Mental Calisthenics: Reading

Clarity comes first. A mind soaked with any variety of dogma arrives unarmed for the ideas prepared for it.  It carries such a load that it cannot defend itself against nonsense nor does it retain the strength to carry off the spoils of good sense.  A prejudiced mind is best suited for commentaries and books about other men’s ideas.  It is for the unassuming that the ancients may still sing.

Everyone wants you to fail. Fat people want you to stay fat, weak people want you to be weak, the dumb want you to remain dumb; everyone satisfied with their own failure, or rather, every hamster which rationalizes one’s own failures invests in the mediocrity of those around him.  If all the world is a mediocrity what cause has a man to improve his station? The culture is one of self satisfaction based on external blame: everyone must be a winner because some people have shitty lives. The truth of the matter is that some people have shitty lives because they would rather have a shitty life than invest in having a better life; they invest in lies and rationalizations to inhibit that low burning flame within that still desires their humanity be realized.  Whenever an acquaintance makes an improvement in his life the shitty-life man takes a blow.  Who could believe that it was the world and not themselves when those around them were conquering the world?

The mind is no different.  Just like the body it can be trained, just like the lifestyle it can be changed.  There are innumerable sites within the manosphere which present formulae for strength training, for lifestyle changes, for fixing beta marriages, for upping notches, however I have yet to find one which gives any comprehensive plan for cognitive improvement, certainly not on a classical plan.  This goes beyond right thinking to reclaiming the ideas upon which the West was made.  The powers that be, along with your neighbors, would rather you watch another episode of Dumb, Fat Husband Gets Berated By Overbearing Bitch Wife; it is the docile thing to do after all.

The Red-Pill bids you forward: the rabbit hole stretches out further than one can imagine.

Ideas are the greatest threat to the current status. Luckily the internet is harder to destroy than the printing press, and the printing press harder than architecture–more on that rabbit hole another time. Since the late middle ages till the end of the 19th Century an education revolved around Latin, Greek and books–real books, not books about books. Mixed in with this were politics, history, rhetoric, and mathematics; drawing–a skill an education man was at one time not without–music, poetry; the bulk of the materials used for an education were great works.  The current system is one of superficiality and experience.  Can anyone tell me which sex is keen on superficiality and the experience? The old system, though it took time to cover its bases, consisted of intellectual rigors and depth of thought.

All this can be had again at a cost.  Like strength training, a liberal education takes time, yet it is essential for the Manosphere; if we are to rise from our societal deprivation and reclaim the West it will come only one way.  Men will reclaim society. Whether that society creates a new Laocoön, or builds grass huts, that is upto you.

Essentials for autodidactism in the Western Tradition.  This is a starting point. I hope you grow past it.

Greeks & Romans
Homer – Iliad, Odyssey
Plato – The Dialogues of Plato (Especially The Apologia and Symposium)
Aristotle – The Art of Rhetoric, Poetics, Metaphysics, Politics
Sophocles – Oedipus Rex, Antigone
Euripides – Medea, Trojan Women, Bacchae
Aeschylus – Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, The Furies, Prometheus Bound
Herodotus – Histories
Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War
Virgil – Aeneid, Georgics
Ovid – Metamorphoses, Ars Amatoria
Catullus – Poems
Horace – Odes
Cicero – Against Catiline, On The Ends of Good and Bad Things, Tusculan Disputations, On Friendship, On the Nature of The Gods, etc
Plutarch – Lives of Illustrious Greeks and Romans
Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
Augustine – Confessions, City of God

Middle Ages
Dante – Divine Comedy
Montaigne – Essays
Machiavelli – The Prince
Erasmus – Praise of Folly, The Complaint of Peace
Milton – Paradise Lost, Areopagitica, Lycidas
Shakespeare – The Canon, especially the history plays, Lear, Hamlet, The Tempest
Rabelais – Gargantua and Pentagruel
Chaucer – Canterbury Tales (Untranslated)
Spenser – The Faerie Queen
Cervantes – Don Quixote
Aquinas – Summa Theologica
Moliere – The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, Such Foolish Affected Ladies
Hobbes – Leviathan
Boetie – Discourse on Voluntary Servitude
Maimonides – Guide For The Perplexed 

