The Anxieties Of A Beautiful Day

That mysterious, terrible anxiety felt on a beautiful day–whether that of the spring, summer, fall, or winter–is perhaps better understood when we realize that such anxiety is not one, but many anxieties. To wit, that anxiety is: The anxiety of not knowing whether this beautiful day is not the harbinger of a terrible day; forContinue reading “The Anxieties Of A Beautiful Day”

America, Let’s Just Keep Our Flag At Half-Mast, OK?

Folks, we have a problem on our hands. Every few days, or weeks, we put the hard-working men and women who are in charge of lowering and raising our national flag–whether in parks, schools, public libraries, post offices, or anywhere else–to considerable hardship. To wit, we make them repeatedly perform the tedious task of loweringContinue reading “America, Let’s Just Keep Our Flag At Half-Mast, OK?”

The Gabba As Field Of Dreams

All sports fans are sustained by fantasies. They are our white ravens, the sights we imagine we will never see, because they are ruled out by improbabilities, but they still sustain us. For they bring us back to the ‘action’ again and again, hoping against hope and empirical plausibility, letting their associated dreams and wonderingsContinue reading “The Gabba As Field Of Dreams”

Killing a Friendship Over Email

Modern relationships end in strange ways. Last year, a friend terminated a friendship with me over email. We had not met in over a year, and had been exchanging emails on trying to find a time and place to meet and ‘catch up.’ Arranging a meeting time with another ambitious New Yorker that works isContinue reading “Killing a Friendship Over Email”

William James On The ‘Automatic, Therapeutic Decision’

In Existential Psychotherapy, Irvin Yalom, writing of conscious, directed, self-therapeutic change, writes of the ‘essential’ role of personal decisions and choices in ‘effective’ therapy, and invokes William James‘ five-fold taxonomy of decisions “only two of which, the first and the second, involve “willful” effort”: 1. Reasonable decision. We consider the arguments for and against aContinue reading “William James On The ‘Automatic, Therapeutic Decision’”

Children: The Familiar And Strange, The Known And Unknown

Parenting, and my relationship with my daughter, is persistently fraught by the presence of two seemingly incompatible states of affairs. First, my child seems utterly familiar to me, the most intimately known person in our family: I was with her at her birth, and have been a companion and guardian since then, cleaning, bathing, feeding,Continue reading “Children: The Familiar And Strange, The Known And Unknown”

Mark Twain On The ‘Growing’ Wisdom Of Our Parents

Mark Twain is famously said to have revised his assessment of his parents’ wisdom: When I was seventeen I was convinced my father was a damn fool. When I was twenty-one I was astounded by how much the old man had learned in four years. Twain’s words speak to a crucial perspectival aspect of ourContinue reading “Mark Twain On The ‘Growing’ Wisdom Of Our Parents”

Kierkegaard On Being Educated By Possibility (And Anxiety)

In┬áThe Concept of Anxiety, Soren Kierkegaard writes Whoever is educated by anxiety is educated by possibility, and only he who is educated by possibility is educated according to his infinitude. Therefore possibility is the weightiest of all categories….in possibility all things are equally possible, and whoever has truly been brought up by possibility has graspedContinue reading “Kierkegaard On Being Educated By Possibility (And Anxiety)”

Getting Pulled Over; A Teachable Moment

Last week, while driving in Ketchum, Idaho, I was pulled over for speeding (driving 36 mph in a 25-mph zone.) The traffic stop proceeded along expected lines: the police car switched on its flashing red and blue lights as it sidled up behind me, I pulled over to the side of the road, the policemanContinue reading “Getting Pulled Over; A Teachable Moment”