Meaning of Life [TTC Video]
20 July 2015, 15:11
Course No 4320 | AVI, XviD, 904 kbps, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.81GB
What is the meaning of life? It's a question every thoughtful person has pondered at one time or another. Indeed, it may be the biggest question of all. Most of us have asked ourselves this question at some time, or posed it to somebody we respect. It is at once a profound and abstract question, and a deeply personal one. We want to understand the world in which we live, but we also want to understand how to make our own lives as meaningful as possible; to know not only why we're living, but that we're doing it with intention, purpose, and ethical commitment.
But how, exactly, do we find that meaning, and develop that commitment? How can we grasp why we are here? Or how we should proceed? And to whom, exactly, are we supposed to listen as we shape the path we will walk?
The Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World's Great Intellectual Traditions is an invigorating way to begin or to continue your pursuit of these questions, with no previous background in philosophical or religious thought required. Its 36 lectures offer a rigorous and wide-ranging exploration of what various spiritual, religious, and philosophical traditions from both the East and the West have contributed to this profound line of questioning.
Guided by Professor Jay L. Garfield of Smith College—as well as of the University of Massachusetts, Melbourne University in Australia, and the Central University of Tibetan Studies in India—you'll gain insights from a broad array of sources, including these:
- Ancient Indian texts, including the Bhagavad-Gita
- Foundational Chinese texts such as the Daodejing and the Chuang Tzu
- Classical Western texts such as Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations
- Modern philosophers such as David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Leo Tolstoy
- The unique perspectives offered by Native Americans; in this case, the Lakota Sioux medicine man and writer, John Lame Deer
- More recent and contemporary philosophers, such as Mohandas Gandhi and the Dalai Lama
Enjoy a Journey Rich in Knowledge and Perspective
The ability to ponder your own relationship with the universe and with others is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of being human. Even if you do not find a final answer to the question this course poses, each answer you consider cannot help but add depth and nuance to your own contemplation of how to live.
In considering the range of approaches to this question developed over the course of human intellectual history, you'll increase your own storehouse of wisdom, enabling you to shape a life that is as meaningful and satisfying as possible, heightening your appreciation of every moment.
The Meaning of Life is a course rich in wisdom, including the realization that although a single answer to the question may forever elude you, that elusiveness is no great tragedy. More important is the search itself, and the insights you'll gain as you realize that just as different traditions provide a vast diversity of answers, so, too, do they consistently return to recurring themes:
- One's relationship to a larger context
- The boundaries created by temporality and impermanence
- The pursuit of a larger purpose, or even the goal of perfection
- The value of spontaneity, even though the ideal of that characteristic differs from one tradition to another
- The importance of freedom, whether from social norms and standards; religious, social, or political authority; external constraints; consumerism; or even philosophical ideas themselves
- The commitment to live authentically
- Find Common Ground with History's Most Profound Thinkers
For anyone who has spent time grappling with these ideas themselves, it is a comfort to see that even some of history's most profound thinkers have wrestled with these problems, engaging in a conversation thousands of years in length and rich in insight.
For example, while many of them agree on the importance of authenticity, their agreement marks not the end of the conversation, but its beginning.
- Should that authenticity, as Kant and Mill believed, be epistemic, found in the hard work of serious reasoning over political, moral, and scientific issues so that we can propagate the answers we discover?
- Should it be what we might call an aesthetic authenticity—a life lived truly in harmony with a beautifully visualized fundamental reality? Such a view attracted figures as varied as Nietzsche, the Zen writer Dogen, and Laozi, the possibly mythical figure credited with authorship of the Daodejing.
- Or should it be instead a natural authenticity, so that you live your life as Lame Deer advocated, striving for harmony with the natural world in the face of a modern civilization whose every construct seems designed to make that impossible?
One of The Meaning of Life's great virtues is the ease with which Professor Garfield organizes and makes cohesive the vast range of perspectives. At every stage of the course, the relationship of each writer or tradition to all of the others is clear and logical, no matter how intricate or demanding a line of argument might be.
