We are always surrounded by stories: movies, TV shows, plays, games, video games, books and even advertisements. So, why do humans tell stories, and what function do stories serve? Our goal is to unravel the fundamental structure of narratives old and new and to untangle what their connection to human consciousness is.
In this lecture, we conclude Dante's "Inferno". First (a) we climb down and then up Satan's legs and explain the "reorienting" nature of the journey and transition between hemispheres; (b) we consider Dante's view, allegorically interpreted, of the source of all evil, and (c) we observe Dante and Virgil's emergence outside again where they can, allegorically and literally interpreted, contemplate the stars together.
In this lecture, we consider the entirety of Dante's "Inferno" with particular respect given to: (a) structural aspects of Dante's "The Divine Comedy";(b) outlining all the circles, one through nine, and major characters and figures within them, (c) major geographical features of Hell, and (d) major themes of Dante's "Inferno".
In this lecture, we consider (a) Hera's plan to seduce and distract Zeus from Poseidon's disobedience on the battlefield; (b) the decision of Agamemnon, Diomedes, and Odysseus to rally the troops, though they are injured; and (c) Zeus lays out the workings of fate and shares how the deaths of Sarpedon, Patroklos, and Hektor will lead to the fall of Troy.
In this lecture, we discuss (a) Ptolomaea and Fra. Alberigo's deceptive dinner, (b) the entrance to the final region of Cocytus: Judecca, and (c) the vision and appearance of Lucifer and the traitors lodged eternally in his mouth, in an un-transformative feast.
In this lecture, we discuss (a) Hektor's wild winning streak and his relationship to Poulydamas; (b) we witness the emergence of Poseidon against the will of Zeus and his help of the Achaians; and finally (c) we observe Hektor break through the Achaian wall and the hardest fighting so far between the Aiantes and the Trojan troops led by Hektor!
In this lecture, we consider (a) the giants their acts of transgressing as prefigurations of Lucifer's transgression; (b) we descend to the frozen river Cocytus and meet Bocca who has his name betrayed by another traitorous soul; and (c) we conclude by witnessing the false-sacramental feast of of Count Ugolino (Guelph) on the head of Archbishop Ruggieri (Ghibelline).
In this lecture, we discuss (a) the mounting injuries of the Achaians (Diomedes, Odysseus, Machaon, Eurypylos); (b) Patroklos' mission to Nestor, and Nestor deploys the full-force of his rhetorical appeals to valor, pity, and honor; and finally we conclude by examining (c) the choice Nestor asks Achilleus to make: return to the fighting or allow Patroklos to wear your armor, and this decision's potential consequences.
In this lecture we discuss, (a) Dolon's "folle volo" into the hands of Diomedes and Odysseus, (b) the fate of Rhesos and the Thracians, and (c) we move into Book XI (11) where we discuss Agamemnon's "aristeia" and (d) observe the tides of battle shift against the Achaians as the first of many major injuries occurs and Hektor takes the field.
In this lecture, we discuss (a) Odysseus' transgressing and the destructive flame-like nature of speaking (falsely); (b) observe the drama of Guido da Montafeltro; (c) we observe the Schismatics (Ditch 9) and then Myrhha, Master Adam, and Sinon in Ditch 10, and then (d) like towers in the distance, we encounter the unintelligible groaning and nearly-immobile giants.
In this lecture, we consider (a) the Malebranche and their allegorical, dramatic, and comic significance; (b) we observe the hypocrites and then Dante's essence-altering transformation of thieves and epic; (c) we conclude with observing Vanni Fucci's weaponized use of truth and by finally reaching Circle 8 bolgia 8, the Deceitful Counselors and Ulysses.
In this lecture, we (a) consider the speeches of Phoinix and Aias the Greater to Achilleus; (b) we then move to the night-counsel and choice of Diomedes and Odysseus as spies, and (c) we conclude by meeting Dolon and seeing the respective Trojans and Achaians go out into the night.
In this lecture, we (a) introduce the first four bolgias of Circle 8: the Malebolgia; (b) we consider the specific sinners of Jason of the Argonauts and Venedico Caccianemico among the panderers and seducers; (b) we then observe the sins and punishments of the flatterers, including Thais, and the Simonists, including Simon Peter; and conclude by (c) witnessing Dante being mistaken for Pope Boniface VIII and then observing the "far-seeing" future seers and their special contrapasso.
In this lecture, we observe (a) Zeus prohibiting the other gods from the battlefield; (b) the last-chance effort of Agamemnon and the Achaians to placate Achilleus by means of an embassy; and (c) the speech of Odysseus to Achilleus.
In this lecture, we (a) consider in which ways Geryon represents fraud; (b) we consider how fraud makes a predator of a person (like a snake or scorpion), and (c) the remaining two circles (and second half) of Dante's "Inferno".
In this lecture, we (a) review Hektor's trip back to Troy and his farewell speech to Andromache, his wife; (b) we observe single combat between Aias the Greater and Hektor upset by nightfall, and (c) we see weak attempt of Paris and the Trojans to negotiate an end to the war without returning Helen.
In this lecture, we (a) review the first two sub-circles of Circle 7, Violence before continuing through sub-circle 3; (b) we meet and converse with Brunetto Latini, Dante's former teacher, and (c) conclude by considering usury's, sodomy's, and blasphemy's relationship to violence.
In this lecture, we discuss (a) the concept of xenia and (b) its relation to Glaukos and Diomedes' strange interaction and exchange, and (c) we conclude by observing Hektor back in Troy meeting Hekabe, Helen (and Paris), and his wife Andromache.
In this lecture, we (a) begin with a lesson in Italian negation and consider the "negating" aspect of self-harm from Canto 13, Circle 7.2; (b) we observe the pagan Capaneus from The Seven Against Thebes and observe the non-Christian nature of blasphemy, as opposed to Heresy (Circle 6); and (c) we consider the Old Man of Thebes and what his five substances (gold, silver, brass, iron, clay) represent politically and theologically/psychologically.
In this lecture, we (a) observe the first major Trojan champion (Sarpedon) defeat an Achaian champion (Tlepolemos); (b) we witness the cruelty of Hektor in the wake of his friend's pleas for help, and (c) a battle between Diomedes and Ares, a far more formidable god than Aphrodite!
In this lecture, we (a) review the concepts of tîmê (honor) and kleos (glory), (b) we observed the epic battle of Diomedes and Sthenelos vs. Pandaros and Aineias, and (c) witnessed the stabbing of a goddess (Aphrodite) by a mortal man (Diomedes).
In this lecture, we (a) conclude the Circle of Heresy (6) by talking about the Guelf leader Cavalcante di Cavalcanti, (b) observe the nasty smell of Lower Hell and take a moment to consider the structure of the final three circles (7, 8, 9); and then (c) we enter the first of three sub-circles of Violence and witness the abominable minotaur, centaurs, and harpies and the boiling river of blood: Phlegethon. We cover cantos 10-12 in this lecture.
In this lecture, we (a) introduce Diomedes and Athene's desire to use him to remove the dangerous and exasperating Aphrodite from the battlefield; (b) we distinguish the concepts of tīmḗ (honor) and kleos (glory; that which is said of one; one's legend) and geras (physical rewards, like Briseis), and (c) considered (1) the amorality of the Olympian gods as well as (2) the theme that when: (a) a minor character (like Pandaros) injures a major character (like Menelaos or Diomedes), then (b) that minor character will be killed, generally by a major character.
In this lecture, we (a) review the major events of Circle 5: wrath and sullenness; (b) we reach The Gate of Dis and watch the drama unfold between Virgil, Dante the Pilgrim, the Fallen Angels, the Furies, and the Heavenly Messenger; (c) then we begin our descent to Circle 6 and meet our first heretics there (the Epicureans and Farinata degli Uberti).
In this lecture, we (a) describe the one-one-one combat between Menelaos and Paris of Troy for the hand of Helen; (b) we examine the interference of Aphrodite and what this means for the war; and (c) we view a dark covenant formed by Zeus and Hera and observe the trickery of Athene and foolhardiness of Pandaros, the Lykian.
In this lecture we (a) review the history of Agamemnon's scepter, (c) see Troy and meet Priam, Antenor, and Helen for the first time during the teichoscopia, and (c) hear our first descriptions of the beginning of the Trojan War before the one on one battle between Paris and Menelaos takes place!
