find someone who shares the same loves. Thank you!
Thanks Jim for your inspirational e-mails. I shall be using some of your ideas on Jung with some of my AS Philosophy students on Monday afternoon at a large rural comprehensive school in Devon, UK.
Everyone captivated by Jung — got them all interested — thanks.
Please would you place a student of mine... on your mailing list.
It’s really great to hear from you and I know my student... will be blown away by your ideas. Thank you for all the hard work that you put into the newsletter — it is appreciated.
I appreciate the directness, the honesty, the clarity; not to mention the nuggets of wisdom tossed to the crowd along the way. So, in two words, thank you.
I am Icelandic (40), and I accidentally found your website.... For 8 months now I have taken time off to write a story which takes place in Reykjavik, Iceland, and the central themes are existential, philosophical, religious. Basically I’m expressing my intuitive and intellectual strong feeling on ‘where we are, are going, and should go’ in a way that corresponds amazingly with what you express on your web page, and took me by a big surprise....
But I am really not trying to be kind although I do enjoy to be kind. Only sending you back the true spark that I found in your written thoughts and fascinations with the greatest thinkers, and creative minds in history, which to me you seem to understand better than most....
Your approach and attitude corresponds to how I think most of these people would do things themselves. Communicate fearlessly and clearly without the fuss of too much protocol and pretension.... Anyway, this is enough for now. But again: Thank you, first of all for your work, your page, and your fight for — and defending of ‘real’ philosophy, and creative thought in general. I love reading your deep, intelligent thoughts in your crystal clear English.
I thought I knew Poe, a favorite of mine, until I read your piece on him. My appreciation of him was at best shallow and at worst misinformed. Thank you for the latest newspaper. Great stuff.
I’m just past the midway point of A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking. While I do find the subject and author fascinating, I must admit that I find the work difficult more often than I would like to admit. By contrast, I find it hard to explain how refreshing it is to read your writing. Your extensive knowledge on so many disciplines and obvious genius is frankly mind-boggling. I’ve never seen or heard of anything like it. I think what you have assembled may only be appreciated some time in the future.
You sound like you’re on the path to... something that can’t quite be put in words! And yet here you are, putting it in words. I wonder what will you find at the end of your journey? Because that’s what the book reads like to me so far.
You wrote: “Most people today never become truly educated — even if they graduate from college. Colleges today emphasize vocational training instead of education in the humanities.” That’s correct! I got a scientific education in France and although I read a lot I have to admit that I have difficulty grasping many of the Intellectuals’ concepts and ideas. Also, new concepts and ideas in philosophy are proposed from all around the world, and I would be glad if your newsletters can be a source of information. I found your website 6 or 7 years ago while browsing... A nice piece of work!
Vince R., 12/29/14
I read your newsletter as if you’re sitting next to me and talking to me. And your table talk, for my money, is second to none. Loved the discourse and deconstruction of Pinker.
I just read your essay of the dispute between analytic and non-analytic philosophy and I completely agree with you. I’m currently an undergraduate in philosophy at the University of West Florida.... I’ve been having some issues with my analytic-minded professors lately. It is definitely not the philosophy that I am interested in. From your categories, I would place myself firmly into Street Philosopher. Just wanted you to know that I enjoyed reading it and intend to pass the link on to my like-minded peers.
Read with great interest your... piece on the idea of life-enhancement, and fell in love with the little account of Yeats and Clark.... I wrote a poem from it.
We have recently added Look Homeward, Angel to our library based on your comments about Wolfe.
Really really thank you for this wonderful newsletter! It is always a pleasure to receive it, though I do not always get to read it, but at least it keeps my curiosity warm.:)
I was just stumbling around the internet, and I happened upon your dispute about analytic vs. other philosophers.
A very interesting piece. I am an undergraduate philosophy student, and my professors have always divided American philosophy into analytic vs. continental, where analytic relies on logic and reason, and continental, while not discussed much, is generally described as postmodern fluff. I have always felt that this was a false dichotomy. I am an admirer of both Thoreau and Emerson, but I also enjoy discussing the logic underlying the Frege vs. Mill theories of names.
Thanks for your lovely travelogue. We are going to the Cotswolds over the Easter break and would be covering most parts of it by public transport. However, your reflections on the villages/towns we plan to visit were very informative. We too did a three-day trip to Cambridge and loved it.
My most sincere condolences regarding your loss. I read your touching, beautiful eulogy that made me feel as if I knew your wife, myself. Your family, you, and your wife will be in my prayers. Your wife was a lucky woman to have a husband who clearly loves her with all his being. Take care, and I am so sorry.
Reading your excellent site. Impressed that you regard Hoffer as a sound philosopher, even more impressed why.
What do you think of Herbert Marcuse and his polymorphous perversity?....
p.s. Learned a lot from your two descriptions of life in China.
