Tag Archives: meaning

Camus in a Nutshell: God is Not Good, Nature is Not Good, and We are More Moral Than God or Nature

God didn’t prevent the Holocaust, but we would have. And God didn’t prevent the 2004 Christmas tsunami that killed over 100,000 people, but we would have. And Nature doesn’t care if death is the engine of evolution, but we do. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Human Beings are “Purpose Maximizers, Not Profit Maximizers”

Autonomy, mastery, and meaning are bigger motivators than money. Author Dan Pink explains:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arnold Schwarzenegger on Turning 65

Via the Daily Beast today: “It sucks. Mentally I’m young. But you cannot stop the body from aging. Someone like myself despises the thought of death. I have a real problem with that. And after you run up the stairs … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Would It Mean To Live For Eternity?

When you think about it, all you ever really have is the present, which the poet William Blake called “the moving image of eternity.” You recall the past in present memory and you model and anticipate the future in present … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ask an Interesting Question, Get an Interesting Answer. Stephen Knapp and Walter Benn Michael’s Anti-Critical Theory Question: What Happens if We Don’t Separate Meaning from Intention and Knowledge from Interpretation? Will This Kill Critical Theory?

Within the humanities, contemporary critical theorizing typically entails political commitments, predominantly from the left, accompanied by some line of attack or qualification on Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle (his idea that every communicative act necessarily requires a speaker or author, a message, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the Lightning Said: My Definition of Art

Art, by my definition, is a report of what the lightning said. It’s bound up with the ontological mystery (the mystery of being itself); an artist’s attempt to represent to others an experience of that mystery (what it feels like … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blogging David Goodsell’s “The Machinery of Life” (The Preface)

David Goodsell is a molecular biologist at The Scripps Research Institute in California, and he has written a hippie-beautiful introductory text to molecular biology, The Machinery of Life (2nd edition, Springer 2010), which Scientific American calls “an impressive and original book.”  … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Louis CK Mocks Rootless Single People

Nice.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The self-made soul? Do you make a soul as an author makes a novel, one moment of awareness at a time?

I’m not sure what, exactly, the soul is (“I am that I am?”), but I do think I’m closing in, at least for myself, on what the soul does. Here’s the theory I’m working with. Please help me refine it if you think I’m missing something … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Thirteen Missing Explanatory Links in the Atheist v. Theist Debate

Below I offer what I would call “the thirteen missing explanatory links” in the atheist v. theist debate. To my mind they constitute the most intractable problems for anyone trying to arrive at some sort of worldview coherence (whether you … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Go with the flow? Six plausible options for dealing with change

What is the proper response to this burning, bleeding, milk secreting, honey babbling world? It seems to me that the range of responses are pretty limited, and can be boiled down to six plausible options: acceptance and celebration (go with the flow)  … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Two Trees: Darwin’s and that Mesopotamian One

Visually echoing Charles Darwin’s famous description of life as a great interconnected tree, below is the image of a trunk and branches in which an artist has carved animals. And beside it is a more traditional depiction of the Tree of Life, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Living and Dying with Purpose and Heroism: Christopher Hitchens and Enkidu

In a recent interview with Hugh Hewitt, Christopher Hitchens contrasts dying in a heroic cause with dying from a terminal disease (which, via Hitchens’s esophageal cancer, he may be doing): But it [dying in a good cause] avoids the boring thought that one is … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why I’m an Agnostic, But Not an Atheist

What is it, really, that separates the atheist from the agnostic? I would argue that the ultimate dividing line between the atheist and the agnostic is over the issue of mystery. For the atheist, the ontological mystery—the mystery of being—is merely an … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lama Surya Das says that the Buddha represents “the fullest actualized potential of human beings.” My six-year-old daughter’s response: “This is wrong!”

In an essay at the Huffington Post today, Buddhist author Lama Surya Das characterizes in this way what the meditating stone Buddha in your spring garden symbolizes: The Buddha is actually an archetype representing enlightenment, an icon symbolizing inner wisdom, a pointer … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

No Things but in Ideas: Elisa Gabbert, a Poetry Editor, Vents

William Carlos Williams’s famous poetic motto was “no ideas but in things,” but as someone who loves philosophy as well as poetry, I like what Elisa Gabbert recently wrote: Here’s what I’d like to see more of in submissions: IDEAS. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hazel Barnes on the Meaning of Life

In her essay “Greek Tragicomedy” (1964), I think that University of Colorado existentialist philosopher Hazel Barnes summed up human existence rather nicely in just a couple of sentences: [M]an’s imaginative reach transcends his actual capabilities. The goal he attains is never quite the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The CERN Large Hadron Collider: Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing?

The New York Times today provides an interesting “history-in-a-nutshell” perspective on the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC): Particle colliders get their magic from Einstein’s equation of mass and energy. The more energy that these machines can pack into their little … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ontological Mystery (the Mystery of Being) Represented in Film

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reductionism, the Ontological Mystery, and Joni Mitchell

What do we really know about clouds and rainbows, let alone love and free will? To speak of them, scientifically or otherwise (including poetically), is like using chopsticks to drink the ocean. Our instruments seem inadequate to the scale of our task, and somehow … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment