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On Being Human   By: (1856-1924)

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Woodrow Wilson's On Being Human is a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities of humanity and the inherent struggles within it. This collection of essays offers a deep dive into Wilson's philosophical musings, where he delves into various aspects of what it truly means to be human.

One of the most captivating aspects of this book is its ability to seamlessly blend intellectual rigor with accessible language. Wilson's prose is elegant and eloquent, making it easy for readers of all backgrounds to engage with his ideas. He tackles a wide range of topics, from the nature of identity and the significance of free will to the moral dilemmas that define our existence.

What sets On Being Human apart is Wilson's ability to challenge preconceived notions and offer unique perspectives on familiar subjects. Throughout the book, he confronts the contradictions and complexities of human nature, leaving readers with more questions than answers. In doing so, Wilson encourages readers to critically analyze their own beliefs and reflect on the intricacies of the human condition.

One of the standout chapters in this collection is "The Fragility of Morality," where Wilson delves into the fragility of moral absolutes. He explores the intricate relationship between our actions, intentions, and their moral consequences. Wilson's analysis prompts readers to reconsider the black and white notions of right and wrong, highlighting the nuanced ethical nuances that underpin our choices.

Another compelling aspect of On Being Human is Wilson's ability to draw from a wide range of sources, incorporating insights from various disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and philosophy. This interdisciplinary approach enriches his arguments and provides a comprehensive understanding of the complexities he seeks to unravel.

However, some readers may find Wilson's arguments occasionally dense and abstract, which could make the book feel inaccessible to those without a background in philosophy or related fields. The topics he explores demand careful thought and attention, making this a book that requires dedication and patience.

Ultimately, On Being Human is a captivating exploration of what it truly means to exist as human beings. Wilson's intellectual prowess shines through his meticulous analysis, leaving readers with a heightened sense of self-awareness and a deeper appreciation for the intricacies of our shared humanity. It is a book that provokes contemplation, challenges assumptions, and invites readers on an enlightening journey of self-discovery.

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This etext was produced by Jennifer Godwin,

On Being Human

Woodrow Wilson Ph.D., Litt.D., LL.D. President of the United States

1897 From the Atlantic Monthly

On Being Human


"The rarest sort of a book," says Mr. Bagehot, slyly, is "a book to read"; and "the knack in style is to write like a human being." It is painfully evident, upon experiment, that not many of the books which come teeming from our presses every year are meant to be read. They are meant, it may be, to be pondered; it is hoped, no doubt, they may instruct, or inform, or startle, or arouse, or reform, or provoke, or amuse us; but we read, if we have the true reader's zest and plate, not to grow more knowing, but to be less pent up and bound within a little circle, as those who take their pleasure, and not as those who laboriously seek instruction, as a means of seeing and enjoying the world of men and affairs. We wish companionship and renewal of spirit, enrichment of thought and the full adventure of the mind; and we desire fair company, and a larger world in which to find them.

No one who loves the masters who may be communed with and read but must see, therefore, and resent the error of making the text of any one of them a source to draw grammar from, forcing the parts of speech to stand out stark and cold from the warm text; or a store of samples whence to draw rhetorical instances, setting up figures of speech singly and without support of any neighbor phrase, to be stared at curiously and with intent to copy or dissect! Here is grammar done without deliberation: the phrases carry their meaning simply and by a sort of limpid reflection; the thought is a living thing, not an image ingeniously contrived and wrought... Continue reading book >>

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