Is Life Absurd? Albert Camus vs. Saint Augustine

Albert Camus, the famed author of philosophical absurdism, was certainly not the first to propose that life is absurd. The author of Ecclesiastes beat him to it by several centuries. “Vanity of vanities, everything under the sun is vanity,” goes the famous repeated line. I remember the shock I felt reading Ecclesiastes for the first…

Tocqueville on Why Americans Are Agitated and Depressed While Living in Great Abundance

Why are Americans agitated and depressed while living in great abundance? I don’t think the premise of this question needs qualifying, but for the sake of argument consider this piece from the Commonwealth Fund. It contains several disturbing statistical charts comparing American mental illness and substance abuse with several other high-income countries. America consistently tops…

Carl Jung on Non-Binary and Transgenderism

Any fan of Carl Jung would be fascinated to hear his take on the current movements of transgenderism, gender fluid, genderqueer, non-binary, etc. But does he give one? Surely the godfather of psychological archetypes has something on the subject in his massive collected works. The answer is a disappointing “no,” and for obvious reasons: (a)…

If Socrates Could See Us Now: on technology without moderation

Xenophon says of Socrates that he “was not eager to make his companions orators and businessmen and inventors, but thought that they should first possess moderation. For he believed that without moderation those abilities only enabled a person to become more unjust and to work more evil.” This is why we speak of modern knowledge…

Athens and Jerusalem: the role of philosophy in faith, with analysis by St. Gregory Palamas

For me the role of philosophy in Christian faith has always been something like Anselm’s famous motto: “faith seeking understanding.” When applied to the faith, Philosophy is just faith seeking understanding, useful for synthesizing with reason those things initially accepted by faith. Philosophy offers the chance to know those things which the faith preaches. Didn’t…

Why the Jews?: Nietzsche on the Jewish persecution

Why have the Jews suffered so much persecution throughout history? This is a typical question that comes up after one realizes just how constant the persecution of Jew has been, and history offers no shortage of scholars to answer it. Admittedly I am no such scholar. At best I am a cursory observer of the…