SPOTLIGHT

  • Falling Stars and Lined Pockets

    There is no analogy between a “pocket pardon” and an actual (or proposed) one, any more than there is between a forged passport and a valid one, except that both documents appear to say the same thing—and thus might fool someone into mistaking one for the other. Indeed, a “pocket pardon” is a contradiction in terms, just as a forged passport isn’t a passport, but a seductive imitation: a fake, like its author.

  • African American Existentialism: DuBois, Locke, Thurman, and King

    Race today is often presented as a social construct. But social constructions, as Black people know all too well, can create real existential crises. Philosophers of the Black Experience writing during the Modern Era of the African American Freedom Struggle (1896-1975) engaged questions of freedom, existence, and the struggles associated with the experiences of being Black in America.

  • Surviving the City of Arts

    How do we teach humanities to STEM students in a time of increasing suspicion about the goodness of technology?

  • The Struggle for Ecological Sanity

    By: Carl Boggs At this particular juncture of history, fraught with new dangers and new challenges, it is time for humanity (or crucial sectors of it) to being exploring the intersection between politics and ecology, between the requirements for radical change and unprecedented challenges posed by the global crisis.  For many reasons, this dialectic has rarely been addressed, even among progressives and leftists.  One dimension of this failure – central to the key arguments that follow – is the declining relevance of the Marxist tradition, in all of its variants, to provide intellectual substance for any future anti-system politics.  The extreme gravity of what humanity now faces – not only global warming but a world of shrinking natural resources and drastic food shortages – means that time for creating a viable strategy is running out.  The problem worsens once the momentous tasks at hand are taken into account:  a revitalized politics, sustainable economic development, popular shifts in both cultural behavior and natural relations.   Sadly, in the world to date we encounter no movements, parties, or governments that even remotely meet this challenge. For at least a century after the deaths of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – that is, the

  • Silence as Speech: Reading Sor Juana’s Primero Sueño in the Light of her Final Silence

    Sor Juana’s silence is difficult to “read,” but it is easy to hear. What can it show us about the way the absence of speech can itself be a mode of participation in public discourse?

  • Buddha’s Political Philosophy

    By: Stefan Schindler Do not build fifty palaces, your highness. After all, you can only be in one room at a time. Nagarjunaa second century CE Buddhist sage, to an Indian king Nagarjuna’s suggestion – combining wisdom and wit – exhibits the essence of Buddha’s political philosophy: simplicity, humility, compassion. To open a vista onto Buddha’s vision of a just society, this essay takes a brief look at Siddhartha Gautama’s life story; sketches the Buddhist worldview; traces the evolution of Buddhism; and concludes with an outline of Buddha’s political philosophy. Along the way, we’ll draw parallels between Buddhist and Platonic thought, and reference the embrace of Buddhist ideals by peacemakers in the modern and postmodern world.

THEORY

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PRACTICE

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JUSTICE

Collectivism & Consensus in a Post Covid-19 World

By |July 10th, 2020|0 Comments

Death is a great leveler and, a virus that strikes at individuals indiscriminately, a potent reminder of just how precarious life can be and why, much like the pioneers, it might be in humankind’s best interest to re-invest in a philosophy that acknowledges man’s ability to understand the real world around him. Ayn Rand’s maxim that “nature to be commanded, must be obeyed” seems particularly appropriate (9). The question is, do we have the courage and the humility to subject ourselves to the laws of nature and identity?

Long Walk to Freedom: Xenophobia Continues Against African Migrants in Johannesburg, South Africa

By |October 4th, 2019|0 Comments

South Africans need to have a national dialogue about what it means to have immigrants in their midst and what part of this falls outside the country’s earlier vision of being a Rainbow Nation. South African cannot continue to preach the gospel of African Renaissance while it practices the talk of xenophobia

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ARTS & LETTERS

Ragnarök in the Norse Myths and the Power of Dystopic Fatalism

By |November 20th, 2020|0 Comments

The Norse myths are singular among mythic narratives for a fascinating reason: the gods lose. They do not just lose a treasure, nor just a battle. They lose everything. Fatalism, the idea that the future has already happened in the sense that it is fixed, feels primitive to the modern mind. Dystopic Fatalism, the belief everything we have known and have experienced will one day be annihilated in a disaster of apocalyptic proportions, seems even more distasteful. And yet, it may be the only thing left with any hope of saving us from ourselves.

Recognition by the Father: Montreal’s Favorite Son Leonard Cohen and an Ancient Story of Homecoming

By |October 31st, 2020|0 Comments

The themes of homecoming and the father-son relationship have received a lot of literary attention recently. Marilynne Robinson just published Jack, the fourth novel in her Gilead series, about the Ames and Boughton families’ complicated stories of homecoming, fatherhood, and sonhood in an American small town beset by racial and religious tension. The tensions between fathers and sons, and the son’s struggle with finding his way back home are timeless and cross-cultural, and trigger some of the deepest issues we have with identity and belonging. Look to any cultural literary tradition, whether of the West, the East, or the Middle East, and you will find tales of fathers, and those sons who attempt to find their way back into their recognition. Songs by the Canadian musician Leonard Cohen, who died four years ago at the age of 82, suggest that he grappled with the father-son relationship, and with the emotional desire for home and homecoming. Cohen might not at first seem to have much in common with an ancient Greek figure, but a comparison yields rich and provocative similarities between Cohen and Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s poem of homecoming, the Odyssey. Odysseus, a fictional warrior with talents, like Cohen, as a language-artist, is better-known for his homecoming as a husband, but he ultimately returns to his broken father as the honored and beloved son. Homer’s and Cohen’s poetry have some surprising parallels on this theme. The fictional character of Homer’s ancient epic and the real-life contemporary poet and musician speak to each other across time and space.

A Visit From The Donald

By |October 31st, 2020|0 Comments

‘Twas Election Day eve and all through the states, / Strange forces were brewing, motivated by hate; / Guards ordered to precincts in order to scare / The minority voters that might show up there. / The children, who were lying dead tired in bed, / Dreamt of zoom calls and masks and had feelings of dread. / My wife in her shirt, and I in my shorts, / Were viewing the news channel’s latest report, / When over the sound waves there came a long beep… / The news was the latest on a new POTUS tweet.

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