Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
This post will serve as Part II of Philosophy Primary Sources and a supplement to Primary Sources & Encyclopedias (check out the Links section for even more research sources). There are certain books that are essential to an education about the human condition of which I believe should be available for free and with easy access to everybody. This list is more comprehensive and nuanced than the previous list, as it includes books that hold cultural significance in various fields of study. Each book on this list is in PDF format. I have organized them by topic (many topics intersect) and the last name of the author.
Note: OurDocuments.gov hosts a list of 100 milestone documents, compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, and drawn primarily from its nationwide holdings. The documents chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965.
Of the terrible doubt of appearances, Of the uncertainty after all, that we may be deluded, That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all, That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable only, May-be the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills, shining and flowing waters, The skies of day and night, colors, densities, forms, may-be these are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions, and the real something has yet to be known, (How often they dart out of themselves as if to confound me and mock me! How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows, aught of them,) May-be seeming to me what they are (as doubtless they indeed but seem) as from my present point of view, and might prove (as of course they would) nought of what they appear, or nought anyhow, from entirely changed points of view; To me these and the like of these are curiously answer’d by my lovers, my dear friends, When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while holding me by the hand, When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and reason hold not, surround us and pervade us, Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am silent, I require nothing further, I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of identity beyond the grave, But I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied, He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.
The Base of All Metaphysics
And now gentlemen,
A word I give to remain in your memories and minds,
As base and finale too for all metaphysics.
(So to the students the old professor, At the close of his crowded course.)
Having studied the new and antique, the Greek and Germanic systems, Kant having studied and stated, Fichte and Schelling and Hegel, Stated the lore of Plato, and Socrates greater than Plato, And greater than Socrates sought and stated, Christ divine having studied long, I see reminiscent to-day those Greek and Germanic systems, See the philosophies all, Christian churches and tenets see, Yet underneath Socrates clearly see, and underneath Christ the divine I see, The dear love of man for his comrade, the attraction of friend to friend, Of the well-married husband and wife, of children and parents, Of city for city and land for land.
As the dark hour approaches, he is more and more appalled by the failure of the human sympathies on which he has been wont to rely during the past years of life and service, and when, in the critical moment of his need, he looks around for comfort and sees his friends wrapt in indifferent slumber, it seems to him that all human ties are broken, that all human love is a mockery, all human faith a betrayal; he is flung back upon himself to learn that only the tie with his Father in heaven remains, that all embodied aid is useless. It has been said that in this hour of solitude the soul is filled with bitterness, and that rarely a soul passes over this gulf of voidness without a cry of anguish; it is then that bursts forth the agonized reproach: “Couldst thou not watch with me one hour?” – but no human hand may clasp another in that Gethsemane of desolation.
When this darkness of human desertion is over-past, then, despite the shrinking of the human nature from the cup, comes the deeper darkness of the hour when a gulf seems to open between the Father and the Son, between the life embodied and the life infinite. The Father, who was yet realised in Gethsemane when all human friends were slumbering, is veiled in the passion of the Cross. It is the bitterest of all the ordeals of the Initiate, when even the consciousness of the life of Sonship is lost, and the hour of the hoped-for triumph becomes that of the deepest ignominy. He sees his enemies exultant around him; he sees himself abandoned by his friends and his lovers; he feels the divine support crumble away beneath his feet; and he drinks to the last drop the cup of solitude, of isolation, no contact with man or God bridging the void in which hangs his helpless soul. Then from the heart that feels itself deserted even by the Father rings out the cry: “My God! my God! why hast Thou forsaken me?” Why this last proof, this last ordeal, this most cruel of all illusions? Illusion, for the dying Christ is nearest of all to the divine Heart.
Because the Son must know himself to be one with the Father he seeks, must find God not only within him but as his innermost Self; only when he knows that the Eternal is himself and he the Eternal, is he beyond the possibility of the sense of separation. Then, and then only, can he perfectly help his race, and becomes a conscious part of the uplifting energy.