Book review: All things shining (Dreyfus, Kelly)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age is a book written by Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly, published in 2011. The book explores the concept of meaning in a secular and modern world by drawing upon various works of literature and philosophy from the Western tradition.

The authors argue that contemporary society often struggles with a sense of meaning and significance due to the decline of traditional religious beliefs and the rise of secularism. They suggest that the loss of a shared framework for understanding the world has led to feelings of emptiness and nihilism. To address this, Dreyfus and Kelly examine the works of figures like Homer, Dante, and Melville, as well as existential philosophers like Nietzsche and Heidegger.

The central idea of the book is that individuals can find meaning in life by recognizing and embracing moments of ”shining,” which are instances of transcendence and awe that break through the mundane aspects of existence. These moments can be found in various activities, experiences, and encounters with the world.

The authors emphasize the importance of cultivating an openness to these moments of transcendence and engaging with the world authentically, rather than relying on abstract theories or dogmatic ideologies. They encourage readers to draw insights from literature and philosophy to help guide them in navigating the challenges of modern life and finding meaning in a secular age.

In essence, the book is a philosophical exploration of how individuals can rediscover a sense of purpose and significance in a world where traditional sources of meaning have diminished, by connecting with the richness and wonder of existence itself.

This above was an AI generated summary of the book. I bought it due to curiosity of nihilism and skepticism, two isms i am drifting towards. The review of the book you have to wait for until december where i have my next ”book break”. See you then.