In this lecture we discuss Circles Four and Five of Dante's Inferno. Specifically we (a) consider Plutus, Ciacco, and the place of Fortune among the avaricious and prodigal; (b) we then consider the fifth circle, its division into anger and sullenness (sulkiness/resentment), and meet Phlegyas as we cross (c) the River Styx, the second of four rivers in Dante's "Inferno" and end with an exciting scene between Virgil, Dante the Pilgrim, and Filipo Argenti.
In this lecture, (a) we perceive a false dream which Agamemnon follows rather than good counsel; (b) we meet Thersites of the endless speech after a disastrous "call to arms" by Agamemnon, and (c) we see Odysseus jump into action to corral the troops. We then (d) meet Paris at the opening of Bk. 3 and close with a (e) description of the Achaian and Trojan Forces and an (f) explanation of Homeric Simile.
In this episode, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I consider the beginning of the end--our final topics in our Harry Potter Conversation series. We specifically look into: (a) the relationship between the Hallows and the Horcruxes and what they broadly represent, (b) Dumbledore's characterization in conjunction with consideration of several culminating events, and (c) weighing in on the death of one (actually more) of our favorite characters.
In this lecture we (a) review Agamemnon's disgraceful treatment of Chryses, (b) consider Achilleus' assembly, Kalchas' prophecy, and Agamemnon's (over)reaction, and (c) conclude with meeting Thetis, Zeus and Hera, and sharing a laugh at Hephaistos' expense.
In this lecture we traverse Circles 1-4 and Cantos 3-8. Specifically, we (a) meet Minos, Charon, Cerberus, and Plutus from the Greco-Roman tradition; (b) we meet and consider Francesca and Paolo among the Lustful, and (c) we consider the concept of contrapasso and how it connects sin and punishment in Dante's "Inferno".
In this lecture, we consider (a) the proem of Homer's "Iliad" and how it prefigures the events of the narrative; (b) the hubris of Agamemnon and the rage of Apollo; and (c) the assembly called by Achilleus (and Kalchas' history with Agamemnon).
In this lecture, we (a) review the symbolic significance of the three animals which Dante encounters in Canto 1, review the Platonic model of the tripartite soul, and relate that to the three types of sin Dante uses to structure his Inferno; (b) we consider Dante's "invocation to the muse" and how that relates to Homer's (unread by Dante) and Virgil's epic poems; (c) we conclude with considering Joseph Campbell's Monomyth and how Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey", and Virgil's "Aeneid", and Dante's "The Divine Comedy" have a "Refusal of the Call to Adventure".
In this lecture, we consider (a) differing mythological accounts of Achilleus' near vulnerability and Homer's alteration of mythology; (b) Achilleus' stint on Skyros pretending to be a daughter of King Lykomedes, and (c) how the cunning Odysseus tricked Achilleus into revealing himself. Additionally, we consider what uncertainty underlies the myth of Achilleus and how that relates to all people.
In this lecture, we (a) lay-out the fundamentals of an allegorical interpretation of Dante vs. a literal one, (b) met Virgil, three beasts, three angelic-women (by proxy), and (c) laid of the structure of Plato's tripartite soul, related that to the types of sin in Dante's "Inferno", and then attributed those "corruptions of the soul" to the interpretation of the three beasts Dante meets on the way up the mountain in Canto I.
In this lecture, we (a) consider the mythic background of Homer's "Iliad"; (b) examine the reasons for the sacrifice of Iphigeneia, and (c) establish the theme that no one gets away with anything in Greek mythology (especially when they challenge a god).
In this lecture, we (a) review the basic structure of Dante's "The Divine Comedy", (b) consider the influence of Virgil on Dante and the middle-ages, and (c) conclude by looking specifically at the structure of Dante's hell and his Platonic/Aristotelian conception of the soul.
Staying awake for the old lady's stories, reuniting the lovers, playing hide and seek with Mask Salesman children on the Moon--we touch on themes of memory, maturity, awakening, and friendship in the final Side Quest on Majora's Mask.
This week, Wes and Ben are: winning the Mirror Shield from the bottom of the well, shining light on the dancing undead of Ikana Castle, and scaling the Stone Tower, with a nod to the Tower of Babel theory of Termina's blasphemy: https://zeldauniverse.net/2006/11/03/the-stone-tower-why-termina-was-doomed/
In this conversation on the final book of the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss chapters 26-30. Specifically, we consider: (a) the meaning of differences in Goblin and Wizarding notions of ownership; (b) the appearance of Aberforth and his similarities and differences with his brother, Albus, and (c) we end where we began, in Hogwarts, now breaking in to the place we were once invited!
In this conversation on the final book of the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss chapters 20-25. Specifically, we consider: (a) the meaning of a story within a story; (b) we consider the symbolic meaning of the Deathly Hallows; (c) and we consider the differences between how the Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix define themselves through language and action! And more!
In this inaugural episode of our conversations on the corpus of Shakespeare, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discussed one of Shakespeare's first works, if not his first work, "The Comedy of Errors". We specifically considered: (a) Shakespeare's time and historical context; drama as a medium, and Shakespeare's audience; (b) from the play, we considered the layers of errors, who was at error (ourselves, even?), and why observing people making errors is funny, and (c) we concluded with questions of identity, social class, and what makes comedy enjoyable in the first place!
This is the first episode in a series that aims to bring critical commentary and intelligent conversation (when we can muster it!) to each of Shakespeare's plays, so that no matter how one intends to read Shakespeare, one will always have three fellow interlocutors to join!
In this episode, Mr. Wes Schantz, Mr. Ben Kozlowksi, and I consider the Great Bay portion of Zelda: Majora's Mask. We specifically consider: (a) the themes of eros (relationship) and thanatos (death) from both Freudian and Taoist perspectives; (b) we further consider the themes of growing up, meeting the opposite gender, and dying present in the Great Bay; (c) and we consider the perspective Majora's Mask takes on William James' concept of the "moral holiday" and differing ways one can spend one's vacations (or time in general).
In this conversation on the final book of the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss: (a) the uses of and symbols of intelligence vs. intuition (or revelation); (b) the desire for discovery and its misleading potential; (c) and connections between how the Harry Potter series confronts the question of death vs. the Christian way of doing so!
In this conversation on the final book of the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss: (a) the wedding of Bill and Fleur in juxtaposition with the fall at the ministry; (b) the tragic tale of Kreature and contrasts between Hermione and Umbridge; (c) we conclude with differing accounts on the scope of the series as a whole!
In this episode, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider the Great Bay portion of Zelda: Majora's Mask. We specifically consider: (a) the developmental arc of the game and how children develop and learn; (b) we further consider the theme of death and its relationship to life and learning; (c) we conclude with our first description of the Gerudo people and all the potential complications and social-problems they present.
In this first conversation on the final book of the Harry Potter series, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss: (a) the theme of death and how it relates to maturity; (b) continuing contrasts drawn between Voldemort's methods and Harry's, and Rufus Scrimgeour's and Harry's as well; and (c) we examine Harry and Voldemort's particular connections with their respective animal-familiars.
In this episode with Mr. Kozlowski, Mr. Schantz, and Mr. Schmid we investigate: (a) the theme of repetition and its relationship to the Platonic theory of recollection and the process of maturing or growing-up; (b) we consider what can change through repetition and what cannot and what can be lost; (c) we conclude by considering major symbols of perfection/heavenly achievement in the game: the gold dust used to permanently improve one's sword (logos) and the "milk" (Chateau Romani). And more!
In this conversation with Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I consider the ultimate chapters of J.K. Rowling's penultimate volume of Harry Potter. Specifically, we consider (a) the personal and mythological significance of Dumbledore's death, (b) the transformation of Harry and whether he is more Christ-like or Disciple-like, and (c) Snape and his ability to wound (sectumsempra) and heal wounds (vulnera sanentur).
In this conversation, Mr. Wes Schantz and I have the pleasure of being joined by Mr. Benjamin Kozlowski. We consider the Temple at Snowfall (Temple 2/4); the themes of "dark shadows" and the cyclical nature of time in this world; and what the value of specific side-quests are to the overall enjoyment of the game.
1) OCARINA OF TIME - A Masterclass In Subtext: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyUcwsjyd8Q
2) CGI Animated Short Film HD "Majora’s Mask - Terrible Fate " by EmberLab | CGMeetup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqc4gno0Hso
3) Final Fantasy VII Complete Story Explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDCtX9D6n84
4) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Complete Story Explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCLWHH5wQKE&list=PL_Sp78D4KuUcfGaZukykmZ1tbMGGJjhfF&index=7
In this final lecture on Virgil's "Aeneid", we discuss (a) the vitriolic hate which Juno (through Allecto) spreads into the hearts of Queen Amata, Turnus, and the Latin people en masse; (b) we witness the original skirmish between farmers and Trojans and the opening of the Gates of War; and (c) we witness the epic, rage-filled, conclusion of Virgil's "Aeneid" and how all has come full circle since the beginning of Homer's "Iliad".
