Gratitude as Felt Poverty

MacDonaldsServer

Gratitude responds to gift. Consider our experience of the thing in its most obvious, most burning and urgent form, when we are acutely aware that we have nothing to offer the gift-giver but our thanks. How hard we feel this in the face of love, full of the wonderful, painful knowledge that there is nothing we could do or say to christen us its worthy candidates, no words or gestures to serve as love's equalizing response -- and yet we are loved. So we collapse with a profusion of … [Read more...]

What We’re Doing In Steubenville

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Over the summer, my friend Joseph Antoniello and I on a porch in Steubenville, Ohio discussed -- as only sleep-deprived undergraduate philosophy students can discuss -- the radical nature of action, the terrible possibility of doing something, the near-infinite apathy of our age and our selves, and the Herculean effort it takes to shrug the malaise of just-letting-things-happen in order to act. We were both reading the texts of Karol Wojtyla... ...who argues it is precisely in … [Read more...]

Presence as Absence

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The absence of people we love isn't absence at all. For absence is just that -- nothingness, a lack, the not-being-there of a particular person. If this is what we felt in the gone-awayness of our loved ones, than the phenomenon of missing them would not exist. Would we experience their absence as just that -- absence, nothing at all, experienced as I currently experience the absence of Costa Rica, as simply not there for me. The absence of the loved one isn't absence at all, but the … [Read more...]

The Oh Hello’s

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There's a band I want to assume things of, oversimplify, and generally deliver as something far less than listening to their art would ever do: The Oh Hello's, may they live long enough to change the world and short enough to resist the temptation towards solo projects. But before speaking of them, we will of Walker Percy, that unfailingly dark and usually drunk Catholic novelist who says through his character Binx Bolling, in The Moviegoer, "To become aware of the possibility of the search … [Read more...]

The Auschwitz Conflation

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When I argued that the use of images of aborted people to protest abortion indicates our unintentional relation to these people as things, I received in response an inevitable comparison to the images of Jews who were killed at Auschwitz. I suppose this is worth addressing, given that its the only argument I ever hear in favor of the dead-become-signs, and that on the surface, it seems like a reasonable comparison. Both abortion and concentration camps are moral atrocities that make corpses of … [Read more...]

Unintentional Fetal Depersonalization

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To tell the truth poorly is to make a mockery of it, even if you’re right. - Sam Rocha It is a self-proclaimed aim of the pro-life movement that the world recognize the unborn child as an unique life and a particular personality -- and subsequently not kill him. Simple request, really, this not-killing-people business. Those supporting the conservation of abortion have yet to articulate a successful evasion of our ethical demand, though from what I understand, they're working on it. But … [Read more...]

Repentance as Time Travel

tardis

Part 3 of a series beginning to see the light of day.  Summary of Part 1: If we desire our lives to be meaningful, we must be rid of sin, for sin is that-which-ought-not-be, and no meaning can be riddled with that-which-ought-not-be and remain consistent meaning, as no story can contain absurdities that contradict the entire story while remaining a good story. Summary of Part 2: If our sins were merely concrete moments in an unreachable past, we'd all be screwed. If time was strictly … [Read more...]

The Ethical Necessity of Time Travel

Max Scheler is the doctor.

Part 2 of a series hardly worth talking about.  Sin is not religious. It is a theistic-atheistic, equal-opportunity steel-boot to the groin the entirety of humanity is doubled-over and groaning with. To be a sinner is not simply to have offended some brooding moral order which thereafter holds you in cosmic contempt. To be a sinner is to contain within yourself the reality of having done what you ought not have done. There is hardly a human alive -- no matter how hip -- who can … [Read more...]

How to Die a Damn Good Story

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Part 1 of a terribly depressing series.  I wish to die a damn good story. I want to carve out for myself a meaningful slice of existence. I want to leave, along with a good-looking corpse, a coherent narrative that says something, not a garble of unconnected life-events fading unresolved into nothingness as the blood dries. I'd like to be a story, and this is more than a daydream of me-as-Sherlock, man-as-protagonist. This is suicide prevention. The desire for life to be a good story … [Read more...]

A Possible Anthropological Origin of the Duck-face

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All objectification tends towards murder, all self-objectification to suicide, for the only time a person is only an object is when he is a corpse. Alive and kicking, on the other hand, the person is a synthesis of subjectivity and objectivity. If this vocabulary is unfamiliar, fear not. Your objectivity is simply your outward splay of characteristics, observable-you, and your subjectivity is that unobservable interior life glimpsed through your objectivity, through your physical … [Read more...]