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The stories of our lives

Last week, I mentioned the evocative challenge that the writer and literary agent John Brockman recently posed to a group of scientists and intellectuals: “Ask the question for which you will be remembered.” I jokingly said that my own question would probably resemble the one submitted by the scholar Jonathan Gottschall: “Are stories bad for us?” As often happens with such snap decisions, however, this one turned out to be more revealing than I had anticipated. 1,199 more words


Responsibility as respect for reality

In the third chapter of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Art of Living, he discusses responsibility, which was the topic of my MA thesis. “This moral awakedness,” he says, “is also the soul of the fundamental moral attitude that we have called ‘awareness of responsibility.'” 757 more words

What the shit is "Systemic Injustice?"

In a shock to absolutely no one, condemning Nazis is super easy. Industrialized murder and racial supremacy aren’t really all that controversial. I mean, I know that’s not universal and there is a… 1,866 more words

Social Criticism

Moral panic

The removal of the Waterhouse painting in Manchester is only another black eye for the city.

I recall a time when religious fundamentalists sought to ban photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe because they were “pornographic.” 110 more words


Phyllis Webb: From Private to Public

One interesting aspect of the poetic craft is that it’s by nature a private and reflective process. The very act of writing poetry is in itself a private activity; most people imagine the solitary poet at their desk captivated by their own thoughts. 965 more words

Public Intellectuals

January 26: Young Hannah Arendt

I stayed indoors all day yesterday in the miserable rain, working from home. It’s pretty dark even during the day when the rains come. This is my Windows desktop photo. Hannah Arendt.

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