In this lecture we conclude Shakespeare's tragic masterpiece, "Macbeth". We specifically consider (a) the theme of nature itself rising against Macbeth's unnatural deeds, (b) the role of imagination and prophecy in the decisions and actions of Macbeth, and (c) the rapid denouement of the action of the play and just how quickly both minds and kingdoms can unravel.
In this lecture we discuss, (a) the portentous arrival of the Trojans to Latium (Ausonia, Hesperia), (b) the omens which gather about the Trojan visit and which prefigure the specter of war, and (c) we again witness the dreadful wrath of Juno and its malign effects on all encountered.
In this lecture we consider (a) the differing sounds emitted from Elysium (singing) and Tartatus (screams) and their connections to Dante's "Inferno"; (b) we meet Anchises again, in memory, and from his memory we learn of the future of Rome; and (c) we leave through the Gate of Ivory, the gate of false dreams, which has plagued interpreters of this poem for millennia.
In this lecture, we consider (a) the burning of Aeneas' ships and several connections between his "Aeneid" and Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey"; (b) Aeneas' "golden ticket" (golden-bough) into the underworld, and (c) the more developed Dis (Hades/Underworld) of Virgil in comparison to Homer's from his "Odyssey".
In this lecture, we discuss: (a) The murder of King Duncan and its immediate after-effects; (b) the clumsy cover-up attempt of Macbeth and additional murder of Banquo; and (c) the increasingly obvious mental effects of Macbeth's increasingly evil choices.
In this lecture, we continue to observe (a) Dido's descent into madness; (b) Aeneas' lame attempts at excusing his "escape at night" from Dido, and (c) the ability for deceit and emotion run rampant to create a "living hell" wherever one is!
In this lecture we discuss (a) the geo-politcal situation Macbeth begins with: the treason of Macdonwald; the alliance with Sueno and the Norweyans (Vikings), and the perfidious acts of the Thane of Cawdor; (b) we consider whether Macbeth himself is determined (fated) to become king or whether his actions, and their consequences, lead to this eventuality, and (c) the inhumanity necessary for both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth himself must themselves embody to stick to their equivocating reasoning!
In this episode, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider the Mountain and Goron Villages. Therein we learn lessons about (a) birth and death and the cycle of life, (b) how death and dying and possibly even malfeasance contribute to the production of masks; and (c) how the gameplay and exploratory aspects of this game contribute to its implicit commentary on narrative and what a life really is.
In this episode, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider (a) Tom Riddle's ability to manipulate and frame people, (b) the nature of horcruxes and Slughorn's role in their utilization by Voldemort; and (c) what are the "uniquely deadly weapons" which Harry has been handed by Voldemort?
In this lecture, I discuss (a) Dido's heated passion and its relation to fire-imagery, (b) the connection between fire-imagery and rage and lust, and how the burning of Troy is in some way relating to the burning lust of Paris and Helen, and (c) discuss the plot of Juno and Venus to "marry" Dido and Aeneas and its immediate aftermath.
In this lecture, we consider (1) further theatrical conventions of Shakespeare's time, and the relationship between the current king (James I) and the construction and themes of Macbeth; (2) the sorrowful history of James' parents (Lord Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots) and his fascination with witches, demons, and the supernatural, and (3) we explain the relationship between the the Viking King Sueno, Macdonwald, and the Thane of Cawdor and their battle with the lion/eagle Macbeth.
In this lecture, we consider (a) Aeneas' journey from fallen Troy through Thrace, Delos, Crete, the Strophades, Buthrotum, and finally to Sicily/"Drepanum's Unhappy Coast"; (b) Aeneas' several attempts at founding a city against fate, reception of helpful and confusing prophecies and ultimately (c) the unexpected death of his father, Anchises.
In this introductory lecture to Shakespeare's "Mabeth", we consider (a) Shakespeare's birth, family, and death, (b) his time and place on the Elizabethan stage, and (c) his corpus of work and how it has been transmitted and maintained over time.
In recent days, following strikes in both Oakland and Los Angeles, teachers unions have demanded increasingly onerous restrictions be placed on California charter schools while also increasingly demonizing charter schools based on misinformation. Some of the common claims made and addressed in this podcast are the following: (a) charter schools are not public and do not choose a representative sample of the population; (b) charter schools siphon necessary resources from traditional public schools and only serve caucasian populations, and (c) charter schools function to serve corporate interests at the expense of students, particularly underserved students. None of these positions is tenable in light of the data below and the reasoning shared.
In this discussion with Ms. Sarah Miller and Mr. Wes Schantz, we consider (a) the developing relationships in the text, their increasing complexity, and J.K. Rowling's and Harry Potter's (and even Albus Dumbledore's) increasing focus on them; (b) parallels and contrasts between Tom Riddle and Harry Potter's powers, natures, upbringings, and choices and even perspectives on personal responsibility; and ultimately (c) horcruxes, how they relate to tension between a desire for power vs. a desire for companionship, and the difference between Dumbledore's Army and the Death Eaters' perspectives on free-will and fate.
In this lecture, we consider (a) the lie of Sinon and entrance of the the Trojan Horse into Troy; (b) the deaths of Aeneas' friends and Priam's tragic and symbolic death, and (c) finally, we conclude with Creusa's, Aeneas' wife, disappearance and profoundly sad death.
In this lecture, we consider (a) Dido's disastrous relationship with her brother Pygmalion and his murder of her husband Sychaeus; (b) Venus' meddling influence on the heart and mind of Dido through Cupid (Eros), and (c) Aeneas begins his recounting of the fall of Troy and the role of the Achaean spy Sinon in bringing the Trojan Horse into the city of Troy (Ilion).
In this second conversation The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Mr. Wes Schantz and I field several astute questions and comments from Mr. Ben Kozlowski; we also consider (a) the nature of the archetype of evil as Lucifer and Prometheus and how mischief and evil are connected in the actions of Skull-kid, (b) we consider the importance of prejudice and diverse perspectives in this Zelda game as well as in classical literature: Homer's "Odyssey", Virgil's "Aeneid", and Dante's "The Divine Comedy"; and (c) we consider the relationship between the Deku Mask, the Butler, and the poisoned waters as metaphors within the "text" of the game! And more!
In this lecture, we discuss (1) the proem of the poem and its connections to Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey", (2) the stoic tradition and how Neptune's "oratorical" skill is a symbol for stoicism and the subjugation of emotion to reason, and (3) the future and fate of the Trojan and Roman peoples. I also say Rome rather Troy as the last word of the lecture by accident!
In this final lecture, we consider (1) the relationship between human nature and divine nature, (2) the image of the trinity and the similarities and differences between the circles, and (3) what the ultimate purpose and meaning of Dante's work and the life of a human really is.
In this introductory lecture on Virgil's "Aeneid", we discuss (a) the Punic Wars (264 BCE-146 BCE) and Roman Civil War (49 BCE-45 BCE) as background to Virgil's "Aeneid", (b) the theories of the Aeneid as propaganda vs. glorification of a pacified state, and (c) the life of Virgil and his dying wish.
In this penultimate lecture on Dante's "Paradiso", we discuss (a) Dante's entrance into the Empyrean (the mind of God), (b) Dante's drinking from a river of light (with his eyes), and (c) the disappearance of Beatrice in preparation for Dante's final revelation.
In this special episode of Conversations at the Leaky Cauldron, Wes and Sarah host a seminar at the Norwescon 42! They considered topics ranging from (1) our humble origins and where we first met, (2) perennial philosophical questions considered through the lens of fantasy literature, and (3) what the nature of good and evil is. And more!
In this episode of Conversations at The Leaky Caulron, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider the following topics: (1) parallels between Fleur Delacour (Phlegm) and Merope Gaunt, (2) the horrors of the Gaunt household and the tension between family and state (Ministry of Magic); and (3) Dumbledore's apparent vulnerabilities and lacunae in knowledge and his increasingly informal relationship with Harry.
In this lecture we consider (1) Antigone and Ismene's differing value-systems (family vs. state; honors vs. fear); Creon's initial edicts and his own valuation of power vs. family, and (c) we finish by making connections between Oedipus and Creon.
