A Supreme Boredom

Immortality. Stardust. Death. Unique to the gods is the problem of supreme boredom. The gods have nothing to look forward to. Long after the last human has returned to stardust, the gods will live on, every day the same, infinite sameness. Mortals, humans, see that distant coach called death coming, in the distance, always somewhatContinue reading “A Supreme Boredom”

The Epic Virus and Examined Life

Nothing like an Epic Virus to remind one how connections work. Members of this current batch of humans share just about everything of themselves, like it or not, even their money, some more some less than others. Life swarms with sounds we can’t hear, and teems down pouring itself empty with flying bugs and crawlingContinue reading “The Epic Virus and Examined Life”

Notes on Caleb Crain’s “Overthrow”

In spite of embedded Shakespeare and sundry 19th Century potential footnotes, Caleb Crain’s new novel, “Overthrow” (Viking, August, 2019), may remind readers more of the William Powell and Myrna Loy films that made noir comedies out of Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man” than to Henry James (who, it might be argued, made drama out ofContinue reading “Notes on Caleb Crain’s “Overthrow””

At the Intersection of Above and Below Ground

Geomicrobiologists now claim life underground exceeds in size, diversity, and span life above ground. What is life? It might be easier to simply say Earth is alive, all of it, including the rocks. And does extraterrestrial life exist? Well, we exist, we think. It now appears planets are living beings. Universe is alive. And that’sContinue reading “At the Intersection of Above and Below Ground”

Body of Christ and Body Politic: Notes on Luke J. Goble’s “Worshiping Politics: Problems and Practices for a Public Faith”

In one of the early scenes of H. G. Wells’s “The Time Machine,” the Time Traveler discovers a group of Eloi lounging in the sun by a small river, bathing in the shallows. One of them, Weena, cramps and is caught in a rapid, and is in danger of drowning, but her screams are ignored.Continue reading “Body of Christ and Body Politic: Notes on Luke J. Goble’s “Worshiping Politics: Problems and Practices for a Public Faith””

Notes on Youssef Rakha’s “The Crocodiles”

Instead of page numbers, “The Crocodiles,” a novel by the Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha, is marked by 405 numbered, block paragraphs, the whole symmetrically framed by references to Allen Ginsberg, the US Beat poet, to his “The Lion for Real,” signed “Paris, March, 1958.” Opening Rakha’s book, one finds a hand drawn map labeled “TheContinue reading “Notes on Youssef Rakha’s “The Crocodiles””

Is Privacy the New Plastic?

In February, I posted on the film “Examined Life.” One of the featured philosophers in the film, Peter Singer, has an interesting article on ethics, privacy, and social networking and technology in this month’s (August) Harpers: “Visible man: Ethics in a world without secrets.” Is privacy the new plastic? (Use library if no Harper’s subscription.)

“Examined Life”: Socrates on Ice; or, Engaged Life: Riding the Clutch with Today’s Philosophers

In Astra Taylor’s film “Examined Life” (2008, DVD 2011), the camera captures contemporary thinkers walking through everyday environments that reflect and frame their dialogue. But there’s not much dialogue, more monologue, which is what I assume is Martha Nussbaum’s complaint in her upset and defecting review in The Point Magazine, “Inheriting Socrates” (Winter, 2010). I canContinue reading ““Examined Life”: Socrates on Ice; or, Engaged Life: Riding the Clutch with Today’s Philosophers”