Dr. Garfield—teaching his material with extraordinary passion and thoroughness—shows great skill in unpacking the substance of each source, presenting it clearly and positioning it in its proper place within a philosophical conversation that has been going on for millennia.
And when an idea might otherwise present vexing complexities, he unveils an additional—and superbly useful—teaching skill. For Professor Garfield has the gift of analogy, enabling him to relate even the most ancient or subtle texts to your own life in ways that show their relevance to how you live today.
With The Meaning of Life, Professor Garfield has put together an intellectually gripping course that is every bit the equal of the monumental subject it sets out to explore.
- The Meaning of the Meaning of Life
- The Bhagavad-Gita — Choice and Daily Life
- The Bhagavad-Gita — Discipline and Duty
- The Bhagavad-Gita — Union and Purpose
- Aristotle on Life — The Big Picture
- Aristotle — The Highest Good
- Aristotle — The Happy Life
- Job's Predicament — Life Is So Unfair
- Job's Challenge — Who Are We?
- Stoicism — Rationality and Acceptance
- Human Finitude — The Epicurean Synthesis
- Confucius — Order in the Cosmos and in Life
- Daodejing — The Dao of Life and Spontaneity
- Daodejing — The Best Life Is a Simple Life
- Daodejing — Subtlety and Paradox
- Zhuangzi on Daoism — Impermanence and Harmony
- The Teachings of the Buddha
- Santideva — Mahayana Buddhism
- Santideva — Transforming the Mind
- Zen — The Moon in a Dewdrop and Impermanence
- Zen — Being-Time and Primordial Awakening
- Taking Stock of the Classical World
- Hume's Skepticism and the Place of God
- Hume's Careless and Compassionate Vision
- Kant — Immaturity and the Challenge to Know
- Mill's Call to Individuality and to Liberty
- Tolstoy — Is Everyday Life the Real Thing?
- Nietzsche — Twilight of the Idols
- Nietzsche — Achieving Authenticity
- Gandhi — Satyagraha and Holding Fast to Truth
- Gandhi — The Call to a Supernormal Life
- Lame Deer — Life Enfolded in Symbols
- Lame Deer — Our Place in a Symbolic World
- HH Dalai Lama XIV — A Modern Buddhist View
- HH Dalai Lama XIV — Discernment and Happiness
- 36. So, What Is the Meaning of Life?
America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era [TTC Video]
20 July 2015, 14:57
Course No 8535 | .M4V, AVC, 2000 kbps, 640x360 | English, AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 10.86 GB
America stands at a dramatic crossroads:
- Massive banks and corporations wield disturbing power.
- The huge income gap between the 1% and the other 99% grows visibly wider.
- Astounding new technologies are changing American lives.
- Conflicts over U.S. military interventionism, the environment, and immigration dominate public debate.
Sound familiar? You might be surprised to know that these headlines were ripped, not from today’s newspaper, but from newspapers over 100 years ago. These and other issues that characterize the early 21st century were also the hallmarks of the transformative periods known as the Gilded Age (1865-1900) and the Progressive Era (1900-1920).
Welcome to one of the most colorful, tumultuous, raucous, and profoundly pivotal epochs in American history. Stretching from the end of the Civil War in 1865 to roughly 1920, this extraordinary time was not only an era of vast and sweeping change—it saw the birth of the United States as we and the world at large now know it.
Before the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, America was a developing nation, with a largely agrarian economy; sharp divisions between North, South, and West; and virtually no role in global affairs. Yet by 1900, within an astonishing 35 years, the U.S. had emerged as the world’s greatest industrial power.
During the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the U.S. went from “leading by example” and maintaining an isolationist foreign policy to become a major participant in international events, showing itself as a nascent superpower in the Spanish-American War and World War I.
Numerous other events came together during these same periods to create the U.S. that we know now. In a time rife with staggering excess, social unrest, and strident calls for reform, these remarkable events characterized the Gilded Age and Progressive Era:
- Industrialization directly gave rise to a huge American middle class.
- New and voluminous waves of immigration added new material to the “melting pot” of U.S. society.
