Spin me a tale, dear fates

“[F]or dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” — KJV Genesis 3:19

“Why so much grief for me? No man will hurl me down to Death, against my fate. And fate? No one alive has ever escaped it, neither brave man nor coward, I tell you — it’s born with us the day that we are born.” — Homer’s Iliad Book VI (579–584)

Man’s position in the world is tenuous. He is buttressed and battered by innumerable difficulties, trials and tribulations; that every person is a Hercules with far greater burdens than 12 Labors. He is conversely gifted…

Sunrise on Corfu

O immortal, unchanging love of the universe, and all her attendant mysteries, imbue me with courage to change and to move on, a new page, a new leaf, a new everything! That the past is past, and the future nearby. There is no such thing as finality in an infinite world. So say au revoire and das vedanye, lehitraot and tot siens, and waving your hat, and bowing down low, wish those who want to bring you down, a jolly farewell and bid the approaching sunrise with a smile and jest. Love comes and goes, she ebbs and flows, but the spirit is eternal, and seeks out more, and shall be obliged!

An irreconciliable conflict

My thesis recently completed, entitled “Freedom Violence and Revolution: A Critique of Liberal Democratic Conventions,” seems to have some timely resonance with current events. In the past couple days the Israeli — Palestinian conflict has surged to frightening levels of violence, with both sides clamouring for legitimacy for the use of violence. …

Angel of the Revelation (Book of Revelation Chapter 10) William Blake (1803–1805)

Full fathom deep fell I into a sleep

Along a pithy path I laughed

As I marched through an ocean’s mast

Who knows, who dares, who cares

Of the dreams I wove and shared

In those caverns of old, those mines of gold

Philosophies and poesies sweet to taste

Ontologies and Beings spoken too late

And the gods appeared to me in celestial state

And offered me the chalice of fate

“Drink deep, my son, drink deep”

Thus I drank and fell further by a leap

Down down, lower than any man had gone before

Where the light no longer…

Eugene Delacroix “La Liberte guidant le peuple” (1830)

Table of Contents

  1. Isaiah Berlin and the Two Concepts of Liberty
  2. Freedom and Violence within Hannah Arendt’s “On Revolution”
  3. Violence and its Justifications
  4. The Russian Revolutions of February and October 1917
  5. Bibliography


This thesis seeks to explore the relationship between freedom, violence and revolution, seen as a complex, interactive unity. Its immediate purpose is to elucidate the many liminal spaces where these three conceptual paradigms intersect — where freedom may require the use of violence, and in the extreme case, revolution, in order to maintain and assert itself. The method used is philosophical and analytical and is grounded within many different and…

A follower of Dionysus

This piece was written during a midterm of 60 minutes for a class entitled European Intellectual History since Nietzsche. The prompt was to give a eulogy in the person of Nietzsche to the death of God, and recommend three thinkers that we had studied who suitably contributed to such a supposed death of God. I received an A- because I ignored part of the prompt to rank each thinker cardinally as opposed to thematically as I did.

Please enjoy!

God is dead ladies and gentleman, and now we are tasked with the grand labor of commemorating him. I have chosen…

Jacob’s Ladder William Blake (1805)

Plato: And so today we will discuss the mysticism inherent behind names and naming. The short answer is that the name of something tells you about its essence; i.e. a good name, an appropriate name, relates proper meaning to the essence of something. Language does this for the most part; and we may say that some languages do this more than others. I want to give one example of this in Afrikaans, a language native to South Africa. This language was more artificially constructed than other languages, and more recently, hence many of its words will do exactly this relationship…

“He…He… loves me” So begins the descent from sanity into an otherworldly romantic adventure of fear and hope; fear of the awe-inspiring nature of love and its power to breathe back life into a tortured soul; hope of a new beginning, a new life, a new destination. Love is fate’s messenger; Cupid’s arrow from the gods.

So the Russians believe in love, its power to create and destroy at the same time. That two unsuspecting people, whose lives are full and complete already, can meet and cause a scandal and a tragedy. Russian movies and literature are full of happily…

Odysseus and the Sirens, Athenian red-figure stamnos C5th B.C., British Museum

Was it for this, I flowered forth

Burst blinded from dusty earth, to seek

My doom on the waves of that unreached berth

O! Did I appear for so short a time

Like a bubble on the air’s screen

Or a ripple on a pond’s mien

Only to be swallowed by the shivering

Deep, to cough fitfully before

The Long Choke, before the once life-giver

Became the death-maker.

We set out from Portsmouth. Our chests held bravely in the raging air. The mood delirious of sailors too drunk or proud to care. Tearing our shirts from the left shoulder to…

Peter Paul Rubens “Achilles slays Hector” 1630–1635

And Achilles, greatest of the Greeks, mounted his chariot. Spurring his steeds, whipping them into a frenzy, he drove them forward — unto the walls of Troy where his prey Hector awaited him.

His eyes, his azure eyes sparkling the firmament, blazed furiously. And all the Greeks who saw him, bowed their heads and averted his gaze. These men knew the terrible fate that awaited his victim.

A golden eagle hovered above him wherever he went, a sign of Zeus’s favour. He drove onwards, each whip bearing more and more blood from his horses.

O narrator, and teller of stories…

Adam Saul Krok

Writer, poet, philosopher

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