"The Odyssey" is the story of the Greek hero Odysseus, or Ulysses, who began a journey home after the fall of Troy. It will take him ten years of marvelous and terrible encounters before he finally reaches his native city, where everyone assumed he was dead. There will he find his wife Penelope, famously weaving and unweaving a never-ending tapestry while obnoxious suitors are competing for her hand. Once again, Odysseus will have to outsmart his opponents in order to be reunited with his family.
Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor, the last of the Five Good Emperors, and one of the most important Stoic philosophers, along with the slave Epictetus. Marcus Aurelius wrote the Meditations while in a military campaign; it was a series of notes written for no one but himself in his quest for self-improvement. Stoicism is the attitude allowing one to free oneself from the unnecessary suffering that arises from anxiety about events that are beyond our control; therefore, it can be of tremendous importance in one's life.
Epictetus was born a slave, and became one of the most influent Stoic philosophers. Stoicism is the attitude allowing one to free oneself from the unnecessary suffering that arises from anxiety about events that are beyond our control; therefore, it can be of tremendous importance in one's life. According to Epictetus, our own actions and attitudes are the only thing in our control; whatever else happens, we should examine calmly and dispassionately, because no amount of suffering will change the impact of external events.
Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." Plato is indeed considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle. But his writings are often light, fresh and funny; it was Plato who invented the dialogue in philosophy, which makes a point very easy to follow and the occasion of various scenic arrangements.
"This is the story of Mary Prince", who was sold into slavery at the age of 12 for £38 sterling. It is the first account of the life of a black woman ever to be published in the United Kingdom, and it was published at a time when slavery was still legal in the British Colonies. "The history of Mary Prince" is firsthand testimony of the brutalities of enslavement. Its tone is direct and authentic, which makes this vivid story go straight to the heart.
A wealthy widowed merchant lives in a mansion with his three daughters. All are equal in beauty, but the youngest, Beauty, is kind and pure of heart; while the two elders, in contrast, are wicked, selfish, vain and secretly taunt and treat Beauty more like a servant than a sister. The merchant eventually loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea.
Expand your horizons with three stories from far-away countries, tales of timeless wisdom and a window to the soul of other cultures. These three stories are from the most different parts of the world, but all are food for thought and use powerful imagery to help children develop their intelligence and imagination.
Socrates is an enigmatic figure, known chiefly through the accounts of others like Plato and Aristophanes. He was one of the most brilliant intellects ever, and devised what would later be called the Socratic method, which is a way of leading one's interlocutor to see his errors and contradictions through clever questioning before leading him to the truth. In ancient Athens, Socrates was widely known as a "gadfly", that is, an annoying insect buzzing at people's ears, because he kept questioning prejudices and contradictions; he was eventually tried and executed for "corrupting the minds of the youth".
Gautama Buddha is also known as Siddharta Gautama, or simply the Buddha, which means "Awakened" or "Enlightened". Born a prince, he chose a path of ascetism only to realize that it was as profound an illusion as self-indulgence. He achieved Enlightenment after 49 days of meditation; his awakening led him to discover the cause of suffering and the ways to eliminate it. These discoveries founded Buddhism, and his "Four Noble Truths" still form the heart of its teachings.
"Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift is a wild series of adventures widely acclaimed as "universally read" and highly influential. After a shipwreck, an Englishman discovers new, strange lands, and learns of the customs and governments of their inhabitants. This is an opportunity both for absurd humor and political satire, and the story of Lilliput may be the best example of Swift's imagination and wit. Gulliver finds himself a prisoner of a race of tiny people, the Lilliputians; they are no more than 6 inches tall, and he appears a giant to them. Soon afterwards, the spectacular giant becomes a favorite of the court, and is given a good view of the politics of the kingdom.
Lao Tsu, also known as Lao Tzu or Laozi, is an ancient Chinese philosopher and sage, and an absolutely central figure in Asiatic culture. He is known as the author of the "Tao Te Ching" or "Daodejing" and the founder of Taoism. In traditional China, Taoism is a way of living in harmony with the Tao, "way", "path", or "principle", something that is both the source of, and the force behind, everything that exists. Throughout history, Laozi's work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements, because his style is designed to elicit critical thinking through ambiguousness.
This classic adaptation of James Barrie's play tells the story of Peter Pan, a mischievous little boy who can fly, and his adventures on the island of Neverland with Wendy Darling and her brothers, the fairy Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, and the pirate Captain Hook.
This series of exercises is specially designed to help you overcome shyness, boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem, through simple and proven techniques. Self-esteem is an absolutely essential part of our survival. Without it, we are at risk of self-defeating behavior or unhealthily negative feelings. Through guided visualization and relaxation techniques, these exercises will help you overcome anxiety while easily improving your confidence and social skills.
Henry Tudor was born in a country ravaged by conspiracies, coups, and ruthless violence. He belonged to the Plantagenet Royal Family, House of Lancaster. They were engaged in a bloody battle with the House of York, in a conflict that had been going on for years for control of the throne of England: the War of the Roses. Through ruse and guile, Henry Tudor made sure he emerged as the only claimant to the Crown. When he ascended the throne, he managed to unite the two warring houses by his marriage with Elizabeth of York, effectively ending the civil war while founding the Tudor dynasty; but to many, he remained an usurper and a false king. His story is rich with treachery, intrigue, and ruthlessness, while he was a capable monarch.
Søren Kierkegaard, a name meaning "church's garden", is a Christian philosopher whose work had a considerable influence on western philosophy and theology. His thoughts focused primarly on what it means to become a subject of one's existence, what feelings arise when faced with life choices, and the relation with God through faith. He is credited with numerous reflections on the three stages of life; he also questioned existential despair, absurdity and anxiety.
"repeats a lot"
The philosophy of Confucius was so powerful that it dominated intellectual life in ancient China for centuries. It even came to be considered a religion, and there are still temples where Confucius is worshipped as the God of Culture. His writings were transmitted as aphorisms, each one of them one concentrated teaching about philosophy, ethics, or society.
"Worth your time"
Montaigne might well be one of the most sympathetic writers ever known. He is known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre; his style merges casual anecdotes and autobiography with deep intellectual insights. His "Essays" are among the most influential ever written; one can recognize Montaigne's direct influence on great literary figures all over the world, from René Descartes to Nietzsche, Isaac Asimov, and possibly William Shakespeare.
Children live in an information-packed environment. To be able to manage their emotions, their stress, and concentrate, they need to learn how to unwind and relax. These simple relaxation exercises will introduce them to breathing techniques and mindfulness; these are the same self-calming techniques adults can learn, but presented in a soothing format appealing to children.
Charles Baudelaire is one of the greatest French poets. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), was deemed scandalous at the time because of its themes of sex and death, lesbianism, corruption, wine, and the oppressiveness of living. Its powerful imagery and ravaging use of the senses had many name him an unequaled master; the effect on fellow artists was "immense, prodigious, unexpected, mingled with admiration and with some indefinable anxious fear", while the regime of the Second Empire had Baudelaire prosecuted and fined for his "insult to public decency".
A time of extreme religious unrest, a most magnificent and dangerous court, and strong ideas about the need for a perfect heir: all this may have been enough to transform an intelligent, compassionate and generous young king into such a bloody monster that he was eventually called the "English Nero". Henry VIII is most remembered for his six marriages, two of which ended with beheadings.