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The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life [Format Kindle]

Luc Ferry

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“In this marvelously wise and expansive book, Luc Ferry argues for the primacy of Greek myth. ... Ferry writes with warmth, wit, and energy; one could call his prose conversational, but it’s rare to have a conversation quite this wonderful.” (Boston Globe)

“With Luc Ferry as a guide, our passage through the storied landscape of Greek mythology becomes a captivating lesson in philosophy.” (Le Monde (France))

“Ferry’s charm as a teacher bursts through on every page.” (Wall Street Journal)

“A marvelously wise and expansive book. ... Ferry writes with warmth, wit, and energy; one could call his prose conversational, but it’s rare to have a conversation quite this wonderful.” (Boston Globe)

Présentation de l'éditeur

More than 100,000 copies sold in France

A fascinating new journey through Greek mythology that explains the myths' timeless lessons and meaning

Heroes, gods, and mortals. The Greek myths are the founding narratives of Western civilization: to understand them is to know the origins of philosophy, literature, art, science, law, and more. Indeed, as Luc Ferry shows in this masterful book, they remain a great store of wisdom, as relevant to our lives today as ever before. No mere legends or clichés ("Herculean task," "Pandora's box," "Achilles heel," etc.), these classic stories offer profound and manifold lessons, providing the first sustained attempt to answer fundamental human questions concerning "the good life," the burden of mortality, and how to find one's place in the world. Vividly retelling the great tales of mythology and illuminating fresh new ways of understanding them, The Wisdom of the Myths will enlighten readers of all ages.

Détails sur le produit

En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Agrégé de philosophie et de sciences politiques, docteur d'Etat en sciences politiques, Luc Ferry mène d'abord une carrière d'enseignant et de philosophe. Entre 1984 et 1985, il publie les trois tomes de sa 'Philosophie politique', dont il écrit le dernier avec Alain Renaut. Cette collaboration se poursuit notamment avec, 'La pensée 68 - Essai sur l'antihumanisme' et 'Système et critique' en 1985, et avec 'Heidegger et les modernes', en 1988. En 1992 paraît 'Le nouvel ordre écologique - l'arbre, l'animal et l'homme', traduit en plus de quinze langues, qui lui vaut le prix Médicis essais ainsi que le prix Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Intellectuel très médiatisé, il mène en parallèle une carrière politique discrète avant d'entrer au gouvernement en mai 2002, à cinquante et un ans, en tant que ministre de la Jeunesse, de l'Education et de la Recherche. Il préside en effet depuis 1994 le Conseil national des programmes et participe en 1997 à la commission présidée par Pierre Truche pour la réforme de la justice. Après la refonte ministérielle de mars 2004, lors de laquelle il quitte ses fonctions, il est nommé président délégué du conseil d'analyse de la société (CAS) et entre au Conseil économique et social.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very informative. 1 avril 2014
Par Ray Stefanski - Publié sur
The author interprets the Greek Myths according to the lessons they contained for the common man. For unlike the Gods, man could experience life for only a brief time before he expired. The issue for man was to live a good life in light of impending death, which would be possible only if he lived within his means, and did not anger the Gods by his hubris— man’s predisposition to challenge the power of the Gods. The gods punished hubris with fury and destruction to man and his environs.

Prometheus was a demigod and helper of man, for whom he stole the arts and sciences from Athena, the goddess of Wisdom. Zeus realized that man could thereby challenge his power, and threaten to upset the natural order of the universe which would bring about chaos. Zeus thereby punished man by sending Pandora as a gift. When she opened her jar, it released all of man’s ills for all time.

The story has a lesson for modern times: As we exercise the arts and sciences to make us more powerful, we unleash the forces of chaos—nuclear war, climate change and even possibly the ultimate destruction of the planet. Man’s hubris has challenged the gods and the harmony of nature. We’re now left to face the fury and destruction that our hubris has unleashed.