- A mainly agrarian population became an urban one, witnessing the rise of huge cities.
- The phenomenon of big business led to the formation of labor unions and the adoption of consumer protections.
- Electricity, cars, and other technologies forever changed the landscape of American life.
To delve into the catalytic events of these times is to see, with crystal clarity, how the U.S. went from what we now might consider Third World status in the mid-19th century to become the major power it is today. Knowledge of these pivotal eras also provides insightful perspectives on conflicts that dominate our contemporary headlines—from fears surrounding immigration and income inequality to concern for the fate of the environment—and how they were meaningfully addressed in past times.
Now, in the 24 lectures of America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Professor Edward T. O’Donnell of the College of the Holy Cross leads you in a sprawling, multifaceted journey through this uproarious epoch. In taking the measure of six dramatically innovative decades, you’ll investigate the economic, political, and social upheavals that marked these years, as well as the details of daily life and the critical cultural thinking of the times. In the process, you’ll meet robber barons, industrialists, socialites, crusading reformers, inventors, conservationists, women’s suffragists, civil rights activists, and passionate progressives, who together forged a new United States. These engrossing lectures provide a stunning and illuminating portrait of a nation-changing era.
A Republic Transforms
In Professor O’Donnell’s description, “The Gilded Age’s amazing innovation and wealth created the conditions—and mobilized the masses—for the Progressive Era’s social reforms.” Across the span of the lectures, you’ll witness this historical progression through subject matter such as:
- The Industrial Age and the Rise of Big Business: Follow America’s epic industrial ascent in the 19th century, the emergence of vast corporations and trusts, the making of industrial magnates such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, and the transformation of the nation into a consumer society.
- Revolutionary Technologies and Social Culture: Grasp how steel, electrical power, mass transportation, and recorded sound radically changed American life. Learn about the conspicuous excesses of the new super rich, the lifestyles of the exploding middle class, and the phenomena of American music, spectator sports, and stage entertainment.
- The Dark Side of Progress: Take account of the devastating social problems that followed advances in industry and technology: extreme income inequality and poverty, graft and political corruption, severe exploitation of industrial workers, rampant labor violence, and the ills of urban crime, squalor, and disease.
- The Crusade for Rights: Observe how the clash of progress and poverty spurred far-reaching efforts to secure legal rights for the disenfranchised. Study historic activism for workers’ rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, and the rights of consumers, and uncover the early and often overlooked struggle for African–Americans’ civil rights.
- The New American Woman: Track significant changes in the lives of American women, such as major increases in women in the workforce, new public roles for women, the dynamic presence of women in reform initiatives, and the remarkable story of the women’s suffrage movement.
The Many Faces of Reform: Study the astonishing spectrum of reform movements that defined the Progressive Era, encompassing:
- the dramatic unfolding of labor organizing, labor/capital conflict, and reform;
- urban reforms, from regulation of deplorable tenements to sanitation and social work;
- historic political reforms, from the ballot initiative to the civil service system;
- the “busting” of powerful trusts and banking conglomerates; and
- the conservation of wilderness and the world’s first national parks.
A Fascinating Window on Momentous Times
In his teaching, Professor O’Donnell demonstrates an extraordinarily comprehensive and penetrating knowledge of the eras in question, together with a flair for bringing the human realities of the times alive through powerful storytelling. Among numerous impactful episodes, you’ll witness the monumental moment in 1880 when electric arc lighting first lit American streets, causing men to fall on their knees before what seemed to be “lightning brought down from the heavens.” You’ll relive the events of the heartrending Bread and Roses strike of 1912, the wealth-flaunting gaudiness of Mrs. Vanderbilt’s ball of 1883 (which cost six million dollars in today’s currency), and the storm of suffragist picketers who besieged the White House in 1917.
And you’ll encounter great personalities, whose vision and dynamism symbolized and transformed the temper of their times. In addition to luminaries such as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, you’ll meet the likes of saloon-busting reformer Carrie Nation, African-American rights activist Ida B. Wells, muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens, suffragist leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton, environmentalist John Muir, and Theodore Roosevelt, whose accomplishments in conservation and economic regulation made him one of the greatest reformers of the times.
