What do we do with old books? I mean really old books. How do we understand them when they seem so alien to us? Time can seem to be the enemy of understanding. Past texts can seem cryptic. We wonder if Chaucer is as ironic as we may like to see him or if we … More How Temporal Distance Helps Us Read
Nothing is so purely the trace of the mind as writing, but also nothing is so dependent on the understanding mind. In deciphering and interpreting a miracle takes place: the transformation of something strange and dead into a total simultaneity and familiarity. This is like nothing else that has come down to us from the … More The Miracle of Reading
Personalism is notoriously difficult to define. Sometimes I’ll read a writer and think, “this is personalism,” but then have trouble articulating exactly how. This is why Jacques Maritain quipped in The Person and the Common Good that “there are, at least, a dozen personalist doctrines, which, at times, have nothing more in common than the term … More Why I’m a Personalist Part 1
Are you a poet or a philosopher? Do you look at the world as beautiful or knowable? Is mystery or intelligibility more important? This is the “ancient quarrel” between philosophy and poetry, truth and beauty, and it goes all the way back to Plato. In the tenth book of The Republic, Socrates considers the place of … More The Ancient Quarrel
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), a Victorian writer of fiery contradictions and angry satire, is known for hero worship. In his Lecture on Heroes, he describes ideal political leaders as The Commander over Men; he to whose will our wills are to be subordinated, and loyally surrender themselves, and find their welfare in doing so, may be … More Would Carlyle Support Trump?
A long time ago in a state of exception far, far away… Governor Tarkin enters with a sci-fi samurai at his heels. All the other leaders are debating the stability of their power. Is the new battle station enough? Is the Rebellion gaining support in the Senate? And then this happens: The Imperial Senate will … More A Primer on the Politics of Star Wars
If anything deserves an octave, it’s Halloween. I can’t count how many years I’ve put together an amazing spooky movie list for October or Halloween night only to maybe get through only one. We really need to just extend it all the way through November. So in that spirit, let’s continue with a look at … More The Uncanny