I found this to be an insightful book, and it has given me a greater appreciation of the wisdom of the ancient Greeks. They were the first civilization to address many of life’s problems, and made great progress in philosophy, mathematics, medicine, the arts, etc. Their wisdom is pertinent to this very day.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 the field where one cannot begin at the beginning..... 24 mars 2014
Par Hung Tak Lee - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
This is a book long overdue. Luc Ferry has expanded what the late Moses I. Finley, the first master of Darwin College, Cambridge University, started to venture into at the beginning of the 1980's. Ferry, after Finley, endeavors to bring myths into history, the one field of study in which one cannot, or rather dare not, begin at the beginning. So enters here myths. Ferry talks about hubris, but does not go far enough, since even gods in Greek myth, in particular, in Homer's Odyssey, have their lilmits. Athene says: "Not even the immortals can free a man from the dark clutches of death. That belongs to man alone, and no god can share it with him."
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good book but not life changing. 12 juin 2014
Par Laurie A. Brown - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Author Luc Ferry is an award winning scholar and former French minister of national education. He knows his mythology, and goes back to the oldest sources he can find for his reading; in many cases, sources more than 2000 years old. He’s very thorough, and roots out the basic meaning of the oldest Greek myths: the creation, King Midas, the Odyssey, Oedipus and others. A lot of it all boils down to the opposing forces of chaos and order; order (as personified by Zeus et al) must continually beat chaos (as personified by the pre-Olympian gods, Gaia (earth) and Chronos who is time itself). Everyone and everything has a place in the universe, and those who try to go against this natural place have hubris, and will end up punished by the universe. No one can defeat death. Accept this, and get on with living the best life you can- in other words, be an expression of order.

Even people who have never read the Greek myths know something about them; references to them abound in our vernacular (Oedipus complex, Midas touch, Pandora’s box, Achilles heel etc) so it pays to know where these references come from. The book is interesting; the author treats the myths, as philosophy, with respect rather than as childish tales. He shows how many of these myths connect with each other, and tells us why the things that happen to people happen. Sadly, making the connections means some repetition, but it’s not huge problem.

Did reading this book allow me to change my life? No. I’m not even sure how understanding the myths can change my life; perhaps that means I still don’t understand them.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Review of the Wisdom of the Myths 8 septembre 2014
Par Trevor Neal - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
In his book, 'The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change your Life,' Luc Ferry re-interprets some of the classic stories of western civilization from a secular humanist perspective. The interpretive lens he uses does not take away from the value of this book. Readers will still find his insights to be compelling.

He begins with a justification for the study of the classics; illustrating that like contemporary science, mythology helped the ancient Greeks make sense of the world around them, distinguishing mythological thinking from contemporary philosophy by emphasizing that ancient people did not perceive the universe as an object of knowledge but as a lived reality. Another theme he elaborated on was the ways in which metaphors derived from ancient myths continue to influence us today, and how modern philosophy evolved from the mythology of the Greeks.

Students previously exposed to Greek mythology will find Luc Ferry's analysis refreshing for it revolves around five essential themes established in his introduction. These themes include 1) the origins of the world and the establishment of order out of chaos, 2) humans situating themselves in a meaningful relationship to the cosmos, 3) the role of hubris and its madness which consists of 'a proud and chaotic revolt against the human condition as simple mortals,' 4) the heroes who struggled against the regrouping forces of chaos to maintain order, and 5) the existential question of how could a cosmos that is good and harmonious allow misfortune to strike?

In each of his following chapters Mr. Ferry elaborates on these themes. I immediately became engaged in his insights on the Greek theme of origins. For the Greeks Chaos was the first entity to enter the cosmic drama. Gaia, or the earth mother sprang out of Chaos, however, this necessitated a third divinity; Eros or love. Eros was not an individual god but a creative life force from which other lives sprang into being. To me, this notion of Eros sounds strikingly similar to the 'elan vital force' proposed by Henri Bergson in his classic 'Creative Evolution.' Here, Mr. Ferry also points out that in Greek mythology there is a progressive humanizing of the gods and also a progressive divinizing of men. Quoting, 'the first gods are utterly impersonal.. abstract.. faceless.. they simply represent cosmic forces that evolve progressively without any will, toward consciousness.' Mr. Ferry goes on to establish the geneology of the Greek gods illustrating the descent of Zeus from Uranus through Kronos.

