Anxiety and Anxieties

A few days ago, I wrote a post on ‘The Sunday Evening Blues.’ My purpose in writing that was to try to capture the nature of that evening’s particular mood, which over the years has acquired its own set of peculiar characteristics. In doing so, I was, of course, barely scratching the surface of aContinue reading “Anxiety and Anxieties”

If Not a Perfect God, Then a Imperfect God Maybe? Contd.

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post responding to Yoram Hazony’s article at the Stone. In response, Corey Robin sent me the following comments by email: I was thinking about yours and Norman Geras’s post about Yoram Hazony.  I don’t think there’s any question that you’re both right about what the implications ofContinue reading “If Not a Perfect God, Then a Imperfect God Maybe? Contd.”

The Pleasures of Running, Part Deux

The good folks at WordPress have been nice enough to put one of my recent posts ‘The Oft-Missed Pleasures of Running‘ into their Freshly Pressed selection. This has resulted in an overwhelming number of new readers and some very nice comments. I’d like to able to respond to each one individually, but it is lookingContinue reading “The Pleasures of Running, Part Deux”

Regulation, Social Norming and Tocqueville’s ‘Majority’

There is a well-known model of behavior modification, a taxonomy of sorts of regulatory mechanisms, due to Lawrence Lessig, which lists four modalities of regulation: the law, the market, social norms and architecture. The law provides punitive sanctions, actively restrains by making visible its power, and points in the desired direction; the market provides economicContinue reading “Regulation, Social Norming and Tocqueville’s ‘Majority’”

Why Would An ‘Imperfect’ God Be of Interest?

I find Yoram Hazony’s post at the Stone today genuinely perplexing (and a little pointless). Hazony suggests the notion of a ‘perfect God’ is problematic, that indeed, it is the insistence on such a conception of God, apparently nowhere to be found in the Bible, that is the source of much philosophical head-scratching, disputation betweenContinue reading “Why Would An ‘Imperfect’ God Be of Interest?”

The Oft-Missed Pleasures of Running

Late into the night of my 28th birthday, I was doing a passable impression of a dancing fool. It was almost four in the morning, I had consumed enough alcohol to administer local anesthetic to a small platoon of foot soldiers, and I was blithely unaware of impending danger. But there it was, in the shape ofContinue reading “The Oft-Missed Pleasures of Running”

My First Thanksgiving

My first Thanksgiving introduced me to the trials and travails of the paid-by-the-hour worker. In 1987, while in graduate school, I worked in the university cafeteria. I made $4.25 an hour for: on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, taking soiled dishes off one conveyor belt, and stacking them on another (the dishwasher); and on Saturdays andContinue reading “My First Thanksgiving”

Arendt, the Problem of ‘The Absolute’ and Revolutionary Fascination by Antiquity

There are many, many remarkable passages in Hannah Arendt‘s On Revolution, which forms part of my reading list for this fall semester’s Political Philosophy seminar. In particular, there is a profusion of them in Chapter 5, ‘Novus Ordo Saeclorum’. Here Arendt offers an analysis of the problem of legitimacy of post-revolutionary government i.e., the problemContinue reading “Arendt, the Problem of ‘The Absolute’ and Revolutionary Fascination by Antiquity”

Corporal Punishment and the Arrested Development of the ‘Adult’

In the past couple of weeks, I have quoted at length from Erik Erikson‘s Young Man Luther. First, to draw an analogy between the development stages of humans and nations via the notion of an identity crisis, and then, to point to perhaps a similarly analogical relationship between indoctrination and addiction recovery. Today, I wantContinue reading “Corporal Punishment and the Arrested Development of the ‘Adult’”

The Sunday Evening Blues

It is almost a commonplace that Monday mornings are terrible things, hallways of the melancholy and gruesome, abiding disasters of returns to reality. The weekend over, the oppressed resident of the week must return to his normal haunts, the workplace, the company of others, the strains and oppressions of routine. This is the accepted wisdom, enshrined inContinue reading “The Sunday Evening Blues”