By Mark Vernon
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Additional resources for 42 : deep thought on life, the universe and everything
You might have thought Hera would be pleased: she was not. She took offence, feeling her lovemaking skills had been insulted. She blinded the transsexual prophet. Professor Holstege has not gone blind, as far as I know. In some ways it’s different, in some ways it’s the same, he wisely suggested. On the other hand, his results confirmed that women are skilled enough to fake an orgasm, though not skilled enough to fool the scanner. ’ The difference carried by the addition of that small word is the difference between an approach to sex coloured by anxieties about its goodness and an approach to sex coloured by anxieties about its benefits.
And it comes to mind, like a counterfactual hope and possibility, whenever I hear of the deadly divisions in the countries that are its neighbours. ’ Bertolt Brecht Abraham Maslow is a psychologist, famous for his ‘Hierarchy of Human Needs’, in which he articulated an idea that, like Freud’s notion of the ego or Marx’s alienation, has become part of the furniture of modern thought. After Maslow, to say that ‘I have needs’ is tantamount to a claim of human rights. The expression now carries the meaning that whatever these needs are, they are non-negotiable.
For them, the thinker did not philosophise as the lover did. The philosopher and the lover do the same thing. Plutarch describes these heady days, focusing on the ecstasy of what was then called natural philosophy: No man yet, on having intercourse with the woman he loves, has been so happy that he went out and sacrificed an ox; nor has anyone ever prayed to die on the spot if he could only have his fill of royal meat or cakes. But Eudoxus prayed to be consumed in flames like Phaethon if he could only stand next to the sun and ascertain the shape, size and composition of the planets; and when Pythagoras discovered his theorem he sacrificed an ox, as Apollodorus records.
42 : deep thought on life, the universe and everything by Mark Vernon