Sunday, April 17, 2011

Darwin, Marx, and a Russian Antidote

Assignments for the week of April 18--22

The Maelstrom of the 19th Century:  The Positivism of Comte, the Uniformitarian Geology of Lyell, the Nationalism of Bismarck, the Imperialism of Victorian England, the unbelief of Schopenhauer,  the Naturalism of Darwin, the Communism of Marx, the Social Darwinism of Huxley,  and a world losing its soul.

How can we grasp the major ideas of a century? 

"Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it."
Leo Tolstoy
Darwin and Marx

Monday:  Survey of Ideas, Ideologies, and Events

Discussion of the introduction to Darwin's Origin of Species
Reading Assignments from Origin of Species

The Antidote:  Tolstoy's "Master and Man"

Tuesday:  More Ideas, Ideologies, and Events
Work on Readings and Reports

The Antidote:  "Master and Man" and "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"

Wednesday:  The spectre of Communism
Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto

The Antidote:  More about Tolstoy

Thursday:  Connections between the Darwinian Worldview and Other Idealogies, including Marxism

Friday:  Good Friday

More Quotes from Tolstoy:

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
"Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women." (from War and Peace)
"rest, nature, books, music…such is my idea of happiness…"
"Every lie is a poison; there are no harmless lies. Only the truth is safe. Only the truth gives me consolation - it is the one unbreakable diamond."

"Music is the shorthand of emotion."
"All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town."

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