Locke – Two Treatises of Government, Concerning Human Understanding
Voltaire – Candide, Zadig, L’Ingenu, Micromegas
Rousseau – The Social Contract, Emile
Montesquieu – Considerations on the Causes of the Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans, The Spirit of The Laws
Pascal – Pensees
Swift – Gulliver’s Travels
Defoe – Robinson Crusoe
Goethe – Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, Faust
Sterne – Tristram Shandy
Casanova – Story of My Life
Johnson – Lives of the Poets
Addison – Cato, The Spectator
Clausewitz – On War

Emerson – Essays
Hawthorne – The Marble Faun, Moses on an Old Manse
Melville – Claret, Battle Pieces, John Marr, Moby Dick
Spooner – No Treason, Natural Law
Tocqueville – Democracy In America
Thackery – Vanity Fair
Dickens – Tale of Two Cities, etc
Wilde – Intentions, The Picture of Dorian Gray, etc
Thoreau –Civil Disobedience, Walking
Golgol –The Overcoat
Dostoyevski – Crime and Punishment, The Possessed, The Gambler, The Idiot, etc
Ibsen – The Doll House, etc
Tolstoy – The Cossacks
Anton Chekov – Short Stories
Mills – On Liberty
Chesterton – The Man Who Was Thursday, Essays
Belloc – Essays
Doyle – The Holmes Canon
Shaw – Arms and The Man, Candida
Kierkegaard – Fear and Trembling, Either/Or
Camus – The Rebel, The Stranger, The Plague
Kafka – The Trial, Metamorphoses
Nietzsche – Birth of Tragedy, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil
Hugo – Toilers of The Sea, Notre-Dame de Paris
Rev. Whately – Logic
Griggs – The Philosophy of Art
MacDonald – Lilith, Phantasies, etc

The Bible
Poetry written before the 20th Century (by men, especially Pope, Longfellow, Whitman, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge, Motherwell, etc)

The list is long, but that is because it is meant as a jumping off point.

For those afraid to stick their toes in the waters alone I will continue to create and post free editions on Mondays as I am able.

Veritas numquam perit,
The Poet

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11 Responses to Mental Calisthenics: Reading

  1. dorsey47 says:

    “For those afraid to stick their toes in the waters alone I will continue to create and post free editions on Mondays as I am able.”

    It will not be in vain. Thank you.

  2. Frank says:

    What an excellent post. I have been off and on creating a proper Liberal Arts syllabus for myself and am just about to start my own journey.

    I’d like to recommend these
    1. “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer Adler
    2. “How to Speak How to Listen” by Mortimer Adler
    3. “Great Books of the Western World” by Mortimer Adler
    4. “The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric” by Sister Miriam Joseph
    5. “Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology” by Miranda Lundy
    6. “How to Develop a Perfect Memory” by Dominic O’Brien
    7. “The Evelyn Wood Seven-Day Speed Reading and Learning Program” by Stanley Frank

    This list should be more than enough for someone to get started on his journey.

  3. Frank: I appreciate the recommendations; I have something in the works for Mortimer Adler’s “How to Read a Book.”

    For the novice I would be leery of this sort of book about books, books about learning, or learning techniques. Engaging with the foundational works of Western thought naturally turn the mind toward its own deficiency and to him who is open will find easy facilitation against it in other works; where the one who starts on a course of books about books is far more likely to rationalize avoiding the books themselves for more and better commentaries. With this in mind I intentionally left off any works about works and stuck to the Western Canon. (I would add that there are a number of Eastern classics that would make a good supplement: The Analects, Bhagavad Gita, The Rubaiyat, and other like works that have influenced the West in one way or another.)

    The list above, with two exceptions, are all works that I have read over the years and any would make for a good starting point to work into Western thought. Of course, the list is far from comprehensive, it need not be.

  4. A♠ says:

    I’ve been using the following sites for years now:

    I’ve no doubt many of your suggested works are available in various formats.


  5. You may also add “The Guide For the Perplexed” by Moises Ben Maimon.

  6. OA, or is it Wizard? Either way. I am an autodidact and dilettante. I write (obviously), but I support myself as a Graphic Designer and Print Designer/Production Manager.

    • I named my site OA, but my pen name is still dead wizard.
      I see so you do have the tendency to be creative; heck not all people can become graphic designer. it is just that judging by your interests I assumed that you were some collegiate history professor

  7. Cúchulainn says:

    I took a class on Chaucer this past quarter. We read Troilus and Criseyde and just parts of Canterbury Tales, due to lack of time, in Middle English. And I’m about to start Don Quixote.

  8. Pingback: Introsphere roundup: June 13 – June 30 | The Second Estate

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