Collected Wisdom

Rembrandt - Philosopher Reading

The following is a collection of interesting stories, thoughts, maxims, aphorisms, wisdom, and observations that I have extracted from my readings of various religious texts, poets, playwrights, philosophers, historians, and biographers. The reader should be aware that my purpose was to collect the aforementioned tidbits, not to present a collection of accurate history or scholarship. Many of these reflect a bias of the original writer, some of these reflections are inconsistent with others, and some of the stories that the historians and biographers relate are inaccurate or entirely fictional, but they may still contain a useful perspective or observation. It must also be noted that translations involve some degree of interpretation, and may be subject to anachronisms and socio-historical contextual differences, so that some concepts and intentions might be erroneously projected onto the original text by the translator and by me as well. It must also be noted that many of the earliest extant documents attributed to many of the writers below are from a much later date and are copies of earlier copies and this allows for a whole host of additional errors, both accidental and deliberate, to be introduced into the extant text. Furthermore, I have picked what appealed to me, and I purposely chose to leave out certain things. I left out most of the comments on the actions of deities and justice being a natural force in the world, both of which I think reason discounts. Finally, there is also a vast amount of wisdom and moralizing that arises in the actions of the stories themselves that I have not attempted to write on. I just copied and pasted my notes here and have made no efforts to make it more readable. I will eventually edit it and distill what follows into an inclusive but concise form, but I decided to go ahead and put it online so that others could still have access to it and I could access it from online. More will come later as I am continually adding to my notes and I have a large number that have not been entered into the computer. The thinkers and texts are listed in an approximate chronological order.

What I want to ultimately do here is collect wisdom from these classics, condense what is here into a number of propositions, then use modern research in psychology, reasoned analysis, and personal experience to qualify, support, or discard each proposition, producing what I hope will be of wise pragmatic use to others.

  • Cynicism
  • Stoicism
  • Scepticism
  • Epicureanism
  • Neoplatonism

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