Side Quests 047: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 001
a) Nintendo vs. Sega/Sony Aesthetic
b) More childish graphics;
c) Big faces, lots of bright colors
d) A lot with sound, limited dialog and simplistic story
d1) Zelda at first
d3) Potentially deeper undercurrents
II Playing with cartridges
a) The controller
III Game Play
a) Very different from a turn-based (active battle system with random encounter) RPG
b) Action-adventure/action RPG
c) Real-time fighting
d) Never hear own voice or see own dialog
IV Picks up where The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time left off
a) Have already fulfilled your destiny
b) Have the Ocarina of time
d) Epona (Horse)
V Setting is a dark forest
a) Dante connection (also after-life)
b) Have a big FALL (Lucifer, Hephaistos, Alice iWonderland; The Matrix)
c) Stuck in a three day loop (like Easter/Dante)
a) All focused on time
b) Collect masks
b2) Interweave/create personality based on amount of roles played;
b3) also quality of role-played as measured by real impact on another’s life;
b4) that shows the puppeteer or actor behind the manifold masks
VI The Antagonist is an outcast for tricks
b) Hephaistian/Luciferian (they don’t want to play anymore)
c) Isolated and crying in a heartrending way;
d) Two fairies, one dark (purple) and one light (white) comand seem to hug/neck;
e) The skull-kid (another reference to death) holds both
e1) Will symbolically choose the dark one
e2) You will get the light to form a full character
VII The gonzo style
a1) the scarecrow
a2) The Great Fairie
aa1) Further seem of re-integration
VIII Running clock
IX Similarity to FF7
a) Response to iterations in the past
b) Seems to focus on ability to follow instructions and master basic eye hand sequencing drills.
c) Basic strategy and learning from mistakes
In this lecture, we consider (a) Oedipus' slowly dawning revelation that the man who killed Laius was he; (b) that Polybus and Merope whom he believed his parents are not, and (c) that he may have brought the corruption of Thebes about himself if only the herdman who was the man who witnessed Laius' murder says so.
In this lecture, we consider (1) the path of Ulysses, and how much farther Dante has come, and how much higher his perspective is now than it was on earth; (2) the choirs of angels and how they relate to the spheres of heaven, and how the spheres of heaven which appear slowest are actually fastest and brightest and closest to the source (God), and (c) we conclude by considering the (1) creation of the world (why it was created), (2) how long it took Lucifer to fall, and (3) how act (form) and potentiality (matter) were first intertwined together.
In this first conversation on J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr Wesley Schantz, and I discuss (a) the duality and unity between the muggle and magical worlds in the Harry Potter universe; (b) what the cost of choice is, and how that relates to time, blood, and mistakes in the past; and (c) we gave a very rich analysis of Rufus Scrimgeour and Horus Slughorn's differing characters and characteristics. Classical references to Homer's "Odyssey", Dante's "Inferno", and Milton"s "Paradise Lost" abound.
In this final epic podcast, Mr. Wes Schantz and I conclude our final foray into Final Fantasy VII. Specifically we consider (a) upward and downward spirals and connections between the end of the game and the beginning; (b) Sephiroth as a Luciferian figure and in comparison to Achilleus in Homer, Lucifer in Milton's "Paradise Lost", and Voldemort in the "Harry Potter" series, and (c) Wes and I conclude by thinking about hope and its relationship to power, and then reflecting on what this experience has meant to us. In this final epic podcast, Mr. Wes Schantz and I conclude our final foray into Final Fantasy VII. Specifically we consider (a) upward and downward spirals and connections between the end of the game and the beginning; (b) Sephiroth as a Luciferian figure and in comparison to Achilleus in Homer, Lucifer in Milton's "Paradise Lost", and Voldemort in Harry Potter, and (c) Wes and I conclude by thinking about hope and its relationship to power, and then reflecting on what this experience has meant to us.
In this lecture, we (a) review Sophocles' biographical information, (b) introduce Oedipus in all his glory and seeming hubris, and (c) lay-out the scene (plague) in Thebes and the initial steps that have been taken to combat it.
In this conversation, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wesley Schantz, and I conclude the fifth installment of the Harry Potter series: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". We specifically consider (1) The Department of Mysteries and what the mysteries of the magical world are (death, life, time, mind, love), and how they relate to our own primary world mysteries and questions; (2) we observe the epic battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore and make varied Luciferian (both Dantist and Miltonian) and Christological connections between the characters and the specific powers they manifest (division vs. unity); (3) we conclude by considering the nature of trauma, physical and spiritual (mental), and the role of the counselor/Dumbledore in guiding one back towards inner harmony by acceptance of difficult truths.
In this lecture, we consider (1) Sophocles' biographical details, (2) his innovations to the Athenian stage over a near 50 year career, and (c) the experiences his accumulated and expressed seeing ninety years of life and the great Persian and Peloponnesian Wars!
In this lecture, we consider (a) the four questions Dante puts to Adam, the first man, (b) the connections between Dante's time in heaven (6-7 hours) and Adam's time in Earthly Paradise (6-7) hours and how the language of man and man himself is like "leaves on a tree" ever changing (falling); and (c) the reasons of Peter's anger against the church (1) the misuse of the papal seat, and (2) divisiveness.
In this lecture, we (1) present the difference between a tragedy, comedy, and epic; (2) discuss what distinguishes a hero from an anti-hero, and (3) and begin explaining the historical context of Sophocles (and the War at Thebes), and the conventions of the Athenian stage.
In this episode of Side Quests, Mr. Wes Schantz and I have our penultimate discussion on Sqauresoft's epic role-playing game from 1997: Final Fantasy VII. We consider the following topics in detail: (1) the motifs of endings and beginnings, in the game itself and in our project covering it; (2) motivations and changing motivations in approaching a long-term game and the personal character growth (bildungsroman) required not only of your characters, but in you as you play through the game; (3) we consider nostalgia, missed opportunities, and the value of goal-oriented action in games and how that translates to a meaningful life.
In this lecture, we (1) review the slaughter of the suitors, the execution of the serving maids, and the dismemberment of Melanthios; (2) we observe the touching reunion of Penelope and Odysseus (after Penelope tests Odysseus, of course), and (3) we observe how Zeus, king of the Gods, finally puts an end to the conflict that started with the taking of Helen so long ago.
In this lecture, we observe (a) Dante's definition of "faith" and his defense of his belief in the words of the Old and New Testaments, (b) Dante's definition of "hope" and St. James' famous distinction between faith and acts, and (c) we witness Dante go blind and then speak to St. John about what love and sacrifice truly are.
In this episode, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I consider (a) Harry's career advice, and the power dynamics between Professor Umbridge and Professor McGonagall; (b) the growing differences between Hermione and Hagrid (including touching on the theme of "the seen" vs. "the unseen" in these chapters and the series at large; (c) and the exit of the Weasley Twins in body and spirit! Bonus screed about arithmancy at the end.
In this lecture, we discuss (1) the nature of the garden and food similes and metaphors as we near the top of heaven, (2) the examinations on faith, hope, and love Dante will now endure, and (3) the character and inconsistency of Peter, the first pope.
In this lecture, we (a) observe Odysseus in rags string the bow and win the contest for Penelope's hand; (b) we witness the deaths of Antinoos, Eurymachos, Amphinomos and all the other suitors; (c) we witness the punishments of the serving maids and Melanthios!
In this lecture, we consider (a) the dream of Penelope and the famous gates of horn and ivory; (b) the rising portents suggesting the doom of the suitors, and (c) Odysseus recruits Eurykleia, Eumaios, and Philoitios to his cause!
In this conversation, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I consider: (a) Neville, St. Mungo's and our deepening impressions of the character in the magical world; (b) Occlumency, what goes unseen or hidden, and Snape and Harry's deepening relationship? (c) Also, bonus talk about how painfully awkward Harry and Cho's romance is. Quickly followed by an exposition of the Weasley Twins' (after Dumbledore's) grand hijinks. Audire!
In this lecture, we (a) review Odysseus' recent troubles with Iros, Melantho, and Eurymachos, (b) we view Penelope and Odysseus sit across from each other for the first time in twenty years (Odysseus in disguise as Aithon, the beggar), and (c) we observe the subtleties of the conversation between long estranged husband and wife!
In this lecture, we discuss (a) Arnaios (Iros) and his fight with Aithon (Odysseus in disguise); (b) the rude mistreatment of Odysseus by Melantho and Eurymachos, and (c) Odysseus' doleful plea to Amphinomos about the sorry state of mankind.