After the cosmos is established the gods animate it with both creatures and man. However, man poses a particular problem to the cosmic order of things because his place is difficult to establish. According to Mr. Ferry the Greek answer to this question was that man must seek to live in harmony with the cosmos. Quoting, he states that 'a life lived in harmony with the cosmos - this is true wisdom, the authentic road to salvation, in the sense of saving us from our fears and making us thereby happier and more open to others..' and 'We must live in a state of lucidity, accepting death, accepting what we are and what is beyond us, in step with our people and the universe....' In contrast to Contemporary Science and Christianity, this emphasis on harmony was given even more importance than quests for immortality. Again, quoting Mr. Ferry, 'the ultimate end of human existence is not, as the Christians would come to believe, to secure eternal salvation by all available means, including the most morally submissive and tedious, to attain immortality. On the contrary, a mortal life lived well is worth far more than a wasted immortality......' His interpretation sounds similar to ecological perspectives, leaving me wondering how the current worldview and its quest for immortality became established, since it is based on the foundation of Greek myth.

Many stories of Greek myth dealt with those that challenged the order of things, rebelling instead of seeking to maintain harmonious relationships. The King Midas myth, and the myth of Sysiphus are examples of characters that revolted against their place as mortals. In each myth the characters are dealt with in a particular way. King Midas finds out that gold may not be as precious as he first thought. Sysiphus is compelled to roll a boulder for eternity as punishment for his hubris and trickery.

Even though order and harmony was established out of chaos, in the Greek worldview there was continuous synergy between the forces of order and those of chaos. Some amount of chaos was needed in order to maintain the flow of time. However, given the disruptive nature of chaotic forces, chaos had to be contained. Many heroes of Greek myth assisted in keeping the forces of chaos from disrupting order. The stories of Heracles and Theseus were two examples that Mr. Ferry focused on to emphasize this theme.

The myth of Oedipus was utilized to answer the existential question of why there is misfortune if the universe is essentially good and harmonious. Oedipus unknowingly and unwillingly fulfilled his fate. His story is full of tragedy in which his only sin was a brief moment of pride. Otherwise, Oedipus had essentially been a decent character. Thus, why did he meet so much misfortune? The Greek answer was that a curse had been placed on his lineage due to the sins of an ancestor. Another answer buried within this myth is of course the tragedy that is innate to the human condition, our awareness of our impending mortality; to which the Greeks response was to live their lives mythologically.

In his conclusion Mr. Ferry illustrates how the Dyonesian cult, with its emphasis on ecstasy, offered a counterbalance to Greek ideals of order. This cult became a safety outlet, like Halloween is for Americans, providing a celebratory view of life. It allowed for the expression of disruptive tendencies in a regulated manner, synthesizing the elements of order and discord. Dyonesius incarnated the festive and carnivalistic elements of Greek culture. Therefore Dyonesius rounded out the Greek worldview, offering a functional outlet to some forms of hubris.

In his survey of Greek myth, Mr. Ferry sheds light on the Greek worldview, making me contemplate differences between ancient Greek culture and our own. Yet, mythology is rich in metaphor, allowing for diverse interpretations. Critics may challenge some elements of Mr. Ferry's interpretations, and of course every reader finds something different in each text turning even the analysis of meaning into a subjective encounter. Nevertheless, critiques will not subtract from the value of this book. If nothing else, Mr. Ferry challenges us to question the stories that we have become familiarized with since we were children urging us on a quest to find hidden gems in that which we have taken for granted. This is why I find his perspective insightful.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I have a better appreciation of the influence of these stories in Western ... 14 décembre 2014
Par N. Nelson - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I am reading this book as a compliment to Hamilton's telling of the myths. I have a better appreciation of the influence of these stories in Western culture.
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