Experimental Hope

In the Phaedo, Socrates’ friends gather round him on his last day. He is about to drink hemlock, but they wish to be reassured once again that the soul does indeed live on. They are full of fear that in death the soul meets its end. What would such a proof look like? How can one demonstrate the immortality … Continue reading Experimental Hope

Greek is Regular; Greek is Fun: Memory, Science, and the Face of God

Adapted from a talk given for Perspective Student Weekend at New College Franklin, Spring 2017  There are times when a song is in my head, or more precisely, part of a song–a refrain which I repeat over and over. No matter how lovely or stirring such a refrain may be, it is imperfect apart from the whole, and … Continue reading Greek is Regular; Greek is Fun: Memory, Science, and the Face of God

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)