In America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, you’ll contemplate profound shifts in American society that marked what is arguably the most significant period of change in our history. These compelling lectures vividly reveal the thinking, the struggles, the conquests, and the triumphs that made the United States the global force it is today.
- 1865: "Bind Up the Nation's Wounds"
- The Reconstruction Revolution
- Buffalo Bill Cody and the Myth of the West
- Smokestack Nation: The Industrial Titans
- Andrew Carnegie: The Self-Made Ideal
- Big Business: Democracy for Sale?
- The New Immigrants: A New America
- Big Cities: The Underbelly Revealed
- Popular Culture: Jazz, Modern Art, Movies
- New Technology: Cars, Electricity, Records
- The 1892 Homestead Strike
- Morals and Manners: Middle-Class Society
- Mrs. Vanderbilt's Gala Ball
- Populist Revolt: The Grangers and Coxey
- Rough Riders and the Imperial Dream
- No More Corsets: The New Woman
- Trust-Busting in the Progressive Era
- The 1911 Triangle Fire and Reform
- Theodore Roosevelt, Conservationist
- Urban Reform: How the Other Half Lives
- The 17th Amendment: Democracy Restored
- Early Civil Rights: Washington or Du Bois?
- Over There: A World Safe for Democracy
- Upheaval and the End of an Era
The Nature of Matter: Understanding the Physical World [TTC Video]
16 July 2015, 20:52
Course No 1227 | M4V, AVC, 2000 kbps, 640x360 | English, AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.01GB
Matter is the raw material of the universe. Stars, planets, mountains, oceans, and atmospheres are all made of matter. So are plants and animals—including humans and every material thing we have ever produced. Amazingly, this immense variety is generated by a limited number of chemical elements that combine in simple, well-defined ways.
Consider carbon, a relatively common atom with many faces:
- Diamond: When one carbon atom bonds to four others in a cubic structure, repeated many times, the result is diamond, a form of pure carbon that is the hardest known mineral.
- Graphite: In a different geometric arrangement, carbon atoms bond in a flat lattice that is among the softest known substances, graphite, which is used in pencil leads and lubricants.
- Nanotubes: Loop a sheet of graphite, one atom thick, into a cylindrical shape and you get a carbon nanotube, a material 300 times stronger than steel with remarkable electrical properties.
- Life: You would not be reading this if carbon were not an atom of surprising versatility, able to combine with other elements to create the complex chemicals that are the basis of life.
And carbon is just one element among roughly 100 that are the basic, indivisible constituents of all normal matter. They are the ingredients of our universe, and the science of chemistry tells us how elements combine and why the resulting compounds have the properties they do.
This physical picture of the world has taken centuries to assemble, but its insights are now available to anyone. No scientific background is needed to appreciate such miracles of everyday life as the bounce of a rubber ball or water’s astonishing power to dissolve. Moreover, the study of matter has led directly to such inventions as semiconductor circuits for computers, new fabrics for clothes, and powerful adhesives for medicine and industry. These discoveries were hard-won by scientific sleuths, but we can all sit back and enjoy the details—just as we delight in the solution to a good detective story.
The Nature of Matter: Understanding the Physical World deciphers the mystery of matter in 24 engaging and enlightening half-hour lectures that are geared toward anyone with a curious mind; there are no other prerequisites. Your guide is Professor David W. Ball of Cleveland State University, a noted researcher, textbook author, and award-winning teacher, who has a gift for making chemistry beautifully accessible and engaging.
How the World Works
Starting with the fundamental components of the universe—matter, energy, and entropy—you quickly build your conceptual toolkit to include atoms and the different ways they bond to each other, forming molecules and other compounds. Plentiful graphics and animations help make these ideas crystal clear, launching you into the crucial mission of chemistry: explaining how matter behaves. In The Nature of Matter, you investigate the principles behind a fascinating array of substances, including some very familiar products:
- Teflon: Discovered by accident, this long chain of molecules, called a polymer, is chemically unreactive and very slippery, giving it a multitude of uses—from non-stick coatings to leak-proof tape for pipe fittings.
