O Me! O Life!

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?

Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1892)

Philosophy Primary Sources II

library

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.


Philosophy

The Life of the Mind by Hannah Arendt

The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt

Language, Truth, and Logic by A.J. Ayer

The Problem of Knowledge by A.J. Ayer

Selected Writings of Jean Baudrillard

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir

Matter and Memory by Henri Bergson

An Introduction to Metaphysics by Henri Bergson

I and Thou by Martin Buber

The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus

The Rebel by Albert Camus

Language and Mind by Noam Chomsky

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Nietzsche and Philosophy by Gilles Deleuze

What is Philosophy? by Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari

Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett

Speech and Phenomena & Other Essays by Jacques Derrida

Dissemination by Jacques Derrida

In Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus

The Vocation of Man by Johann Gottlieb Fichte

The Science of Knowledge by Johann Gottlieb Fichte

The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language by Michel Foucault

Selected Writings of Mahatma Gandhi

The End of Faith by Sam Harris

Being and Time by Martin Heidegger

The Question Concerning Technology & Other Essays by Martin Heidegger

What is Metaphysics? by Martin Heidegger

God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

Logical Investigations by Edmund Husserl

Reason and Existenz by Karl Jaspers

Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard

The Sickness Unto Death by Søren Kierkegaard

Philosophical Fragments by Søren Kierkegaard

Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview by Nishida Kitarō

The Levinas Reader edited by Sáun Hand

The Postmodern Condition by Jean-François Lyotard

Essays of Michel de Montaigne

On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche

The Portable Nietzsche edited by Walter Kaufmann

The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism by Keiji Nishitani

Philosophical Explanations by Robert Nozick

Man Has No Nature by José Ortega y Gasset

The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine

Pensées by Blaise Pascal

The Morals of Plutarch

The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity by Richard Rorty

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature by Richard Rorty

The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Free Thought & Official Propaganda by Bertrand Russell

In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell

Mysticism and Logic: And Other Essays by Bertrand Russell

Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre

Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre

The World as Will and Representation – Vol. 1 by Arthur Schopenhauer

The World as Will and Representation – Vol. 2 by Arthur Schopenhauer

The Basis of Morality by Arthur Schopenhauer

My View of the World (Excerpt) by Erwin Schrödinger

Athens and Jerusalem by Lev Shestov

The Ego and His Own by Max Stirner

The Courage to Be by Paul Tillich

The Eternal Now by Paul Tillich

Weak Thought edited by Gianni Vattimo and Pier Aldo Rovatti

The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts

Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein


Science

The Essays of Francis Bacon

The New Organon by Francis Bacon

The Grounds for and Excellence of the Corpuscular or Mechanical Philosophy by Robert Boyle

On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (Dedication) by Nicolaus Copernicus

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

The Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Paul Dirac

Relativity: The Special and General Theory by Albert Einstein

The Assayer by Galileo Galilei

Dialogues Concerning the Two Chief World Systems by Galileo Galilei

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science by Werner Heisenberg

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow

Treatise on Light by Christiaan Huygens

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn

The Copernican Revolution by Thomas Kuhn

The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy by Sir Isaac Newton

Science and Hypothesis by Henri Poincaré

What is Life? by Erwin Schrödinger

Mind and Matter by Erwin Schrödinger

The Physics of the Healing by Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna)


Psychology

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

The Complete Works of Sigmund Freud

The Principles of Psychology: Volume I by William James

The Principles of Psychology: Volume II by William James

Man and his Symbols by Carl Jung

Memories, Dreams, Reflection by Carl Jung

Écrits by Jacques Lacan

Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences by Abraham Maslow

Cognitive Psychology by Ulric Neisser

Verbal Behavior by B.F. Skinner

Existential Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom


Literature

The Tragedies of Aeschylus

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Euripides: Ion, Hippolytus, Medea, & Alcestis

Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Iliad of Homer

The Odyssey of Homer

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Complete Stories of Franz Kafka

Paradise Lost by John Milton

1984 by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

The Notes of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Tragedies of Sophocles

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Candide by Voltaire

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

Note: Planet Publish hosts a vast selection of literature in PDF format available for free.


Religious

A Study of Dōgen by Masao Abe

Deliverance from Error by Al-Ghazali

The Incoherence of the Philosophers by Al-Ghazali

The Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas

The Teaching of Buddha

Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin

The Analects of Confucius

The Vedas compiled by the Dharmic Scriptures Team

On Divine Names & Mystical Theology by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite

The Shōbōgenzō: Volume I by Eihei Dōgen

The Shōbōgenzō: Volume II by Eihei Dōgen

The Shōbōgenzō: Volume III by Eihei Dōgen

The Shōbōgenzō: Volume IV by Eihei Dōgen

Dōgen’s Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Kōroku

The Tibetan Book of the Dead edited by W. Y. Evans-Wentz

The Essence of Christianity by Ludwig Feuerbach

Christian Apologetics by Norman Geisler

Philosophy of Religion by Norman Geisler

The Principia Discordia by Greg Hill and Kerry Wendell Thornley

The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley

The Guide for the Perplexed by Moses Maimonides

The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā of Nāgārjuna

On Buddhism by Keiji Nishitani

The Upanishads translated by Swami Paramananda

On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy by Ibn Rushd (Averroes)

The Incoherence of the Incoherence by Ibn Rushd (Averroes)

Forgotten Truth by Huston Smith

An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki

The Bhagavad Gita translated by Shri Purohit Swami

The New Being by Paul Tillich

The Way of Zen by Alan Watts

Note: Internet Sacred Text Archive hosts an archive of online books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric (including the writings of the early church fathers).


