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Category Archives: Right Thinking

Cheryl Strayed’s Vita Nuova.


In my previous essay about Cheryl Strayed’s excellent book Wild, I took as my theme the nature of the experience Strayed had, a truly transformational one which ultimately changed her perspective on almost all the issues of importance. Tranformation of perspective like this is called in Greek metanoia, a wonderful word which implies both alteration […]

Christian Teaching on Insult, Blasphemy, Etc.


The Pope has weighed in on the Charlie Hebdo killings, and he falls into the “Well, I don’t like murder normally, but…” camp: The Holy Father spoke to journalists in a broad interview on the papal flight to the Philippines about the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the controversy about the magazine’s new cover this week. […]

The Outsourcerers.


Travelling with my mother in Quebec, we saw the statue of Champlain that stands outside the Chateau Frontenac.  “People dressed so strangely in those days,” she said.  I let her continue the thought.  “A lot of times they had people dress them – can you imagine?  Needing someone to dress you?” She continued: “You know, […]



Everything godlike is weak and defenseless.

The Effect of Nature on the Mind.


Andrew Sullivan quotes a University Bookman piece which quotes a lecture by Santayana on the effect that nature as – or can have, if we let it in – on the American mind.  When you are in nature: Everywhere is beauty and nowhere permanence, everywhere an incipient harmony, nowhere an intention, nor a responsibility, nor […]

Freud and the Future of an Illusion.


A friend recently lent me a copy of Clive James’ book Cultural Amnesia – now that is a good friend – which I devoured over the course of a little over a week. The book is excellent, and what is particularly lovely about it is that it filled me with the desire to read everything […]



“No specter assails us in more varied disguises than loneliness, and one of its most impenetrable masks is called love.” – Arthur Schnitzler, quoted by Clive James. I’ve been reading James’ Cultural Amnesia, a fine book; essentially excerpts from James’ commonplace-book with essays built around them, on a general theme.  Probably for personal reasons, my […]

A Visit to the Jehovah’s Witnesses World Headquarters, Brooklyn Heights.


Last month, after having lunch with a friend in Dumbo, I decided spontaneously to take a tour of the Watchtower buildings – the Jehovah’s Witnesses World Headquarters in Brooklyn Heights. It’s one of the things you grow up with in New York City – you tell the time and the temperature by it whenever you’re […]

Apologia Pro Carolo Gustavo Jung.


There are some rules in the intellectual world which are pretty reliable for detecting bloviating stupidity, or blathering solipsism (or however you want to render b.s.), and one of them is this: if someone launches a five-thousand word attack on a noted author, and never once quotes a single line from the voluminous works of […]

Hitchens, Stegner, Mortality, and Moderns.


Sickness very much getting the better of me in the days following Thanksgiving, I spent three days indoors and very nearly all the time in bed. Having a great number of books at my disposal, being in the family house, for whatever inscrutable reason I read Christopher Hitchens’ Mortality on Friday, and Wallace Stegner’s Crossing […]