The monster represents the return of a devitalized creator, where the loss of vitality represents a failure of creativity—driven by an inability to tolerate the imperfection of the creative process. The solution involves reconciling the fact of being a creature with that of being a creator.
Perfect childhoods are deadly traps, but neglecting one’s family—in favor of one’s creative ambitions—is no escape.
In a previous article, we finished our exploration of Michael Allen Gillespie’s Theological Origins of Modernity. One of the things I tried to show, on the basis of Gillespie’s argument, was that modern intellectual history can be mapped, more or less exhaustively, according to a three-part diagram, where the axes are defined by the place where explanation stops. The medieval Continue Reading …
Creative commitment and perfectionism do not mix: There is nothing like a perfect childhood to produce the perfect monster.
In their “workshop of filthy creation”—in which their endeavors are monstrously incomplete—how do artists remain committed?
In a competition with already-famous poets, one of whom was her future husband, an 18-year-old Mary Shelley was asked to create a ghost story. Instead, she created a story of the perils of creative ambition, and the possibility that it might lead to a ghosting of the self.
On Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963).
Are we still morally culpable if our entire society is corrupt? Arendt definitely thinks so, but has a number of criticisms of the handling of the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. The Israelis were committed to the view that Eichmann was a monster, when the reality, says Arendt, is more frightening.
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Mike fronts a hard-working Madison power trio in the glam rock vein that’s put out 7 albums and 7 EPs since 2000. He also runs (and records a new song every week for) a podcast about the occult.
We discuss “Sulfur” from The Wilderness of Almost Was and Never Were (2017), “Saturday Night Gospel” from Dangerous Times (2014), and “Prozac Girl” from Loser of the Year (2003). We conclude by listening to “We Are the Darkness” from The Slingshot Effect (2011). Opening music: “Stardust (Acoustic)” from Arthuriana (2013). More: sunspotuniverse.com and othersidepodcast.com.
One thing that quickly becomes apparent in discussions about science and religion is that there are a lot of stories out there. Some of them are quite good. Too good, even. Consider, for instance, Myth #8 in Galileo Goes to Jail, an essay anthology edited by historian of science Ronald L. Numbers. According to this myth, Galileo was imprisoned in Continue Reading …
Concluding on William James’s Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892). We briefly cover emotions and spend the bulk of our time on will. James’s introspective method allows us to distinguish reflex or coerced actions from voluntary, free-seeming ones, and gives us the vocabulary to attribute moral virtue to those who have enough willpower to keep those inconvenient truths in mind (if you eat this, you’ll get fat!) that allow us to successfully resist temptation.
End song: “Join the Zoo/Live Again” by Craig Wedren; listen to him on Nakedly Examined Music #15.
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Part of the way the prestige of science has been established in our own time is through the rhetoric of favorable contrasts. In previous articles, we’ve seen one instance of this contrast in the tripartite division of European history: rational inquiry flourished in the ancient world, withered in the medieval times, and was revived again in the time of the Continue Reading …
On Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), chapters on “The Self,” “Will,” and “Emotions.”
Continuing from ep. 179, we talk about the “Me” (the part of me that I know) vs. the “I” (the part of me that knows), including personal identity. James thinks that emotions are just our experience of our own physiology. Finally, we tackle will, veering into ethics, free will, and more.
To celebrate year #2, previous guests return: Bradley (see #32) talks “Duet” from Take Out the Poison, Jeff (see #5) presents “Still Life with Broken Heart” from Emotional Terrorism, and Steve (see #6) discusses “Wind of Change” from A Tribute to the Bee Gees ’66 to ’78. Finally, hear Tyler Hislop (see #24) about his “Wounds and Nihilism (Feat. Mark Lint).” Opening music: “Dawning on Me” by Mark Lint.
Mark joins the folks at the Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast for a two-part holiday special on everyone’s favorite yuletide character, Friedrich Nietzsche!
Continuing on Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), completing “The Stream of Thought” and covering the chapter on “Habit.”
James thinks that psychologists focus too much on those parts of consciousness that get picked out by substantive words. He describes habit as part of a general natural pattern in which things that happen once tend to create pathways for themselves in surrounding material to allow the same thing to happen again more easily. Be careful what you do, because your organism is recording all of your bad behavior and corrupting your character!
How should human life be valued? Is death something to suffer, or something that provides relief? Jeff, Lise, and Brian discuss those questions and more in examining this short story by Anton Chekhov.
Anthony was the original guitarist and a key songwriter in Genesis from ’67–’70, released some prog rock albums in the ’70s, then shifted largely to a mix of acoustic guitar pieces and synth soundscapes, often for soundtracks.
We discuss “Nocturne” from Seventh Heaven (2012, with Andrew Skeet), “From the Jaws of Death – Touching the Face of God” from Wildlife (recorded 1999) and “Magdalen” from Sides (1979). We then listen to “Sanctuary” from Private Parts & Pieces VIII: New England (1992). Opening music: “F# Demo (The Musical Box, Instrumental)” from 1970. End music: “Mystery Train III” from Private Parts & Pieces XI: City of Dreams (2012). For more information, see anthonyphillips.co.uk.
We come to the end of our series within a series, on Michael Allen Gillespie’s Theological Origins of Modernity. We’ve spent a lot of time on this text because it’s such good, rich material, and because it’s a fairly recent book with a genuinely novel perspective. For my part, I’m persuaded that nominalism goes a long way toward explaining the Continue Reading …
On The Principles of Psychology (1890) chapters 1 & 7, and Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), the chapters on “The Stream of Thought,” “Habit,” and some of “The Self.”
Can we talk about the mind in a way that is both scientific and also does justice to our everyday experiences? James thought his method, which involved both introspection and physiology, yielded more accurate descriptions of the mind than associationism (the mind is made up of ideas) or spiritualism (the mind is a faculty of the soul). Consciousness is a stream, not a concatenation of ideas!
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“Each person, whether saint, solider, or philosopher, follows some irresistible call of his nature.” –Petrarch