Historical

World History: Patterns of Interaction by Beck, et al.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volume I by Edward Gibbon

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volume II by Edward Gibbon

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volume III by Edward Gibbon

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volume IV by Edward Gibbon

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volume V by Edward Gibbon

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volume VI by Edward Gibbon

The Histories of Herodotus

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.

The History of Rome by Titus Livius

The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate by Jean-Paul Sartre

The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler

The Annals of Tacitus

The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

Note: Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive are excellent sources of historical writings and much more. Ancient Greek and Roman histories can be found at Loebolus.


Important Historical Documents

Magna Carta Libertatum (Great Charter of Liberties)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Code of Hammurabi

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.


Political & Social Theory

On the Reproduction of Capitalism by Louis Althusser

An Introduction to The Principles of Morals and Legislation by Jeremy Bentham

Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky

Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault

The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault

Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault

The Theory of Communicative Action by Jürgen Habermas

Between Facts and Norms by Jürgen Habermas

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

Dialectic of Enlightenment by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno

The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard Keynes

Structural Anthropology by Claude Lévi-Strauss

The Savage Mind by Claude Lévi-Strauss

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Capital: Critique of Political Economy, Volume I by Karl Marx

Capital: Critique of Political Economy, Volume II by Karl Marx

Capital: Critique of Political Economy, Volume III by Karl Marx

Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 by Karl Marx

The German Ideology by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels

Areopagitica by John Milton

The Spirit of Laws by Montesquieu

A Theory of Justice by John Rawls

Émile, or Concerning Education by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Origin of Inequality by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Writings of Leon Trotsky

The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber


Check out the Links Section for more sources of primary texts and general research.

Circuminsession

By Joshua Synon

What is fire without that for which it burns?

What is money without her for whom he earns?

What is justice without those for whom to serve?

What is a mother without a daughter to preserve?

What is an object without that which perceives?

What is truth without her for whom he believes?

What is war without that from which it breeds?

What is a father without a son whom to feed?

What is death without that which it kills?

What is reason without her for whom he wills?

What is the sun without those for whom it shines?

What is love without those for whom it binds?

Leaves of Grass

leaves of grass

Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances

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.

– Walt Whitman

Dark Night of the Soul

On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!–
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.

In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!–
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.

In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my
heart.

This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me–
A place where none appeared.

Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

Upon my flowery breast,
Kept wholly for himself alone,
There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

The breeze blew from the turret
As I parted his locks;
With his gentle hand he wounded my neck
And caused all my senses to be suspended.

I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

St. John of the Cross

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.

Annie Besant

The dark night of the soul
comes just before revelation.

When everything is lost,
and all seems darkness,
then comes the new life
and all that is needed.

– Joseph Campbell

What Do You Take for Granted?

Do you ever stop and imagine, “We are living on a giant rock that is hurtling through space around a gigantic ball of fire!”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “There are people sitting in seats, flying across the sky!”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “What would my life be like before man harnessed electricity?”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “The nearest star to the sun is about 25 trillion miles away!”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “What is it in me that perceives?”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “It’s inevitable that I will literally cease to exist in the future.”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “What the fuck is going on! How am I not myself? What the hell is a self?”

Do you ever just stop… just… stop… and observe… really… observe?

The Everlasting Gospel

The Vision of Christ that thou dost see

Is my Vision’s Greatest Enemy.

Thine has a great hook nose like thine;

Mine has a snub nose like to mine.

Thine is the friend of All Mankind;

Mine speaks in parables to the Blind.

Thine loves the same world that mine hates;

Thy Heaven doors are my Hell Gates.

Socrates taught what Melitus

Loathd as a Nation’s bitterest Curse;

And Caiphas was in his own Mind

A benefactor to Mankind.

Both read the Bible day & night,

But thou readst black where I read white.

– William Blake


There was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

Handlebars

Flobots – Handlebars

I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars, no handlebars
I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars, no handlebars

Look at me, look at me
Hands in the air like it’s good to be
Alive and I’m a famous rapper
Even when the paths are all crookedly

I can show you how to do-si-do
I can show you how to scratch a record
I can take apart the remote control
And I can almost put it back together

I can tie a knot in a cherry stem
I can tell you about Leif Ericson
I know all the words to “De Colores”
And “I’m Proud To Be An American”

Me and my friend saw a platypus
Me and my friend made a comic book
And guess how long it took
I can do anything that I want, cause look

I can keep rhythm with no metronome
No metronome, no metronome
And I can see your face on the telephone
On the telephone, on the telephone

Look at me, look at me
Just called to say that it’s good to be
Alive in such a small world
I’m all curled up with a book to read

I can make money, open up a thrift store
I can make a living off a magazine
I can design an engine
Sixty four miles to a gallon of gasoline

I can make new antibiotics
I can make computers survive aquatic conditions
I know how to run a business
And I can make you wanna buy a product

Movers, shakers and producers
Me and my friends understand the future
I see the strings that control the system
I can do anything with no resistance

Cause I can lead a nation with a microphone
With a microphone, with a microphone
And I can split the atom of a molecule
Of a molecule, of a molecule

Look at me, look at me
Driving and I won’t stop
And it feels so good to be alive and on top
My reach is global, my tower secure
My cause is noble, my power is pure

I can hand out a million vaccinations
Or let ’em all die in exasperation
Have ’em all healed of their lacerations
Have ’em all killed by assassination

I can make anybody go to prison
Just because I don’t like ’em
And I can do anything with no permission
I have it all under my command

Because I can guide a missile by satellite
By satellite, by satellite
And I can hit a target through a telescope
Through a telescope, through a telescope

And I can end the planet in a holocaust
In a holocaust, in a holocaust
In a holocaust, in a holocaust
In a holocaust!

I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars, no handlebars
I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars, no handlebars