I ran across your fascinating site last night and have spent a good deal of time with it.... I love your little, “popular” essays on writers, philosophers, and so on. Academics naturally have a fit over them because they make things too “easy” ....I expect that you think of Wittgenstein as an analytic philosopher. I find him useful and inspiring as an original thinker for his approach. Once you read him, you can never think, or write, the same way again. His mathematics is WAY beyond me, so I have to hunt and glean. Oh, what made me think of Wittgenstein is your recent reading of The Golden Bough. Wittgenstein’s Remarks on the Golden Bough are revealing. I think you would approve. You are an original, Hammond.
The first time I ever heard about Wittgenstein was from a backwoods philosopher up in northern Minnesota. He showed me some sheets of paper with aphorisms written down that boggled my mind.
“To pray is to think about the meaning of life.” (Wittgenstein) I thought this was a strange but wonderful revelation from an old Norwegian Lutheran. To pray is doing philosophy! That was so much better to me than doing the church prayer thing. I asked him to leave the sheets with me a day so I could copy them down by hand into my notebook of maxims. Later I discovered that these sayings came from Wittgenstein’s “Notebooks 1914-1916” — the stuff he wrote during the war when he was a soldier in the trenches, thinking about mathematics and death. These notebooks are a good place to start Wittgenstein. Even better, I suppose is his “On Certainty” — Wittgenstein’s most accessible book, some say, it is a series of answers to arguments by G.E. Moore. To me it is still the TRACTATUS though. Another ton of bricks on my way of thinking and writing. “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”
To me it is not so much what Wittgenstein thought. Rather, it is his example of HOW to think with clarity. It is a method that rubs off, so to speak. You do not come away from Wittgenstein without his sentences lingering as a way to continue your thinking.
I’ve read every biography and memoir on Wittgenstein that I could find. He was able to whistle the canon of the Schubert songs well enough to perform with piano accompaniment! His brother was the famous pianist, Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in WWI and for whom Ravel composed his great Piano Concerto for left hand. I’m a big fan of Wittgenstein as you can see.
P.S. Did you read the Jung in Africa book by Blake Burleson? Good stuff.
I am a college student at Fudan University, Shanghai, China. I read your book published by China Film Press. I just want to say thank you. Your book was very easy to understand, but I was amazed by the power in those plain words! I bought your book when I was in high school, and I’ve been reading it again and again through the years, and it was among the very few books I took to Shanghai with me. Your book made me re-find my interest in philosophy and literature, and also re-find myself.
Mark S., 1/19/15
Thanks for an interesting read [about Roman history]... very concise covering lots of interesting ground... I took the liberty of reposting in its entirety at our FB group.
I want to thank you for your letters, they’re very good, and I really enjoy them. You have really brought my interests for Kundera to daylight. If you have any material I’d be happy if you’d share it with me. I’m from Sweden and live in a small place on the westcost so internet is my big source to get things and material. Thanks again.
Stephen Lee Benz, 7/13/16
It’s nice to know that my article, now 15 years old, is read every now and then. It’s also nice to know that there are still some readers of Greene out there. Your exploration of Our Man in Havana certainly took you into some fascinating directions. I like the comments on katabasis — I hadn’t thought of Wormold’s trip in that way — and the connection between OMIH and Casablanca. Good stuff.
dear sir, i’m ajith from india. i was suffering from anguish over my spiritual and intellectual development. i came across your website and read your article “my journey” as well as your writings on master nietzsche and napoleon. as you know, india was once a land of free spirits, who in silent concord, danced to the rhythms of the universe. but now, i am a witness only to decadence and the law of the iron age or kali-yuga. nietzsche rescued me and teaches me to dance. you have made me dance today. i respect you and your efforts sir. your website and your thoughts provide inspiration and serve to conquer the nihilism that is spreading like wild fire.
I just wanted to say I found your essay on Shakespeare: Objective or Subjective? to be both interesting and refreshing. I’m studying for a Masters in English Lit. and writing an essay challenging the view that Romanticism marks the subjective turn in literary history. Obviously that sends me backwards to Shakespeare etc. and I have cited some of your unique points on subjectivity particularly with regard to the Oxford-Stratford debate.
Greetings. I just received your newsletters and have a few questions and comments.... You go on and on about the importance of discovering the true identity of Shakespear. Why? If you’re looking for the actor’s intention, give up. How about letting his works stand for themselves? How on earth could ‘Hamlet’ get any better by knowing who really Shakespeare was?.... Other than that, I salute you for your effort. This is a great idea, and I’d love to continue subscribing.
I noticed from your news letters that we share an empathy with Zen teachings. I feel that Alan Watts The Way of Zen did more to bring understanding of Zen into my life than any other book on Zen. I don’t know if you are aware of it but Paul Reps also has a book called Zen Flesh Zen Bones, which you may enjoy.
I did find your article on education interesting. I live in Reading, England and education here is ultimately controlled by central government, both system seem to me to have inherent Pros and cons (’twas ever thus). Many thanks
I’ve always admired your writing style. This book is very easy on the brain, although it is packed with a lot of information.
