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Backstories of famously accomplished people seem incomplete without some past difficulty or failure to be overcome. In narrative terms, these incidents provide biographies with their dramatic tension.
How does it feel to be Bill Murray?
Wonderful, presumably. You’re wealthy, well respected, and highly sought. Your random real world cameos bring joy to scores of unsuspecting mortals.
Murray’s St. Vincent director Ted Melfi cites his ability to inhabit the present moment:
He doesn’t care about what just happened.
Marshall McLuhan and Tom Wolfe: both writers, both astute observers of modern humanity, and both public figures whose work has, over the years, enjoyed high fashionability and endured high unfashionability. You might think the connection between them ends there.[...]
The history of moral philosophy in the West hinges principally on a handful of questions: Is there a God of some sort? An afterlife? Free will? And, perhaps most pressingly for humanists, what exactly is the nature of our obligations to others? The latter question has long occupied philosophers like Immanuel Kant, whose extreme formulati[...]
Whether they submit to his mighty philosophical influence, resist it with all their own might, or fall somewhere in between, everyone who’s read the pronouncements of Friedrich Nietzsche (find his ebooks here) recognizes his voice — well, his textual voice, that is.[...]
In 1949, George Orwell received a curious letter from his former high school French teacher.
Orwell had just published his groundbreaking book Nineteen Eighty-Four, which received glowing reviews from just about every corner of the English-speaking world.
A philosopher perhaps more widely known for his prodigious mustache than for the varieties of his thought, Friedrich Nietzsche often seems to be misread more than read.[...]
German philosopher Martin Heidegger, widely considered one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, was a Nazi, a fact known to most anyone with more than a passing knowledge of the subject. In a New York Review of Books essay, Harvard intellectual historian Peter E.[...]
These days Noam Chomsky is probably most famous for his consistent, outspoken criticism of U.S. foreign policy.[...]