podcast

Ep. 14: Chekhov’s “Rothschild’s Violin”

How should human life be valued? Is death something to suffer, or something that provides relief? Jeff, Lise and Brian discuss these questions and more in examining Anton Chekhov’s short story “Rothschild’s Violin” or “Rothschild’s Fiddle.”

Ep. 13: Plato’s Phaedo

Should we fear death? Jeff, Lise, and Brian discuss Plato’s Phaedo, in which Socrates is joined by his friends to discuss that and other questions while awaiting the time for Socrates’ execution later the same day.

Ep. 12: Sophocles’ Philoktetes

What role do lying and deception play in achieving strategic objectives? Jeff, Lise and Brian discuss that and other questions as raised by Sophocles in Philoktetes, in which a soldier (Philoktetes) is recovered from an island where he was left after being wounded. His significance arises from his possession is the famed bow of Heracles, which the characters Odysseus and Neoptolemus believe is necessary to win the Trojan war.

Ep. 11: Rousseau’s “First Discourse on the Arts and Sciences”

Jeff, Lise, and Brian are joined by the distinguished Dylan Casey and Wes Alwan for this crossover episode with the Partially Examined Life. They discuss the First Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, in which Rousseau argues that the arts and sciences tend to lead to “moral corruption”. What is “moral corruption”? What does it mean for a human being to be “whole”? How can a society be structured to allow individual humans to achieve wholeness? What role do the arts and sciences play in that endeavor? Join the group for a lively discussion of those questions and more!

Ep. 10: Anton Chekhov’s “The Student”

In this episode, Lise, Jeff and Brian discuss “The Student,” a (very) short story by Anton Chekhov. The central character is Ivan, a student, or disciple, whose depression is transformed into elation during the course of his conversation with a peasant mother and daughter about the suffering of Peter as he realizes his betrayal of Jesus.

Ep. 9: Joseph Conrad’s “Typhoon”

Lise, Jeff and Brian discuss another work by Joseph Conrad, a rip-roaring, seafaring tale! In his novella Typhoon, Conrad tells the story of Captain McWhirr, his crew, and his ship’s brawling passengers as they sail through a typhoon. The work raises questions about leadership in the face of human conflict and natural disasters.

Ep. 8: Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Sharer”

In this episode, Lise, Jeff and Brian discuss Joseph Conrad’s short story “The Secret Sharer,” which features a psychological drama between an young, unnamed captain who is uncertain of his ability to lead his ship and a mysterious man named Leggatt who swims up to the side of the ship, naked and adrift.

Ep. 7: Shakespeare’s Coriolanus

How do military leaders relate to the civilians they protect? In this episode, Lise, Jeff and Brian discuss that and other questions raised by this Shakespearean tragedy. The story of Coriolanus, a Roman general, starts with a heroic victory for Rome, but ends with exile, defection to the enemy, and ultimately death.

Ep. 6: Plato’s Symposium

Join Lise, Jeff and Brian for another Platonic dialogue! Socrates and Alcibiades reappear at a party attended by several characters who decide to take turns praising Eros, who is often referred to in English as the “god of love.” As the dialogue progresses, we learn there is much more to love, or rather to “eros,” than sexual desire, and the characters’ conversation moves on to numerous other topics, including politics, law, and philosophy.

Ep. 5: Aristophanes’ “Birds”

What can we learn from a farce about banishment? Where do politics, nature and religion collide with the absurd? Check out our discussion on Aristophanes’ “Birds.”