It seems like forever that this book tag was on my list of tags to do. For two years, in fact! I saw it originally on Zezee with Books blog, and it was originally created on Booktube by Betweenlinesandlife. I have been highly interested in philosophy for years (there was even a point that I considered going to college for a philosophy degree), and since I didn’t have a post scheduled today, I figured it would be an easy, quick, fun post. So let’s get into it!
1. Thales is considered the first known philosopher. Which text introduced you to philosophy or which text would you like to read to get you into philosophy?
I’m pretty sure I read other philosophy books before this one, but this was the one that made me fall in love with understanding different types of philosophy. For me, philosophy doesn’t necessarily have to be a book like this. I would consider fiction books like Crime and Punishment highly focused on philosophy to be philosophy as well.
2. Karl Marx is a political philosopher, turning the world upside down with the Communist Manifesto. Which political event or event in history would you like to read more about in fiction?
1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre
I was just thinking about this the other day. Not exactly that distant in history, but it’s a time in history I don’t know much about that I want to learn more about. For those who don’t know, the Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred when students starting protesting the Communist government in this square in Beijing. The military was called in to suppress the protest and opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds and wounding thousands.
3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau highly influenced The Enlightenment, a period which introduced critical thinking to the common people. Which book or author forced you to think more critically?
There are so many authors who make me think knew things (that’s one of my favorites things about reading), but the one who comes to mind first is Fyodor Dostoevsky. His books demonstrate such a deep understanding of human nature, and I want to read so many more of his books.
4. Voltaire once said: ” I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” Which is a popular book everyone seems to love but you didn’t?
Most people loved this book, but when I read it I just thought it was a bit overhyped. I loved the premise and the twist, but most of the book was so boring! The only good part was the flowery writing, and I dislike flowery writing.
5. Hannah Arendt – Doomed controversial even by her friends, Hannah Arendt did not shy away from telling what she thought was true. Name a book that will leave readers uncomfortable, but tells an important story.
This is a horrific book which documents the atrocities committed by the Japanese against the Chinese when the Japanese army took over Nanking. This book is incredibly graphic and horrific, and I defy any reader to feel entirely comfortable reading it. But it’s also such an important book, which demonstrates that evil is not as distant from the human heart than we would like to believe. We are all capable of great evil.
6. “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” A wonderful quote from Nietzsche out of “Thus spoke Zarathustra” Which book do you go back to for its beautiful writing?
In general, I go back to Shakespeare for beautiful writing. Hamlet just happens to be one of the most moving of his plays, in my opinion. Also, because it is a play, it’s so much quicker to read than a full book, especially once you get used to Shakespeare’s language.
7. Jean-Paul Sartre raised the question “What is literature?” in one of his books? What is good literature for you?
I believe literature should serve multiple purposes. It should be entertaining, but also bring meaning to our lives. It should both make us understand different philosophies and opinions, and empathize with those different from ourselves.
8. Albert Camus – Which book did you have to keep pushing through because you really wanted to understand it’s meaning?
This book is 3 volumes, 1500 pages, about the Gulag prison camps in the Soviet Union. It is hardly an easy book to read, and I had to push myself to read all the volumes, but boy was it meaningful and worth reading!
9. Which are the three philosophers you would love to sit down and have a chat with?
Confucius, Plato, and Thomas More
I’m pretty sure these three men could not be more different, though I honestly see so much overlap in their philosophies. Confucius lived during 5th century BCE China, Plato lived during 4th century BCE Greece, and Thomas More lived under Henry VIII in 16th century England. Confucius founded his own system of thought, Plato was nonreligious for the most part but highly logical, and Thomas More was a Catholic philosopher. And yet I love all of their writings and would love to sit down and talk to all of them!
So there are my answers! What would your answers be? Do you read much philosophy? What’s your favorite philosophy book? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,
Best wishes in your life full of adventure,