In this month's newsletter, we have some seasonal book recommendations (for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere), more Mesoamerican philosophy reading, and news about our lovely new cover art on Looking for Wisdom.
Welcome to the tenth edition of the Looking for Wisdom newsletter. It's been an incredibly busy month in the lead-up to the launch of my book Hello, Stranger: How We Find Connection in a Disconnected World, which is coming out from Granta on 1st July—a week today! But there's also been loads going on over on Looking for Wisdom.
You can find out more about the book and where to order a copy on Granta's Website. Just click the banner below.
If you are in the UK, you can tune into BBC Radio4 on Saturday 3rd July, where I'll be on Saturday Live, talking about the book with Rev Richard Coles. And the day after, I'll be on the morning show on Radio Scotland. Again, listen in if you can.
There's more exciting book-related news coming in August... but I'll leave that for the next newsletter. Meanwhile, I've been hard at work making some changes to Looking for Wisdom. Here's what's been going on.
This month on Looking for Wisdom
One of this month's greatest delights has been the new artwork I commissioned for Looking for Wisdom. My brilliant illustrator friend Vesela Kucheva has produced some new header images for the site. And her beautiful illustrations really capture for me the spirit of what Looking or Wisdom is about.
Also this month, we've been looking at the philosophy of Plato, Mencius (a particular favourite of mine), and Arete of Cyrene. We've also come to the end of our third and final seven-week course, this one on the philosophy of work. It was fun diving into questions about work and non-work, and exploring the philosophical questions opened up by our working lives.
The good news is that all the course material is now available free of charge on the site. So head on over to the courses section to have a read through. There are three courses you can work through —on wisdom, love and work. And if you want to discuss the questions raised, you can join our community (see below).
And finally, I've tidied up the search function on the site, so that should now help you find the things you are looking for!
Next month, we have more Platonic shenanigans, some more philosophy from China, another blog post on the art of reading philosophy, and lots more! I've also got three more interviews with three very different contemporary philosophers in the works, and these will be published over the coming months.
Coping with Loss: Insights from the philosophy of the Maya
If you've been a subscriber for a while, you will know that I'm a big fan of Alexus McLeod and his brilliant work on Mesoamerican philosophy. A couple of months ago, I ran a wide-ranging interview with Alexus, and also more recently posted a handy primer on the main themes in Maya philosophy. This piece by Alexus recently caught my eye. It is about Maya insights into loss and selfhood, and what it means to keep the dead alive.
A philosophical summer
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is starting. So it seems a good time to suggest three seasonal philosophy books (or if not philosophy books, then philosophical books).
The first is one I'm currently reading—Antoine Compagnon's A Summer with Montaigne, about the most wide-ranging and genial of French philosophers, Michel de Montaigne. It's a great introduction to Montaigne's work.
The second is Tove Jansson's quietly philosophical novel / short story collection The Summer Book. It's just lovely. And if you haven't read it yet, it is the perfect summer read.
And the third is François Jullien's brilliant The Silent Transformations, which explores how Chinese philosophy tackles questions of time and change, how it manages to think about the way one season changes imperceptibly into another—so that suddenly you wake up and find it is autumn. Jullien's book is easy to get hold of in French (Les transformations silencieuses Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle, 2009), but tricky to track down in English. But you stumble across a copy, it's well worth reading.
Join the community!
Remember that as well as the free weekly philosophy files, Looking for Wisdom has a philosophical community you can join to take your studies deeper. As a community member, you will have access to the Agora discussion forum, as well as discounts on future workshops and seminars, and an exclusive community members' newsletter (coming soon!).
It costs $17 (or $170 a year) to join, and the funds go to supporting the running costs of Looking for Wisdom, so the site can continue to grow. It takes hundreds of hours to write, research and maintain Looking for Wisdom, and hundreds of dollars in hosting and other costs. So do think about supporting the project if you can!
Image: Summer night by the beach (1902-3). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.