In this lecture, we consider (a) the inhospitable actions of Melanthios, the goat-herd, (b) Argos, Odysseus' ruined, old, and tick-ridden dog as a symbol for Ithaka (and any place gone to seed); and (c) we see the dark foreboding of the inhospitable actions of the leading suitor, Antinoos (throws a foot-stool at Odysseus!).
In this lecture, we review (a) the contemplatives of Saturn, including Peter Damian and St. Benedict; (b) we consider the nature and fate of all human institutions according Dante/St. Benedict (Rome, Florence, the Benedictine Order, the Franciscans, the Dominicans, etc...); and (c) we move forward to the Fixed Stars where we will meet St. Peter, St. James, St. John, and Adam, the first man (in Canto 26).
In this conversation, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" chapters 19-24. Specifically, we consider (a) the relationship of language to domination, subjugation, and liberation ontologically, psychologically, sociologically, and mythologically; (b) we consider the nature of the thestrals, and Hagrid's "giant" problem; (c) and we conclude considering differing ways in which we, as wizards, might observe "Wizard Lent".
In this episode, Mr. Wes Schantz and I continue trudging towards the end. We consider (a) the nostalgia of artificially extending the game-time by exploring and ferreting out new side-quests, (b) the importance of a narrative being a coherent whole rather than a chimerical attempt at "being everything to everyone all at once"; (having character and thus limits); and (c) what is it about a video game laced with narrative that makes it so addictive to us?
In this episode, Mr. Wes Schantz and I talk (1) teacher strikes in West Virginia, Oakland, Los Angeles, and New York; (2) what the teachers unions are demanding (higher pay; fewer or no charter schools (West Virginia)), and (3) what charter school teachers are (successful by the numbers) and are not (cherry-pickers slowly rotting away the core of public education while profiting off failing children).
In this conversation with Ms. Sarah Miller and Mr. Wes Schantz, we talked about chapters 13-18 in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". Specifically, we consider (1) Dolores Umbridge and her particular brand of "educating" and disciplining; (2) the contrasts and parallels between Percy, Umbridge, and Sirius Black, and (3) how power and wisdom interrelate (or contrast) in an educational setting! And much more!
In this conversation, Mr. Wes Schantz and I are joined by Dr. Jason Hawreliak, PhD, Assistant Professor of Game Studies at Brock University in their Centre for Digital Humanities. Dr. Hawreliak, Wes, and I consider (1) ideology, death-anxiety, and the relationship between "shooters", game-play mechanics, and the relationship between shooting games and times of war; (2) we consider video games as a vessel for narrative compared to literature and film, and (3) we consider to what extent a hero is a cultural construction, and how the image of a hero evolves over time and across media.
Below are a few sites which Dr. Hawreliak has helped start or been a part of and a link to one of his books:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17euo2DzBZI (the infamous Virtual Boy)
In this lecture, we discuss (1) Odysseus waking up in Ithaka and plotting the destruction of the suitors with Athene, (2) Odysseus, now disguised as a beggar, meeting and lying about his identity to Eumaios, and (3) Telemachos being summoned from Sparta by Athene and finally making it to Eumaios' house.
In this lecture, we (1) consider the "Golden Ladder" of contemplation, (2) come to understand the "ineffability" of predestination in relation to free-will, and (3) learn that (perhaps ironically today) St. Benedict fled the city and its corruption for the contemplative life.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider "Mending Walls" by Robert Frost. Specifically, (1) we consider the haphazard meter/rollicking and disjointed language of the poem; (2) the necessity and beauty of walls, and how they relate to institutions, like the American political edifice; and how (3) relevant the lines, "Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:" might be to America today.
In this episode, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I consider (a) making it to the third disc and how beginnings and ends affect our judgments of any communicative effort; (2) what Hojo and Aeris and Sephiroth mean as ideals, and (3) how the Final Fantasy series as a whole mimics the epic tradition through its serial growth, what the epic tradition is attempting to produce, and we begin to answer whether Final Fantasy VII is itself worthy of the moniker "great" or "epic".
(Unfortunately, some of our best stuff was left unrecorded (due to operator error--me), and thus was lost to time like tear drops in the rain.)
In this lecture, we (1) review the passing of the Sirens and Skylla and Charybdis (the Rovers/Roving Rocks); (2) we again witness the "brilliance" of Eurylochos, and (3) witness the catastrophe that befalls Odysseus' men when he again falls asleep and is not there to guide their judgment.
In this lecture, we discuss (a) can humans understand divine justice? (b) What about people who existed before Christianity or outside its physical range (those born along the Indus)? And (c) how can Trajan and Ripheus (noble pagans) be in heaven, but not Virgil?
In this conversation, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I consider (a) Harry's Hearing and the corruption at the Ministry of the Magic; (2) we consider Mr. Weasley and the introduction of Dolores Umbridge and Luna Lovegood, and (c) consider the source of Harry's new increasing humanity, quick temper, and his evolving relationship with his friends and the heroic ideal.
In this lecture, we (1) finish considering Tityos, Tantalos, Sisyphos, and Herakles in the Underworld of Homer; (2) return to Circe's isle, Aiaia, and plan for the Sirens, Skylla and Charybdis, and Thrinakia (the Isle of the Sun); (3) we then witness the song of the alluring Sirens, and watch "the most pitiful thing [Odysseus'] eyes have ever seen".
In this lecture, we (1) enter Jupiter and observe its blush recede to objective paleness; (2) we learn about the just rulers who occupy Jupiter and the eagle that symbolizes and vocalizes their collective will, and (3) we consider whether divine justice is effable or ineffable for Dante.
In this episode of Conversations, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wesley Schantz, and I open the fifth book in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," and consider its first six chapters. Specifically, we considered (a) Harry's new attitude and the deepening layers in the fifth installment; (b) how Harry is dealing with the coming of the dark lord and the death of Cedric, and (c) how the darkness and awareness of darkness within the series of books mimics the developing darkness and awareness of darkness within Harry himself.
In this lecture, we discuss (a) Odysseus' fate in relation to Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses", (b) why the shades in the underworld do in the underworld what they did while alive, and (c) we meet the three great tortured souls: Sisyphos, Tantalos, and Tityos.
In this lecture, we consider (a) Cacciaguida's foretelling of Dante's bitter future, (b) the philosophy and psychology of seeing good times in the future (heaven/promised land) or the past (Eden/Ogygia/Golden Age), and (c) we concluded with a consideration of how to turn catastrophe to one's immortal advantage.
In this lecture, I (a) give an overview of Dante's sphere of Mars, (b) introduce the symbol of the cross, and (c) introduce Cacciaguida and illuminate the connections between him and Anchises from Virgil's Aeneid.
In this episode, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I consider (1) the Lucrecia side-quest and the emerging complexity of the question of good and evil in the game, (2) the emergence of hierarchies of antagonism in the emergence of Diamond Weapon, and (3) we question whether a video game can stand against the narrative force of epic literature.
In this conversation with Mr. Wesley Schantz, we consider (1) Individualized Education Plans, the science and philosophy behind them, and what their impact is on students and educational systems of standards; (2) we think about the role of character development in education and its actual neuropsychological benefits, and (3) we consider what information and resources educators can access which are scientifically rigorous, rather than good-hearted but ideologically motivated (re: prejudiced).
Special Education Teachers on Decline:
LA Teachers and Pensions:
Individualized Education Plans:
In this lecture, we (a) review the Kikones, Lotus Eaters, Cyclopes, Aiolos, and Laistrygones episodes from Odysseus' story-journey; (b) we then move on to Circe's house and (c) observe the demise of poor, foolish Elpenor.
In this lecture, we (a) review the shared perspective of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure, (b) outline how Solomon can be above all natures in perfection, if even perfectly made men (Adam and Christ) be included in that category, and (c) we speculate on the notion of resurrection in the context of Virgil's "Aeneid" Bk. VI (6).
In this conversation with Dr. Richard Bartle, Mr. Wes Schantz and I discuss the creation of virtual worlds, the difference between playing and designing a game, and whether the goal of developing a better world, rather than simply bettering the world, is possible.
