Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
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Rachel Carson

Category: Free Will

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.


February 23, 2024

Thanks to Chad Greene, a 2023 Fellowship in Ideas recipient, for today’s blog.

“There is nothing new: all things are both familiar and short-lived,” the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius Antoninus wrote more than 1,800 years ago in the text that we tend to title the Meditations (VII.1). Marcus Aurelius did not give them this title; he merely referred to them by a Greek term that translates to “things to one’s self.” So,

 » Read more about: A Week’s Worth of Meditations to Help Prepare to Read Marcus Aurelius  »

March 3, 2023

Thanks to Ally Zlatar, a 2023 HMU Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post.

Image Credits: Film Still, Miike, T. (Director). (2014). As the Gods Will. Toho.

Japanese death game films, also known as ‘Battle Royale’ films, typically depict a scenario where a group of individuals are forced to participate in a deadly game or competition,

 » Read more about: The Art of Japanese Death Game Films Through Analysis of As

September 10, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know/ Silence like a cancer grows/ Hear my words that I might teach you/ Take my arms that I might reach you”/ But my words, like silent raindrops fell/ And echoed/ In the wells of silence/ And the people bowed and prayed/ To the neon god they made/ And the sign flashed out its warning/ In the words that it was forming/ And the sign said,

 » Read more about: Modern Day Chorus: Lord of the Rings and Ceremony  »

May 28, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre: written about 1607, by William Shakespeare
Comus”: written about 1637, by John Milton

Last week, I discussed the character of Pericles from Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre. This week, I will continue to explore Shakespeare’s play, but focus on Marina,

 » Read more about: Shakespeare’s Marina and Milton’s Lady  »

October 20, 2017

Thanks to Alissa Simon for today’s post.

Kant’s Science of Right takes time to read. In the Science of Right, Kant explains the interaction of theory with practice when defining ownership, rights, and equity. I find it difficult to pull short sections from his writing because all of his arguments build upon one another. I also find it nearly impossible to study a single quote with the hopes of gaining a better understanding to his arguments because,

 » Read more about: Charting Kant  »

September 29, 2017

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

“I think many of the stories that we tell ourselves as a society – the stories that encode our hopes, aspirations, and fears – preserve the traces of classical culture and myth and are part of our classical legacy.” – Professor Elizabeth Vandiver

Our modern day understanding of the term hero is mostly positive. We think of heroes as protectors and helpers with outstanding qualities that make them better than the average human.

 » Read more about: Do We Need Heroes  »

October 9, 2015

“there is nothing

either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”

Our modern calender lists two basic reference points: BCE and AD. If we were to create a new calendar for the modern era, perhaps we could write it as before and after Shakespeare. A playwright whose works influenced every author for centuries, Shakespearean language has seeped into our daily habits and rhetoric.

 » Read more about: Why We Need Hamlet  »

July 24, 2015

July’s Quarterly Discussion focused on Immanuel Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals. Reading Kant can be very challenging. One has to learn and understand his terminology and then be able to trace a single thread of an argument for pages and pages. For some reason, this seems more difficult in a language like Kant’s than in, say, a novel. Kant was thorough and scientific. Admittedly, the Metaphysics of Morals was a daunting,

 » Read more about: July Quarterly Discussion Recap  »

May 8, 2015

There is a fascinating scene in The Matrix Revolutions when Neo (Keanu Reeves) bursts into the Oracle’s (Gloria Foster) kitchen. The Oracle and a little girl, Sati, are making cookies. The Oracle says, “Oh, I was hoping to have these done before you got here.” Why is this fascinating? Well, so much can be read into the Oracle’s words because she is, in part, able to foretell the events that will come.

 » Read more about: Paradise Lost, Part II, Predestination  »

May 1, 2015

At the end of Book III in Paradise Lost, Satan tricks Uriel into letting him pass through the gates which protect the world from the demons. A disguised Satan brags about the brilliance of God’s ways and Uriel agrees with him. Uriel says, “Faire Angel, thy desire which tends to know/ The works of God, thereby to glorifie/ The great Work-Maister, leads to no excess/ That reaches blame,

 » Read more about: Paradise Lost, Part I, The Finer Things  »

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