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Quantum

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About Quantum

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  1. Quantum added a post in a topic Introduce yourself here...   

    Thanks Hugo for the warm welcome.
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  2. Quantum added a post in a topic Unreadable Books   


    Yes, it is a tradition. "Tradition" implies having some kind of established history whether through teaching it in the curriculum or its influence on the culture in question, so works like Gibbon, Shakespeare, and Milton would all be included in the Western canon but not the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, or the Pali Tipitaka. So we know these Eastern books are not in the canon but are they not great books then? Are the great books great by the fact that they are in the canon or because they possess some quality that distinguishes them from other books? If it is the latter not the former, then what is that quality that makes them great?

    I think this question brings up a problem with the general definition of "great book." How do I know the great book from the non-great book? Is it because some expert like Harold Bloom, Mortimer Adler, etc.. has declared it great and put it on their list? (Appeal to authority) Or because the book is very old but still popular today? (Newer books could not be considered great) Perhaps it is the virtue that most universities use those books in their curriculum? (Ad populum) Or is the category of "greatness" culturally relative? e.g. The Bhaghavad Gita is great in India but not in the US.

    In all honesty, I think I've been very much influenced by Western culture so I'm more inclined to say our canonical books are better than the Eastern ones only because of familiarity. Had I been born in India I probably would have thought otherwise. Seriously, as a Westerner, could I get more from reading the Bhagavad Gita over say the Iliad? Schopenhauer seems to have endorsed the Vedas and the Upanishads and he's considered part of the Western tradition, but then it's arguable whether Schopenhauer understood the Sanskrit writings as well as the Indians; perhaps it's too difficult for most Westerners except a genius like Schopenhauer to actually get anything from another culture's literary tradition and again there's simply not enough time to master Sanskrit and other foreign cultures just to read their writings.
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  3. Quantum added a post in a topic Unreadable Books   


    Exactly. Liking or not liking a book has little to do with readability. One problem though is how do we define or who in fact defines what a "great book" is? Is greatness determined only by its influence? Should we then rely on the opinion of "experts" to determine if a book is truly "great"? This can be a problem for some books. For example, one of my professors thinks Derrida's books are complete nonsense and a waste of time while another one thinks they are the latest and greatest thing in philosophy. I'm convinced the second professor sympathizes with the Continental philosophers while the first with the Analytic philosophers. But if so, then they can't help me for the purpose of reading Derrida for their opinions are based on like and dislike, not with readability. It could be though, that the second professor is right while the first one is wrong so Derrida's books should be considered great. On the other hand, I could be totally wrong about my professors so Derrida would in fact be unreadable and not worth the trouble. In the end, all I can really do is read the books for myself, which I haven't, and hope that any inability to understand has more to do with the books making heavy demands on me rather than them being unreadable. But then this brings up the issue of having time...
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  4. Quantum added a post in a topic Usernames!   

    It's all associated thoughts for me... I have no idea how the name popped into my head. I just thought of the idea "random name" then an associated thought occured and I somewhat recalled a famous quote: something about random numbers being in a state of sin then God not playing dice (Einstein). I don't even remember exactly the first quote or who even said it, but I know Quantum is somehow associated with it.
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  5. Quantum added a post in a topic Introduce yourself here...   

    Hi. I discovered GL through a wormhole... er, I mean a search engine while searching for "Religion Philosophy Rhetoric." I'm currently in college, double majoring in Philosophy and Religious Studies, (but I've taken so many other courses I could minor in Math and in Medieval Studies to boot), so I probably won't be posting much. I'm unlike most college students at my school in that I actually do my homework and read the assigned books which makes me rather boring and unpopular with girls. Although I've joined other fora before, I don't think I've ever seen anything resembling GL's rules. I think having them is a great idea and the articles are superb. Valete...
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