Richard Allan Bartle, Ph.D., co-wrote the first virtual world, MUD ("Multi-User Dungeon"), in 1978, thus being at the forefront of the online gaming industry from its very inception. A former university lecturer in Artificial Intelligence, he is an influential writer on all aspects of virtual world design and development. As an independent consultant, he has worked with almost every major online gaming company in the U.K. and the U.S. over the past 20 years. Richard lives with his wife, Gail, and their two children, Jennifer and Madeleine, in a village just outside Colchester, England. He works in virtual worlds. (From: https://www.amazon.com/Designing-Virtual-Worlds-Richard-Bartle/dp/0131018167/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1549457942&sr=1-1&keywords=designing+virtual+worlds)
In this episode of Conversations at the Leaky Cauldron, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I conclude the fourth installment of the Harry Potter series. Specifically, we consider (a) Voldemort's merits as an evil antagonist, (b) what the nature of good and evil are in relation to games and choice, and (c) how Christian imagery and symbolism map onto the conflicts in the Harry Potter Universe.
In this lecture, we (a) observe the recklessness of both Polyphemos and Odysseus, (b) meet Aiolos and his strange family and receive from him a strange gift, and (c) meet the lawless and savage Laistrygones.
In this lecture, we (a) introduce the basic theme (shared perspective) and speakers (St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure) of the sphere, (b) speak to Dante's increasing clarity of sight/judgment, and (c) consider why these teachers extol the virtues of the lives of others and not their own.
In this episode of Side Quests, Mr. Wes Schantz and I discussed (a) the huge materia in the underwater reactor, (b) the space-flight in Rocket Town, and (c) what precisely the function and essence of an Role-Playing Game is.
On this episode of Recurrent Events, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider the recent (18 Jan. 2019) UTLA (Union of Teacher's of Los Angeles) teacher walk-out. We specifically wonder, (a) what were the specific demands of the teachers, and what problem were they trying to solve, (b) were their demands borne simply of love for children or also of envy or resentment (at their low pay), and (c) what is at the heart of inequalities in education?
Articles and Resources Mentioned:
8) Information on Proposition 13 (1978): https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-prop-13-changes-20181017-story.html
9) Additional information on state vs. district funding: https://www.ppic.org/publication/financing-californias-public-schools/
As we continue on our epic journey through the fantasy worlds of our youth, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I consider some of the finer points of Harry's most recent adventures: (1) What is the source of evil in the wizarding world and the primary world itself? (2) What is the meaning of the newly minted summoning charm and the idea of "summoning" evil or good into the world? And (3) what exactly is the relationship between muggles and wizarding folk?
In this return-episode of The Great Men podcast, Mr. Oscar Ortiz and I are joined by Mr. David Oldham to discuss Plutarch's "The Life of Caesar". Below are just a few of the topics we discussed:
The Life of Julius Caesar
Caesar as a boy
Captured by pirates
Hunted them down and crucified them
Caesar as a Student
Said to have been as gifted as any at rhetoric but that he chose the sword over letters; how does greatness differ for a man of action vs. a man of the intellect (Cicero or Aristotle)
Caesar crying at the achievements of Alexander
Caesar as public man and giver of gifts to the public
Caesar as conqueror of Gaul
Vercingetorix paraded about Caesar’s dais before sat at his feet
Caesar as Emperor
The Death of Caesar
The Revenge of Caesar
His remaining works and deification
In this episode, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I talk about Robert Frost's "Mowing". Specifically, we consider (a) what the American form of poetry is, (b) the purpose of poetic/imagistic self-expression, and (c) who wields the "scythe of time" along the "cutting edge" at present.
Side Quests 038: Final Fantasy VII 23 with Mr. Wesley Schantz and Mr. Alexander Schmid
Take all risk
But they are desperate; their wives sent away
Fun strategy mini game; too broke, and then too broke to buy all
Fight Weapon after no progress on Cloud
Real bonding moment; don’t need Cloud to beat bosses
Beta and region are killing it
Fall into the Lifestream
Cid shows real leadership
Tifa assumes role of “piecing Cloud back together”; or rather guide to his process
Though she herself runs from accusations in the darkness
Cloud realizes that he was not the SOLDIER, but he was a Shinra normal trooper. Zach was defeated by Sephiroth and Cloud took Sephiroth from behind, but then through him off the ledge and into the mako of a mako reactor while impaired on Sephiroth’s disbelieving blade; also holding Jenova’s head
Cloud also apparently did not fit in and was not close to Tifa and actually liked her and blamed himself for her injury as a child(impulsive journey by Tifa up Mt. Nibel on the night her mom died)which he felt kept them apart; felt also more mature like character in the Idiot
So journey back to Mt. Nibel all the more symbolic, and Tifa rather than being second string to Aeris (now known to be attracted to Cloud only because he was like Zack) is the primary reason for Cloud’s pursuit of strength and eventual delusion!@
In this lecture, we first (a) recapitulate the beginning of Dante's argument on how a "sweet seed [could] go bitter," and a brief exposition of Aristotle's cosmology; (b) we then consider what the "various" effects and causes of man are, and (c) consider thus the mechanism by which siblings differ from each other and their parents, and why some people feel ill-suited to this world.
In this lecture, we discuss (a) Demodokos' third and final song on Scheria, (b) Odysseus and Euryalos make amends and Odysseus is given gifts, and (c) Odysseus reveals his identity and begins telling of his journey from Troy to Scheria, starting with plundering the Kikones at Ismaros!
In this lecture, I introduce (a) Venus and the Venusians, those whose love transcended their lust; (b) we consider the connection between the "obscured" or "darkened" first three spheres of Heaven, and (c) we learn Aristotle's "trickle-down Theo-nomics" theory of how the primal good is transmitted through the heavens and down to earth.
On this episode of Side Quests, Wes Schantz and I have the pleasure to host Mikhail Koulikov, who is an anime scholar, research librarian, and facilitator of anime-focused projects. He maintains the site www.animemangastudies.com, and he was kind enough to talk to us today about: (a) what first drew him to anime and what anime has to offer that other genres do not; (b) what makes anime worthy of academic rigor; and (c) major scholarly trends and current and classic shows to watch out for. And more.
In this lecture, we observe (a) hospitality gone wrong on Scheria and the confrontation between Odysseus, Laodamas, and Euryalos; (b) the strength and sagacity of Odysseus, and (c) we conclude with a consideration of Demodokos' song about the (cheating) affair between Ares and Aphrodite, and how the gods resolve conflicts!
In this lecture, we lay out (a) Dante's reasoning behind the Incarnation, (b) Dante's argument for why humans ought to be charitable towards each other (as an ultimate ideal), and (c) how the first three spheres of Paradise emphasize the theme that "one's initial sensory perceptions are often wrong"/ "Nothing is as it seems [at first]".
In this conversation, Ms. Sarah Miller and Mr. Wesley Schantz and I consider "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" Chs. 24-26. Specifically, we reflect on: (a) Rita Skeeter's yellow journalism and the difference between truth and propaganda, (b) Hagrid's hybrid nature and the lead-up to the second task (c) and finally, the second task and what it means for Harry to lose one level of the competition by actually winning at a "higher level"--or winning the game outside the game.
In this episode of Side Quests, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I have the opportunity to talk to @AndrewTurnwall who writes as The Ink-Stained Mage at https://thewellredmage.com/author/theinkstainedmage/. Though usually we talk Final Fantasy VII, in this conversation we ask Andy about (a) Dungeons and Dragons and what it is, (b) what draws one into the game and who creates its mythology (developer or players?), and (c) why the time spent in preparation and playing is good for the soul.
In this episode, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I continue into Disc 2 of Square's "Final Fantasy VII". Specifically, we consider (a) Cloud's plight, (b) Cid and Barret as leaders and the new team dynamics, (c) what the difference between the beginning of a game is and the middle-end of a game, and how those trajectories correlate to the beginning and middle-end of a life. Wes also makes a bold claim about Majora's Mask!
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I discuss Robert Frost's most famous poem: "The Road Not Taken". Specifically, we consider (a) two leading theories on how to read this poem, (b) how the method of amplifying (expanding on) a poem brings to light embedded information within it regardless of the reception of the poem, and (c) we conclude with a consideration of what is lost when something is gained.
In this episode of Side-Quests, Wes and I are joined by Helen McCarthy (http://helenmccarthy.wordpress.com), a learned scholar of anime, accomplished craftsperson, and engaging conversationalist. We specifically consider the subjects of (a) Japanese Culture and its perception vs. its reality, (b) mythology and whether anime melds the mythologies of the East and West, and (c) then we focus in on the works of Hayao Miyazaki, his leading ideas, his sense of nostalgia, and ultimately consider what his masterpiece is.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I conclude our Emily Dickinson unit with two poems of hers about death: "Because I could not stop for Death – (479)", and "A not admitting of the wound (1188)."
