What is the antidote to transience? The fact that everything enters and everything goes? The futility that bubbles out of death and dying? What can anchor us and provide us with meaning in the symbolic order of identities, where one thing is equivalent to another? (E.g. money, status, abstractions. Not terrible in themselves, but often … Continue reading Man the Maker
Hannah Arendt was a master at making distinctions. One of her most enlightening is the distinction between the public, the social, and the private. The public is where men (the gendered pronoun is intended because the concept of the public realm rose out of the experience of the Greek polis, consisting exclusively of man) act … Continue reading The Death of the Public
What does it mean to feel "absurd"? (That mood which Camus made so much fuss about?) Thomas Nagel, here, I think got it basically right: Absurdity is the experience of the contradiction between the objective and the subjective, stemming out of the human capacity of self-transcendence. (The significance I feel of whatever I am doing … Continue reading Absurdity?
The foremost imagery that I associate with the later Heidegger's analysis of technology is the Mine. A place where the logic of "challenging" nature, measuring the resources available, the most efficient ways to mine, the instrumental value of the stones, thus seeing everything as a "standing reserve" to be used and exhausted, "enframing" nature in … Continue reading Minecraft and Heidegger
We all know the thing about chaos—a chaotic system is sensitive to initial conditions, where the effect of a minor variation grows exponentially. But it has just occurred to me what it means for personal responsibility. It is often said that a feature of modernity (late capitalism, as Marxists would say) is the increasing "bureaucratization" … Continue reading Chaos and Personal Responsibility
Unedited essay for the UChicago supplement: “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.“—Miles Davis (1926–91). (It is way over the word limit. But...) I “Why do you love me?” This is an impossible question that we can only answer with our flailing gestures and stutters and awkward false starts and pauses and frustrated faces. … Continue reading (Very Long) Reflections on Nothing
Hannah Arendt wrote about this in Between Past and Future: We are always subject to social pressures. When parents reject any form of discipline of the child, in fear of destroying their childhood innocence, of tyrannizing them, they are only leaving children to the tyranny of the larger social group. I can see this clearly … Continue reading Be Myself?
(An essay written for John Locke Competition. Question is: "Are you more moral than others? How do you know? Should you strive to be more moral? Why or why not?"—admittedly, it is a brutal question and quite confused, but nevertheless interesting. Unfortunately, because of the limit of the essay (and considering the palate of the … Continue reading An Essay Concerning Morality
This is taken from Hannah Arendt's brilliant book, Responsibility and Judgement. What is the most central moral question, the one that holds itself against evil's banality, is never the imperative: 'thou shalt' (either in the commandments or from Kant), nor the normative: "I ought", I "should", but the I can't, which stems from the categorical: … Continue reading The One Moral Question
These are frantic, unorganized notes that I types onto my phone. Enjoy. I took the ideas about Augustine and Dun Scrotus from Arendt's Life of the Mind. “Love seeketh not Itself to please, Nor for itself hath any care; But for another gives its ease; And builds a Heaven in Hells despair.” To Augustine, love … Continue reading Love as a Human Faculty (Some Sketches)