I discovered your wonderful website a couple years ago, when I was in a Philosophy Phd program at UC Davis, and at this point have read a significant amount of your writing. Right away I recognized that you were a truly superior mind and its been a pleasure to gain from your insights.
I’ve come to some of the same conclusions as you regarding reason vs. intuition and the subconscious. I think that the conception of reason prevalent in the West, and so heavily influenced by science, is sterile. (I found your discussion of Joseph Ratzinger’s speech and Lee Harris’s Weekly Standard article, which I read, interesting on this score).
I didn’t always feel that way as I got interested in ideas by reading Ayn Rand as a Freshman in college (in 1996). When I read Walden in May of 2003 it really crystallized for me a lot of the discontents I had with Objectivism (Ayn Rand’s philosophy, which I had already moved away from) — which is, I think, the absolute best (and influential) contemporary embodiment of the philosophy of secular reason, of the Enlightenment.
I discovered Schopenhauer early in graduate school and that led me to William Barrett’s wonderful Irrational Man — have you read it? I highly recommend that book given your interests.
Just wanted to say an excellent piece. I believed in a conspiracy for many years. Who killed JFK? Then I watched many different shows on TV and came to the conclusion that there was no conspiracy. Your article just put in the pieces I was missing. You painted Oswald very well.
Thank-you, Mr. Hammond, for your outstanding website. I have learned much from it over the past couple of years. I disagree with you on your attitude toward skepticism. Perhaps it is only an apparent disagreement arising from a difference in definition. To me, skepticism is the opposite of faith. The skeptic does not reject the notion of absolute truth (“relativism” is the word for that attitude, I think) but rather is open, always, to the possibility that his theories and concepts, developed in an effort to comprehend truth, might be merely approximate or wrong. It seems to me that the skeptical attitude is a disciplined attitude against the natural desire for certainty.
Just a short note to say how enormously I have been appreciating the pages on your website. What a find, what a treat! And a big thankyou for bringing my attention to Montaigne. How I have gotten to my mid-fifties with three decades of avid interest in mind-full things, and not having ‘discovered’ this man’s writing is a great mystery to me. Perhaps that aphorism of the teacher arriving when the pupil is ready is relevant in my case! Warm regards Vincent (Cape Town, South Africa)
I enjoyed the autobiographical bits very much. You are an Outsider, plain and simple. Of course you’ve read Colin Wilson’s book, yes? If not, you might want to make it your next read and then follow that up with The Essential Colin Wilson. There are autobiographical parts of his story that sounds strangely like Jim Hammond. He too, is into Nietzsche and the Occult among other things.
Dear Mr. Hammond, Searching for various explanations and definitions of genius I accidentally found your website. What intrigued me was your precise yet comprehensive explanation of genius and insanity.
Thank you for the delightful narrative on your visit to England. My wife and I have been on several tours to England, and your account brought back wonderful memories.
We will be looking forward to hear the “rest of the story”.
Received and perused your Newsletter yesterday.... Zen sounds very intriguing, spiritually grounding and elevating, at once. I love what you say about Buddha holding up a flower. We have a popular Egyptian song that says much the same thing: ‘see the flowers and learn’. Omar Khayyam is said to have pointed to a flower when asked what he worshipped. And, Jesus preached that we should lead flower-like lives.... Semper Incipere [always beginning] is nice. Virtue is always beginning. And, according to our Nietzsche, when she sleeps she awakens refreshed.
Well, you’ve certainly whet the appetite to start reading The Idiot.... I enjoyed very much your Freudian deconstruction of the text and agree with you when you say “But if such an analysis can throw light on human nature, on the dark side of human nature, is it not worthwhile?” The answer is yes.
Just wanted to thank you for the insightful treatment of a potentially troublesome subject — sexuality (and relationships)
I am very interested in a subscription to your newsletter on philosophy.
I came across your site after doing a search for any discussions or writings comparing the esthetic theories of Oscar Wilde to Nietzsche.
I immediately lost myself in your website.... I have been spending the last month reading an old high school textbook I had on world history.... It’s only very recently that I became interested in ancient Greek and Roman culture. I think it began when I picked up a book on Sparta a few months ago, and from then on it expanded to reading selections from Plutarch. I am currently attempting to read Sophocles.
I am interested in Greek philosophy and literature, the lives of military leaders throughout history, anything relating to Nietzschean philosophy and perspective, and modern literature as well. Your site has provided an astonishing synthesis of the things I’ve been introduced to and contemplating for these past months and years.
I look forward to reading your newsletter.
Thank you Hammond. You introduced me to the world of culture, wherein I now live and grow. I should say that you were the first great influence in my life. I am 19, from Toronto Canada.... I am very interested in Nietzsche, Emerson, Thoreau, your CWGT book, Phlit, meditation, the good life, ancient Egypt and the occult, and so on. I have a few original ideas in germination, and someday soon I will put them in a book. You might find this online book interesting: http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/.... Perhaps this small email will be, in decades and decades, of some historical importance!