In this lecture, we (a) observe the divine house of Alkinoos, covered in gold and silver; (b) we enjoy the hospitality of the Phaiakians, and the wisdom of their leading men and women, and (c) learn about the history of the Phaiakians and the speed of their far-flung ships.
In this episode, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wesley Schantz, and I delve into "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" Chs. 18-23. Specifically, we consider (a) the first challenge and the symbol of the dragon, (b) the Yule Ball and the discomfort of dawning "new robes" (roles), and (c) what is the role of transformation in these chapters, and is there a difference between superficial, aesthetic transformation and a deeper, more substantial one?
In this lecture we discuss (a) the interwoven olive bushes beneath which Odysseus spends his first night in Scheria, (b) the dream of Nausikaa and her mythological situation, poised before marriage (major theme), and (c) the interaction between the wild and savage appearing Odysseus and the courageous and taming Nausikaa!
In this lecture, we meet (a) Justinian and Romieu de Villenueve, (b) consider the concepts of just punishment and just reward, and (c) provide Beatrice/Dante's account for why (1) God became mortal, and (2) why God forgave rather than punished man for his death.
On this episode of Night School, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I discuss two poems by Emily Dickinson: "There is no Frigate like a Book (1286)" and "The Poets light but Lamps — (930)". Specifically, we consider (a) classical images of the soul in "There is no Frigate,"(b) Christian and Greco-Roman imagery in "The Poets,", and (c) some analysis of the metempsychotic function of poetry. What is passed on through the poetic art?
In this episode, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I consider (a) our new restricted character list and physical constraints and incarceration, (b) the new immediate threats (WEAPON) and remote threats (METEOR) with which we now must content, down one Cloud, and (c) how to move forward from the idyllic past into the terrible and terrifying present, full of potentially world-ending problems?
In this episode of Recurrent Events, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I are joined by the wise Mr. Oscar Ortiz. Specifically, we talk about (a) the differences between teaching and leading as an administrator, (b) how glory and its pursuit relates to education, and (c) what it means to pursue greatness, and what a community based on such a pursuit might look like.
In this lecture, I layout and give Beatrice's response to the following major questions from the Sphere of the Moon:
1)If heaven is perfect, and above the earth, it cannot be made of matter, but how do I, Dante, move in heaven if I have a body which is made of matter? (1-97-99)
2)Why does the moon appear to have dark spots if it is in heaven, and heaven is perfect? (2.49-51)
3)How do humans take what they see with their senses and then understand what they see with their intellects? (4.43-61)
4)What makes an oath unbreakable? What are the parts of an oath, and under what conditions may an oath be broken? (5.13-15)
5)If a vow is broken by the force of another, why would I be blamed for breaking the vow? (4.19-21)
6) Bonus: Why do souls not long for a higher place in paradise? (3.64-66)
In this episode of Recurrent Events, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I have the pleasure to welcome Mr. David Oldham to talk to us. Specifically, we consider (a) the value of being a lifetime student as a teacher, (b) what is civic virtue and how does it relate to teaching, and (c) what is the highest pursuit of man, and how does it relate to teaching?
In this lecture, we (a) review the stories of Helen and Menelaos from Book IV (4), (b) we observe the Edenic/Paradisical nature of Kalypso's island home, and (c) we watch Odysseus restart his epic adventure knowing that much hardship awaits him.
In this lecture, we consider (a) the story Helen tells Telemachos (and Menelaos) of once giving a disguised Odysseus a bath! And (b) then we hear Menelaos' sorrowful account of his capturing Proteus, The Old Man of the Sea!
In this introductory lecture to Dante's "Paradiso", we consider (a) Dante's geocentric conception of the universe, (b) the difference between the (1) absolute will and (2) contingent will, and (c) consider the value of oaths and promises amongst the oath-breakers.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I explore Emily Dickinson's "Publication – is the Auction (788)," "Fame is the one that does not stay — (1507)," "Fame is a fickle food (1702)", and conclude with the pointed "Fame is a bee. (1788)." We specifically consider (a) Dickinson's disparaging view of selling the work of the mind (art), (b) the tension between Christian monarchical symbolism and American democratic/capitalist value in Dickinson's work, and (c) the wistfulness inherent in fame and the poetic art. Alex also butchers the quote below.
John 3:8 King James Version (KJV)
"8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
On this episode of Consilience Conversations, Dr. Matt Roos and I discuss (a) the neuroscience behind giving vs. receiving, (b) how religious beliefs, practice, and experience relate to neuroscience and what we currently know, and (c) how humans naturally see the world socially and how that relates to conceptions of religion and well-being.
In this fourth podcast on the 4th volume in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss chs. 15-17, and more specifically (a) the significance and relationship between Beauxbatons and Durmstrang; (b) the nature of Harry's heroism, (c) Hermione's developing social awareness, and (c) how does volume four figure within the series at large?
On this episode, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider (a) the summoning of Weapon and to what extent "you" are summoned in the game; (b) what the relationship between Sephiroth, Jenova, and you is, and (c) what is the nature of Cloud's being, and Sephiroth's, and Jenova's, and how do they relate to Weapon?
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I consider Emily Brontë's "No Coward Soul Is Mine", and Emily Dickinson's "Some keep the Sabbath going to Church – (236)" and "I dwell in Possibility – (466)". We specifically consider (a) the relationship between Dickinson and Brontë's poetry in theme and structure ; (b) the ways in which Dickinson's view of religion may have clashed with norms and been rationalist in its approach, and (c) what the process of building a poem or "house of possibility" entails and brings out in or requires of a reader.
In this lecture, we (a) meet the old and wise Nestor and his son Peisistratos In Pylos, (b) venture forward to the land of sadness, Sparta, and meet Menelaos and the beautiful and observant Helen of Argos, and (c) learn the cost of experience and wisdom!
In this lecture, we consider (a) the entrance of Beatrice and exit of Virgil in the story, (b) the end of the Biblical procession, and (c) a dramatic representation of the corruption of the Church throughout time.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I consider Emily Dickinson's "All overgrown by cunning moss," and recite Emily Brontë's "No Coward Soul Is Mine". We specifically consider (a) the story untying the poem about the death of Charlotte Brontë; (b) the ways poems and perceptions of poets evolve over time, and (c) we recite the poem by Emily Brontë which Emily Dickinson requested be read at her funeral.
In this lecture, we discuss (a) Athene's strategy for helping Odysseus and Telemachos, (b) Zeus' proclamation that man's own "wild recklessness" is often the cause of his own suffering, and (c) observed Telemachos' first disastrous public speech in assembly.
In this lecture, we consider (a) the Terrace of Lust and its relation to chastity, (b) Terrestrial Paradise and how the end is just the beginning, and (c) what is the meaning of the Biblical Procession in Eden/Terrestrial Paradise?
In this lecture, we consider (a) the terraces of Sloth, Avarice (and prodigality), and gluttony. Specifically, we consider how what sloth, avarice, and gluttony cost, (b) how love poetry may be tied to self-indulgence, and (c) the potential costs of sensual delights to lifetime achievement.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider Emily Dickinson's "Surgeons must be very careful" and ""Faith" is fine invention". We specifically consider (a) the length and form of the short poems, (b) how a poem is a small manifestation of articulated being, and (c) how "faith" and faith differ in the context of the second poem.
In this third podcast on the 4th volume in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss (a) the Unforgivable Curses and what is so unforgivable about them; (b) number symbolism surrounding threes and fours (trinities and quaternaries) in the text, and (c) what happens once one's view of the world now must reflect the darkness therein?
In this lecture, we review (a) the lost epics: "The Aethiopis" and "The Little Iliad" and move through (b) "The Sack of Ilium" and "The Returns". Specifically, we consider (a) the Trojan Horse, Sinon, and Laocoon, (b) the carnage at Troy the night it falls, and (c) the misbegotten ways home of the Achaian heroes.
* Aigisthos, not Orestes, kills Agamemnon!
In this episode, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider (a) the disorienting experience of moving on after tragedy, (b) the significance of the snowboard and the map, and (c) what real-world lessons the game has to teach us about behavior and adapting to change in the world.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider the American poet Emily Dickinson's "Come Slowly--Eden!" and "Arcturus". Specifically, we consider (a) transitions between religious and naturalistic uses of language and perceptions of reality, (b) Dickinson's use of structure and form to convey meaning, and (c) the relationship between scientific knowledge and the experience of meaning and its changing relationship in language and time.
