Order in the General: On Aristotle’s Vision of the Unmoved Mover and Cosmic Order

Why is there motion? The stars move, birds move, people move, air moves, even rocks move (when dropped). Why? In the Physics, Aristotle inquires into natural or movable bodies. The source of their motion is explored. But this mode of inquiry leaves him on the threshold of metaphysics and theology. To look into the causes of motion leads … Continue reading Order in the General: On Aristotle’s Vision of the Unmoved Mover and Cosmic Order

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 Poetics of Faith and Learning, Part 1

Euclid The study of Euclid’s Elements serves as an excellent example of the contemplative learning process. Proposition 5, an early proposition in the text, marks a turning point for most students, where they must not only identify a chain of equalities (something akin to a hypothetical syllogism), but do so in transposition. Whereas students needed only identify equality by imposing … Continue reading The Poetics of Faith and Learning, Part 1

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