This is from Will Durant’s intro to his The Story of Philosophy. I’ve wanted to read this for ages, since finishing his Story of Civilization, and saw it on sale a couple of weeks ago. I won’t be reading it immediately, though it might become a slow-but-steady background read.
Science tells us how to heal and how to kill; it reduces the death rate in retail and then kills us wholesale in war; but only wisdom—desire coordinated in the light of all experience—can tell us when to heal and when to kill. To observe processes and to construct means is science; to criticize and coordinate ends is philosophy: and because in these days our means and instruments have multiplied beyond our interpretation and synthesis of ideals and ends, our life is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. For a fact is nothing except in relation to desire; it is not complete except in relation to a purpose and a whole. Science without philosophy, facts without perspective and valuation, cannot save us from havoc and despair. Science gives us knowledge, but only philosophy can give us wisdom.
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is a non-bookish freebie. I was tempted to do my favorite PC games, since that’s one of my other hobbies, but I did that two years ago for a love-related freebie. Today I’m going to roll with…favorite podcasts! Although I listen to these through google podcasts, I’ve linked to their websites so you can learn more about them if you are curious.
(1) The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. I discovered this in 2006 or 2007, and I liked it enough that I would download it on a dialup connection. It’s a panel show on science news, skepticism, and sometimes science fiction — though they recently created a spinoff show, Alpha Quadrant 6, that is SF focused. It’s a nice mix of science news, analyses of topics that need a skeptical perspective (from homeopathy to anti-vaccination) and games like “Science or Fiction?” and “Who’s That Noisy?”. “Science or fiction” presents three dubious-sounding science news stories, and the panelists have to guess which are true and which are fake. I’m always surprised at the results.
(2) Says You, NPR. Unfortunately, this show is no longer produced, but I love revisiting its archives. It’s a game tailor-made for lovers of words, wordplay, puns, etc. My favorite part of the show is when one team’s members have to listen to four definitions for an obscure word, only one of which is real: the rest were made up on the spot by the other team. I always enjoy playing along and trying to spot the fake.
(3) Oologies, Alie Ward. An enthusiastic host interviews experts of often esoteric science disciplines, like poop, moss, and building decay. She is very chipper.
(4) The Tom Woods Show. A 30-minute daily with a happy variety of topics. On any given day, the arch-libertarian Woods and his guest may be discussing politics, history, economics, literature, or progressive rock. I like this show most for its sheer variety, but it also helps that Woods frequently has on guests he might disagree with on one point because they have common ground on another, so listeners get to listen to something analyzed from multiple angles. Woods has led me to some great authors like Brad Birzer, who has written on Tolkien and Christian literature. Birzer has a few courses at Woods’ Liberty Classroom, including one on politics and science fiction.
(5) The Rest is History, Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrooks. Unlike many history podcasts, which choose one topic and marry it until death do us part, Holland and Sandbrooks do mini-series or one-offs. I’m currently listening to their series on the Hundred Years War, and previously finished their four-part on the rise of Hitler.
(6) EconTalk, Russ Roberts. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT ECONOMICS! It used to be, but over the years Roberts has shifted more to human flourishing in general. I started listening to this out of college when I was hungry for intellectual stimulation, and curious about the perspectives that professionals like economists, doctors, and lawyers could provide in helping me understand current issues. Some of my very favorite reads over the years came from EconTalk interviews. They’re all an hour long, but Roberts often touches on interesting ground with his guests. It’s extremely varied.
(7) The General Eclectic Podcast. This is an utterly fascinating show on religion, culture, and politics — essentially a discussion between the Orthodox Rod Dreher and the trad-Catholic Kale Zelden on the topics of the day. It’s not a ‘reacting to politics’ type show, but more of a deep dive — investigating how issues people are talking about are just the surface. A discussion on consumerism or trans issues, for instance, will be less about consumerism or transitioning and more about the contemporary worship of the Self. Unfortunately, I’m not sure about the future of this show: it was produced under the American Conservative aegis when Dreher was the senior editor there, and now that he’s living in Europe with a new job, I don’t know that it will continue. Dreher has a substack in this same vein, and it never fails to be interesting reading.
(8) The Art of Manliness Podcast. This is a variety podcast that touches on skills, literature, style, etc. AoM celebrates and promotes authentic masculinity — not the gross consumer-sexualist antics of Tate and Trump, but more along the lines of being a man in full: virtuous, strong, stylist, savvy, etc, capable of bearing burdens and building a future.
(9) Sean of the South. A mix of traditional southern music and storytelling. It’s seasonal, alas.
(10) The Scott Horton Podcast. Horton has been interviewing people about geopolitics and DC foreign affairs for twenty years and has thousands of podcasts. He’s the author of two books on the terror war, Enough Already and Fool’s Errand. Listen to his guests and realize how shallow and self-centered the takes on TV are about global affairs.
Says You sounds like such a fun show. Thanks for stopping by earlier.
I’m not surprised your podcast listening is as varied in scope and topic as your reading! That’s really cool. Recently, I’ve been trying to view reading, listening, and watching as all part of a single “learning” objective. It makes me feel less guilty for spending time away from books.
When do you typically listen to podcasts? I have morphed into one of those people I use to look down on, who wears headphones during a walk. (To be fair, there isn’t a ton of scenery where I walk most often… it’s a cemetery…)
Most of the time, I listen to podcasts on the computer and play a game that doesn’t require much mental attention — The Sims 4, American Truck Simulator, and Sid Meier’s Pirates are favorites. I SOMETIMES listen to podcasts while driving, but I live all of ten minutes from work, from the store, from church, etc so I only do that if I’m going visiting or going to a larger city. The nice thing about google podcasts is that I can listen from my browser at home, and from my phone on the road, and they’ll sync automatically. I tried listening to an audiobook while walking in the gym, but I couldn’t pay sufficient attention to either. (I have to have music in the gym, but when walking out and about, I never use headphones — gotta keep ears peeled for traffic, birds ,etc.)
This is a cool topic for this week! I don’t listen to many podcasts. I somehow forget about them and miss so many episodes and can’t keep up. But I love the idea of podcasts existing for so many different topics and interests 🙂
The only ones I’ve listened to are the Happy Writer Podcast (Marissa Meyer) and To Trope or Not to Trope (some of my friends do this one!)
As a dedicated/obsessive reader of TvTropes (I literally check it anytime I finish a movie or book), I’ll have to take a look at that last one!
I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
I’m so behind on my podcasts, so at the moment I’m trying to catch up with episodes from my three favourites: The Guilty Feminist, The Hamilcast and Stuff You Missed In History Class.
My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2023/04/18/top-ten-tuesday-416/
I used to listen to lots of podcasts, but then I got into audiobooks and gave them all up. I’m probably missing some good stuff.
It’s difficult to find the time for everything, that’s for sure.