People develop their character through association. Good association tends to produce a wholesome character. But there are ways in which we can sculpt our characters in the absence of the best association, and books are one of those ways. We are able to participate in timeless quasi-conversations with thinkers from the past and from the present about subjects that both the author and reader are passionate about, meet thinkers from other cultures and blend our minds with theirs, and we can temporarily transcend generational boundaries and rise above whatever cultural limitations or mediocrity we may be surrounded by. We learn new things, we gain new skills, and develop our own personal culture, way of life, and philosophy–and we are empowered to steer our individuality in new directions.
I’ve in recent months written book reviews celebrating the legacy of French Epicurean philosopher La Mettrie: An Epicurean System; The Canon; Against Creationism; Anti-Seneca, and another one on Wilson’s How to Be Epicurean. You may also choose to read or gift classics, like A Few Days in Athens, which was written by Frances Wright. She was a fascinating figure. A feminist abolitionist who defended critical thinking and the right to hold atheistic ideas. For years, she had close intellectual exchanges Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Monticello, and her work (like La Mettrie’s) is a window into the profound influence of Epicurean ideas on the humanism of the Enlightenment.
Of course, you may enjoy the book How to Live a Good Life, which has 15 essays on different life philosophies to help people navigate their way through choosing their own personal philosophy–or Tending the Epicurean Garden … or if you really want to travel back in time and LAUGH, try Lucian‘s works. Whatever you choose to read, I hope your book unfolds like a magic carpet under you and I wish you a happy reading adventure!
Something Good to Read: Highly Recommended #Humanist Books