In this episode of Recurrent Events, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider (1) what the role of educational certification is and how it relates to the craft of teaching, (2) how the responsibilities of substitute teaching differ from classroom (TOR) teaching, and (3) how one can transform the teaching profession from within the classroom.
In this lecture, we consider summaries of the lost epics: (a) "The Aethiopis", and (b) "The Little Iliad". Specifically, we consider the fates of (1) Achilleus, (2) Aias the Greater, and (3) Paris of Troy.
On this special episode of Side Quests, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I welcome Dr. Matt Roos from the Consilience Conversations podcast (https://anchor.fm/alexander-schmid9/episodes/Consilience-Conversations-001-Confirmation-Bias-e26n1v) to talk about addiction and gaming. We talk about (a) the positive and negative aspects of gaming, (b) the relationship of addiction to habit formation and how game developers can build addictive habits into gameplay (and the ethics of these practices); and (c) the relationship between narrative/fantasy and addiction in young people, and particularly in young men.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I conclude our foray in Whitman's "Song of Myself" with Pts. 50, 51, and 52. We consider (a) the interplay of time in poetry and life and what is eternal about both, (b) what the meaning of contradiction is within a poem and poet, and (c) what the meaning of the poem is writ-large, and what is the purpose of the poet.
In this lecture, we conclude the Homer's "Iliad" lecture course. We consider (a) the underworld journey of Priam to Achilleus, (b) the realization of his own mortality by Achilleus, and (c) the range of human experience and suffering.
In this second podcast on the 4th volume in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss (a) what magical drinks we would have in the Leaky Cauldron, (b) the positive and negative aspects of groups at the Quidditch World Cup and (c) the ever more defined nature of darkness and the wizarding world in this fourth book of the series!
In this lecture, we consider (1) the imaginative examples of wrath in Terrace III of Purgatory, (2) the nature of rational vs. natural love, and (c) the Moral structure of Purgatory and Dante's second dream of a witch/siren!
In this episode of Side Quests, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I discuss the Wutai side quest available at the end of Final Fantasy VII Disc 1. We discuss (a) one of the most pivotal scenes in all video game history, (b) the level of betrayal Cloud must feel and what a host of symbolic interpretations of the situation could be, and (c) how the game pokes at the player through the game; who is the real puppet,: Cloud or you?
On this episode, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider (a) what is the relationship between the news and grand narratives, (b) is there a more productive use of the internet, and internet data, than trolling, and is that what we are looking for? (c) We consider future guests and getting to the bottom of several political and educational issues in a sophisticated round-table format.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I consider Whitman's "Song of Myself" Pts. 48 and 49. We consider (a) the identity of God and Man in Whitman's poetry, (b) the identity, or egalitarian/democratic nature of experiences, and (c) what are Whitman's mature reflections on death and dying?
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I consider Whitman's "Song of Myself" Pts. 46 and 47. We consider (a) the spirit of poetry and which flows through language and time, (b) what the interplay of tradition and inspiration are within poetry and language, and (c) what is the best teacher of man, his own experience or a school or even a poem?
In this lecture, we consider (1) the definition and nature of Terrace 3: Wrath; (2) Marco Lombardo's exposition of Free Will vs. The Stars, and (3) Dante's ideal relationship between the Church and the State. Next time, we will consider the definitions and relations between Natural Love and Rational Love.
In this lecture, we consider (a) the contrasting examples of Charity and Envy in Dante's "Purgatorio" Cantos 13-15; (b) we then consider the description of envy in Ovid's "Metamorphoses," and (c) define what the essence of envy is and why it is a problem/poison which keeps one from one's goals (dreams).
In this lecture, we discuss: (a) the release of the Olympian Gods back onto the battlefield, (b) the future of Aineias and his combat with Achilleus, and (c) the sad fate of Priam's youngest son, Polydoros.
In this episode of Side Quests, Mr. Wesley Schantz and I discuss the Wutai side quest available at the end of Final Fantasy VII Disc 1. We discuss (a) betrayal and loyalty between friends and enemies, (b) the liquid beauty of Wutai and the fusion of Eastern and Western mythologies and aesthetics, and (c) how the thief prefigures the hero and how one's investment/playing strategy evolves/progresses over time, just as one's attitude develops over one's real life.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider Parts 44-45 of Whitman's "Song of Myself". We specifically consider (a) Whitman's expanded use of time and man's place within time; (b) Whitman's suggesting of directionality or intentionality in history/nature, and (c) how Whitman is an American and an epic poet.
In this first podcast on the 4th volume in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss (a) the Riddle House and inauspicious beginnings,(b) darkness and the growing potential for darkness in Harry's perspective and choices and (c) we considered the settling of themes and segments to come including: fire, snakes, and riddles and more!
On this episode of Consilience Conversations, Dr. Matt Roos and I are joined by special guest: Daniel Babcock, from Contemporary Commentaries on Westworld (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKdLUOouUfd5sejP8id34olqtwzbKsD3Y or https://anchor.fm/alexander-schmid9/episodes/Episode-048-Westworld-Season-II-Episode-I-e1cb4e). We discuss (a) contemporary experiments on movement and neural imaging, (b) Christian and Greco-Roman epic and philosophical views on free-will, and (c) the potential legal, moral, religious, and educational impacts these questions could have.
On this episode of Side Quests, Mr. Wes Schantz and I discuss (a) the Temple of the Ancients; (b) we question what exactly the sort of being or parasite Sephiroth may be, and (c) we conclude by talking about addiction, fantasy, and their relationship in contemporary American culture.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider Parts 42-43 of Whitman's "Song of Myself". We specifically consider (a) Whitman's musical imagery and its relation to the experience of living; (b) Whitman's identifying with the whole of mankind and the universality of his message, and (c) his apparent statement of Christian faith and acceptance of the mysteries he does not comprehend.
On this first episode of Recurring Events, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider (a) what is the news, and how should it be covered, (b) what is civic virtue and how can one actually embody it, (c) the potential difference in spirit between public and private institutions, and (d) the neuroscientific basis for political partisanship and in-group bias/conflict.
In this episode, we discuss Dante's "Purgatorio" Cantos 13-15. First, (a) we review the proud and representations of art, (b) we consider the essence of envy and how love expiates it, and (c) we conclude with the disembodied representations of love which Dante hears on Terrace 2.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider Parts 40-41 of Whitman's "Song of Myself". We specifically consider (a) Whitman's view of America and his own epic experience; (b) Whitman's use of epic conventions and the meaning of Sleep, and (c) to what extent is a subjective consciousness an expression of an embodied idea? And to what extent is that what America is?
In this special Halloween edition of Potter's Pockets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ms. Sarah Miller, Mr. Wes Schantz, and I discuss (a) the theme of time and re-iteration, (b) the viability of Sirius as a father figure vs. Mercurial figure, and (c) we considered the increasing depth, complexity, and darkness of the story to come!
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider Parts 37-39 of Whitman's "Song of Myself". We specifically consider (a) Whitman's use of Christian and naturalistic imagery to convey the universality of human experience; (b) Whitman's epic use of apostrophe and suffering as bond of human experience, and (c) is time best conceptualized as linear or circular?
On this episode of Side Quests, Mr. Wes Schantz and I discuss (a) the epoch-making "date" scene at the Golden Saucer; (b) we then discuss the significance of Cait Sith's betrayal, and (c) differing approaches to playing a video game, and how the game, like life, allows for this.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider Parts 34-36 of Whitman's "Song of Myself". We specifically consider (a) the juxtaposition of scenes of war with their functions in the poem, (b) the use of epic conventions within Whitman's continued "universalism of human experience", and (c) how a human is a collection of many stories, not only the heroic, and so is the epic.
In this episode of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider Part 33 of Whitman's "Song of Myself". We specifically consider (a) the purpose of the length of the part and its epic correlates, (b) the biblical and naturalistic and mundane imagery in the part, and (c) the purpose of the poet and the articulation of shared human experience and its relation to communion/digestion imagery.
In this conversation with Dr. Matt Roos, we discuss (a) the idea that words can do violence, (b) the necessity to expose one's self to danger to become antifragile, and (c) to what extent can one develop a habit of excellence?
In this edition of Night School, Mr. Wes Schantz and I consider Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" parts 31-32. We specifically think through (a) Whitman's versatility and command of style, (b) the range of his poetic ambition and range of his naturalistic experience and expression, and (c) a consideration of what mastery really is for Whitman as a poet.