Circula Vita


[Note: I know that the grammar of my phrase "Circula Vita" is off, but I just like the way it sounds better than Circulum Vita]

I have been developing a method for learning that I would like to share. I call it Circula Vita.

Basically, my approach to learning has become one of incrementalism. In practice, this means that each of my different passions (Latin, French, literature, poetry, philosophy, history) have their own "slots" in my daily routine; each given a fifteen minute block. I came up with this idea because, in the past, I found myself either trying to read just one book, which wasn't satisfying enough, or trying to read too many books at once without a structure; this resulted in many books remaining "half-eaten".

Here is a concrete example of my current daily routine: Latin in the morning (Fabula ab Urbe Condita), history at Noon (Frederick Douglass biography), French mid-day (textbook for French class), philosophy after dinner (Nietzsche's "Zarathustra"), poetry at night (Mandelbaum's "Aeneid") and literature to end the night (Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past").

A big reason for this idea is because I have a wonderful little five-year-old, and so there is not a lot of time to go around right now. But, also, I have come to love this learning method because it allows me to concentrate without burning-out, and it creates a wonderful rhythm to my day as well.

I am curious how others go about learning. Please feel free to share how you keep your love of learning alive.

Hemo Rusticus

Jive Turkey
That’s pretty slick, although maybe a tad hectic for my blood. But then I s’pose that’s rather the point.

I’m fortunate enough to be able to read/write/do more or less whatever I want while on the clock (don’t tell my boss!), so when I’m feeling ebullient, I’ll have an agenda between work and home. At one I might read, at the other I might study.

Like you, I find that one without the other generally results in stagnation. It’d be like eating only soup (and I fuckin’ loooove soup, man).


Civis Illustris
Assiduitas me semper deficit. Haud scio an hanc ob causam nullam linguam optime didicerim. :D Id meâ imprimis interest, ut oblecter.
I've always been irregular. Probably this explains why I haven't learnt any language well. :D My primary concern is to have fun.

Hemo Rusticus

Jive Turkey
Oh, c’mon, it’s a classic. Doesn’t matter if it’s any good.


Dr. Freud
I can't even believe that the greatest poet of all time wrote a piece of shit work like that...


Dr. Freud
You remind me of Zarathustra's Ape. See "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", Book III, "On Passing By". Perhaps that is why you don't like the book, it describes you too well!


Vemortuicida strenuus
I started reading it a few months ago then stopped as I had no idea what the hell he was talking about...



You are quite justified in being confused about what Nietzsche is talking about in "Zarathustra". His mixture of philosophical assertion and literary flourish can lead any intelligent person to scratch their heads. Before I give my own explanation of the text, let me say up-front that I don't agree with all of Nietzsche's ideas and that the book itself contains many issues.

If I could summarize the main point of "Zarathustra" it would be: morality is an act of creation.

This idea runs directly counter to the theological assertion of most religions that morality is fixed and revealed from a god. In the book of Exodus, for example, morality is literally brought down from God to Moses in the form of physical tablets. What could be more concrete?! For Zarathustra, however, the act of "giving value" is the most fundamental human act. To abdicate that responsibility and put it into the hands of an external force is tantamount to renouncing your humanity. From his perspective, this is why Christianity is rotten. It takes away the value-making part of the soul.

Here are some quotes from the book to illustrate my point, and some other quotes that I find valuable in themselves (Kaufmann trans.):

  • "Zarathustra found on Earth no greater power than good and evil" (On the Thousand and One Goals)
  • "Verily, men gave themselves all their good and evil" (On the Thousand and One Goals)
  • “Can you give yourself your own evil and your own good and hang your own will over yourself as a law?” (On the Way of the Creator)
  • “Verily, I say unto you: good and evil that are not transitory, do not exist” (On Self-Overcoming)
  • "Not around the inventors of new noise, but around the inventors of new values does the world revolve” (On Great Events)
  • “As long as there have been men, man has felt too little joy: that alone, my brothers, is our original sin” (On the Pitying)
  • “You flee to your neighbors from yourselves” (On Love of the Neighbor)
  • “Of all evil I deem you capable: therefore I want the good from you” (On Those Who are Sublime)
  • “Indeed, to look down upon myself and even upon my stars, that alone I should call my peak; that has remained for me as my ultimate peak” (The Wanderer)
  • “Who is more godless than I, that I may delight in his instruction?” (On Virtue that Makes Small)