Irish Dramatist Brian Friel: 1929-2015
Words of wisdom from the late playwright: “It is not the literal past, the 'facts' of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language.”
Irish Dramatist Brian Friel (1929-2015), a man many considered among the greatest living English-language playwrights, passed away this morning at the age of 86. Friel is best known for his award-winning plays Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Translations, and Dancing at Lughnasa, as well as many of his other 30+ works written during a six-decade career. Friel was often cited as "an Irish Chekhov" who brought to the stage the causes and themes most important to the Irish people. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the British Royal Society of Literature, and the Irish Academy of Letters.
Today's Words of Wisdom are excerpted from Translations, a play set in a 19th century rural Irish village, which focuses primarily on the power of language:
“It is not the literal past, the 'facts' of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language.”
The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.
Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.
- A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
- The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
- The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.
- "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
- "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"