Every now and again you stumble across something or somebody who just blows your mind. Someone who produces something that just seems to plug right in to where you’re at or what you’re thinking about. One such recent discovery for me was the YouTube lecture recordings of Dr. Wes Cecil (pronounced See-Sil) Dr. Cecil describes himself as a student of language and literature who has been reading, writing, and studying for most of his life. He’s interested in literature, philosophy, history (and gardening).
His (unfortunately unsuccessful) Kicksatarter project page reads:
“Six years ago I began giving lectures on philosophy and intellectual history at Peninsula College in Port Townsend Washington. To my surprise, the lectures were quite popular and people attending the lectures asked for copies of them. To meet this demand, I began posting the lectures on YouTube. Again to my surprise, the lectures have proven popular and I have received many requests for support material and a more complete treatment of some of the issues raised in the lectures.”
I came across him while doing some research on Cicero. Dr. Cecil gave a stunning lecture on Cicero as part of his ‘Forgotten Thinkers’ series which also includes the likes of Emilie du Chatalet, Al-Ghazali and Averroes, Walter Kaufmann, Jacques Barzun, Max Stirner, Mencius… all fairly unknown figures to most of us but all fascinating characters, absolutely brought to life by Dr. Cecil. His style is relaxed and witty. The depth and breath of his research is impressive. He often draws fascinating parallels and comparisons between thinkers and ideas, countries and epochs, languages and histories; greatly enhancing the understanding of the whys and wherefores of his subject matter. He always gives some colourful insights into the personality, character and personal life of the subjects of his lectures thereby letting us connect in a more subjective way with them and not just from an academic, objective point of view.
In addition to the Forgotten Thinkers series, he has many recordings of the better known philosophers, a series on the Humane Arts, Myths of the Modern American Mind, Languages and Literature including the likes of Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Persian… and many more, there are over 50 recordings on his YouTube page each around an hour or so in length.
I have listened to well over half of them to date and not a single one has been anything less than engrossing. I cannot recommend him and his lectures highly enough! Check him out now!
Below is the video presentation for his Kickstarter project to produce a book entitled “The Uses of Philosophy for Living”