A Golden Hope

“Why did Crusoe take the coins off the ship?”

Robinson Crusoe is the story of a man that was ship-wrecked on an island, alone, for years. When he first swam to the island he built a raft to transport as many goods as he could from the wrecked ship back to the island. After several days of getting the necessary food, clothes and tools, he came across a chest of gold coins. At first knowing they were useless, he decided to leave them to sink. On second thought, he brought them along. Why?

I think there are two potential reasons, the first of which is the most improbable; the second of which I think is the true reason.

Crusoe may have taken them off the ship because Continue reading

Storms At Sea

I first read Robinson Crusoe when I was about twelve. I found it a bit boring, but I liked the part he spent on the island. Now, reading it again I can actually appreciate the beginning of the book—the part that forms the character. Defoe wrote the book very well and developed the character into someone we can relate to. His struggles and joys make the story.

The book begins with Crusoe living with his parents. He feels a great desire to go out and have an adventure. He doesn’t want to live the mundane life that his parents want him to lead. They give him advice against leaving and throwing away a secure life. He runs away, in effect, and gains passage aboard a ship. After a few mishaps and several mini-adventures aboard different ships, he finds himself a household slave. He manages to gain his freedom with a young boy. They sail south along the African coast, until a Portuguese ship rescues them. All along this time, Crusoe regrets, repents and reaffirms his resolve for adventure in turn. He regrets disobeying his parents, yet he never quite goes back. Finally, on one voyage the ship capsizes in a storm and he finds himself the sole survivor on an island. And there the story really “begins.” Continue reading

Mandeville’s Influence

Bernard Mandeville was a Dutch writer and economist from the 18th century. His most famous work is the Grumbling Hive (1705) and his defense of that poem The Fable of the Bees (1714), which included the former work in it. Both of these poems are based on a bee hive that represents human society. It explains how Mandeville thinks society, particularly economics, should really be. His two most important ideas from these poems are namely that people are driven by selfishness and that there is a certain spontaneous order that comes to society. However, Mandeville’s poems were written terribly and they aren’t great examples of writing. So why did Mandeville come down in history as important?

The two main ideas from Mandeville’s works are spontaneous order and selfishness. Looking at the work of Adam Smith, a Scottish economist and philosopher, The Wealth of Nations, we find these two ideas as the base of Smith’s philosophy. Continue reading