- Cotton textiles: Cotton towels and clothes are absorbent and comfortable because cotton fibers act as tiny capillaries, wicking away moisture by a phenomenon known as adhesion.
- Soap: If oil and water don’t mix, then why does soapy water remove oil? The reason is the long hydrocarbon chain of a soap molecule, which is attracted to water at one end and oil at the other.
- Gasoline: Liquid gasoline doesn’t burn easily, contrary to many movie explosions—but gasoline vapor does. It evaporates at a relatively low temperature, making it an ideal fuel for internal combustion engines.
You’ll discover that chemistry is a truly practical science, for after hearing the many examples that Professor Ball presents, you’ll be able to make informed decisions in such areas as nutrition, dental care, and recycling. This knowledge is even relevant to issues in the news like environmental pollution and climate change.
Delve Deep into Matter
Professor Ball takes you deep into the details of his field, explaining how to read the periodic table of the elements (which he calls “the most important, one-page tool in all of science”), why the electron shells in an atom are like a house, and the differences between a compound, a solution, a composite, and other arrangements of matter. Armed with this background, you’ll find that a number of life’s ordinary enigmas suddenly make sense:
- Why does salt melt ice? In the lecture on solutions, you learn how particles of salt (the solute) interfere with the formation of crystals in water ice, giving it a lower freezing point and causing it to melt.
- How do you tell a vitamin from a mineral? Vitamin and mineral nutrients illustrate an important division in chemistry: vitamins are typically covalent compounds, while minerals are usually ionic compounds.
- Is car wax necessary? Water beads rather than pools on a waxed car, inhibiting the formation of rust. In chemical terms, the adhesion between water and wax is much lower than the cohesion within bulk water.
- How do lizards climb up walls? Solved only recently, this mystery involves tiny hairs on the lizard’s toes, which stick to the wall through intermolecular forces, a phenomenon that has inspired new adhesives.
You’ll also study some extraordinary enigmas, such as superconductivity, which is the flow of electricity with zero resistance. Long thought to be achievable only at temperatures close to absolute zero, this phenomenon has been observed at higher temperatures in certain ceramics and other materials, raising the possibility of power transmission with perfect efficiency.
Why Matter Matters
Since prehistoric times, knowledge of materials has driven the development of civilization. The Stone Age was succeeded by the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the industrial age, and now the age of silicon—the element that is the basis of the semiconductor revolution.
What’s next? Professor Ball devotes his final lecture to future trends in the science of matter. Speculation about the future often feels unreal. But after absorbing the previous 23 lectures of The Nature of Matter, you will know enough to form your own opinions. Is nanotechnology around the corner? Will 3-D printing take off in spectacular new directions? Can we adapt the secrets of spider silk, barnacle glue, and other remarkable biomaterials for our own uses?
It all depends on how we manipulate the raw materials of the world. Professor Ball notes that the “fun part about being a chemist is that we still have lots of combinations of these raw materials to explore.” And the joy of this course is learning from an outstanding teacher who is part of this exciting quest.
- Matter, Energy, and Entropy
- The Nature of Light and Matter
- A New Theory of Matter
- The Structure of Atoms and Molecules
- The Stellar Atom-Building Machine
- The Amazing Periodic Table
- Ionic versus Covalent Matter
- The Versatile Element: Carbon
- The Strange Behavior of Water
- Matter in Solution
- Interactions: Adhesion and Cohesion
- Surface Energy: The Interfaces among Us
- The Eloquent Chemistry of Carbon Compounds
- Materials for Body Implants
- The Chemistry of Food and Drink
- Fuels and Explosives
- The Air We Breathe
- Materials: The Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages
- Again and Again: Polymers
- Recycling Materials
- Resistance Is Futile: Superconductors
- Resistance Is Useful: Semiconductors
- Out of Many, One: Composites
- The Future of Materials