Squeamish About Our Bodies (The Third of Three Meditations on A Brave New World)

Parenthood in A Brave New World is considered obscene. Motherhood, fatherhood, and family-life are looked upon, not only as antiquated, but as shameful. There is a powerful logic at work in the novel, a logic which is at work in our own culture. When sex ceases to be linked with marriage or reproduction, our bodies and our bodily existence can … Continue reading Squeamish About Our Bodies (The Third of Three Meditations on A Brave New World)

Unity vs. Uniformity (The Second of Three Meditations on A Brave New World)

Social conditioning in A Brave New World (coupled with genetic and pharmacological engineering) succeeds in eliminating nearly all conflict, but it also undermines certain fundamental elements of a truly human polis. Ironically, in this highly uniform society, it is unity which is undermined most of all. This is because social unity, understood as a communion of persons, cannot be achieved merely … Continue reading Unity vs. Uniformity (The Second of Three Meditations on A Brave New World)

The Failed Promise of the Enlightenment (The First of Three Meditations on A Brave New World)

The success of the political order in A Brave New World comes at the price of social and personal maturity. Yet, it is a price the controllers and engineers of that society willingly pay, making the very success of their social experiment a failure. Remarkably, the failure of this system finds its origin in values first codified during the Enlightenment. It was during … Continue reading The Failed Promise of the Enlightenment (The First of Three Meditations on A Brave New World)

The Mystery of Marriage in Anna Karenina

In one of the most touching sections of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, the recently married Konstantin Levin is repeatedly mystified by his wife Kitty’s behavior. She bustles about his country estate, rearranging the household, changing table cloths, moving furniture, and establishing dining routines. While he cannot comprehend the meaning of her activity, he sees that it engrosses her, and he tolerates it. … Continue reading The Mystery of Marriage in Anna Karenina