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5 03, 2021

Can We Exit This Road to Ruin?

By |2021-03-05T18:56:27+00:00March 5th, 2021|Featured, Practice|0 Comments

Catabolic capitalism isn't your grandparents' capitalism. Back then, industrial capitalism profited primarily from growth, fueled by abundant fossil energy. But the centuries of cheap energy and an ever-expanding economic pie are over; and so are the rising living standards they generated. Even the recent decades of stagnation, debt-driven bubbles, and government bailouts are reaching their limit. Capitalism's future is becoming catabolic.

2 02, 2021

The Ethics of Belief: It’s not just Trump supporters who believe wrongly—it’s all of us

By |2021-02-02T18:14:42+00:00February 2nd, 2021|Featured, Practice, Theory|0 Comments

Many of people’s most cherished beliefs—on important matters such as religion, health, science, ethics, justice, and more—are not based on strong evidence.

20 11, 2020

Ragnarök in the Norse Myths and the Power of Dystopic Fatalism

By |2020-11-21T17:33:41+00:00November 20th, 2020|Arts & Letters, Featured|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.

31 10, 2020

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

By |2020-11-20T18:38:32+00:00October 31st, 2020|Arts & Letters, Featured, Theory|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.

4 05, 2016

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

By |2020-04-17T15:03:09+00:00May 4th, 2016|Arts & Letters, Featured, Theory|8 Comments

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?