The Importance of Medea in the Theatre, Psychology, and Philosophy

I am listening to The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

Medea (Play) in Wikipedia

Professor Robinson spends a whole lesson on the Greek Tragic Theatre, which he knows very well. He has added a new word  to my vocabulary – chthonic. A world very difficult to pronounce – because the ch sound is followed by the th sound. Understanding what means is difficult also – but after listing to him twice, I almost understand what is means – at a gut level.

Medea is an example of the primitive female (capable of great good and great harm) in literature, including Shakespeare.

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Spoiled by Entertainment

I have wondered why Americans are not interested in History – one of my favorite subjects. Their answer is simple – they are not interested in it!

What are they interested in? What do they spend most of their time watching? Television and their Smartphones. This is what they are interested in – because the companies who provide content for them – are very good at capturing, and keeping, their attention.

This has been true of the Movies for a long time – the movies who succeeded, made a lot of money – because people wanted to see them. The movie studios quickly learned what they wanted – and then gave them more of the same.

People want to be like other people – and they are very good at finding out what this is – and then getting it for themselves – at lightening speed.

The Impact of the Machine on People

This is what the Industrial Revolution amounted to – our discovery of the Machine. Or perhaps is was the other way around – when the Machine discovered us.

To this day, we cannot define what a machine is – we can only point at one, and say “Like that!” This can be misleading because the first industrial machine was the Sailing Ship – which operated with wind power. These had been in existence for thousands of years. But with dawn of the Modern World – with its invention of Banking, Bookkeeping, Manufacturing, and the Market – these were mass-produced in shipyards. such as those that existed in Venice.

Later, as this combination moved into Spain and Portugal – these ships started sailing further and further – and discovered the New World! The Spanish Empire became the largest, and richest, ever known. And now, in greatly reduced form, after losing out to England – forms Latin America.

England is where the Industrial Revolution really got started. With its use of coal to operate the Steam Engine. And its invention of clever machinery to manufacture cloth – in large quantities, and very cheaply. This was the beginning of Capitalism – because Capital was necessary to finance these new factories and railroads. Which, in turn, because of their profitability – created more capital. Everyone benefited – except the poor, who were forced to work at starvation wages.

This takes us up to the middle of the 19th Century, when Industrialization had moved to the United States, which had its Civil War – the first Industrial war, with unbelievable destructiveness. This pattern continued – with WWI, the Depression, and WWII. Unbelievable destruction!

You will now be saying “I don’t want to know about all this bad stuff!” Everyone was feeling this way – and to cope with it, they went to the movies – which showed them a much better world – for a very modest price – but all those movie tickets added up to a lot of money.

This takes us up to the middle of the 20th Century – and Television. Its effect on us was unbelievable – we didn’t have to go to the movies – the movies were brought to us – for free! All we had to do was sit and watch them – and not think about how it was affecting us. I eventually decided not to watch – but I was unusual. Most people wanted to be told how to be – which is what TV was doing.

At this point in my story, I am not sure how to proceed – how can I describe the whole complex of changes that resulted from Television – all over the world? I cannot – all I can do is point at the people that resulted, which are all around us.

What do they look like to you?

A Very Singular Girl

NY Review

This is about Helen Gurley Brown – no doubt you have heard of her. Everyone knew about her – and Cosmopolitan Magazine. Whether they read anything by her or not.

I enjoyed the article – its easy to read, and requires no thinking at all. Another person from Arkansas (this time a woman) makes it big!

Here is the final paragraph:

But girlfriend, or, rather, pussycat, no matter how evolved, we all contain our basest selves, right up until the end. Get out the fishnets and cast them. Seize life—it’s really there. Such are the ongoing tidings of Heelen Gurley Brown—no amens or ahems.

Woman Charged in Kayak Death

NY Times

My subscription to the Times is paying off with some scandalous gossip.

This story leaves a lot of questions unanswered – but it appears to me that the man in the story was suicidal. I have taken a kayaking course myself – where I learned how to used plenty of safety equipment – so much that made it impossible for you to drown.

Starting at the top – a whitewater helmet, the same kind used by rafters. Then a flotation jacket with plenty of foam padding, in front and the back – including an extension at the back to protect your neck, and make you float face-up.

Then a skirt of neoprene rubber around your waist, that fits around the kayak opening – and prevents the entry of water into the kayak. Before getting in the kayak, you have so much protective equipment you can hardly walk. Once seated (with some assistance) you brace your knees against pads on either side, so you become part of the kayak itself.

You learn how to use the paddle to right the kayak in choppy water – and even turn it over in an Eskimo roll!

Evidently, the man had none of these. When he was tipped of of his kayak in freezing water – he asked his companion to call 911! She grabbed his paddle instead – and his body was never found.

And then she confessed everything!