And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly…

In the continuing saga of my criticism of critical thinking.... An astute reader pointed out that some people give their hearts and trust too easily. That's definitely true, and in fact I suspect one reason I'm so quick to wave the pom-poms for trust and the leap of faith is precisely that I'm a trust-and-leap kind of person. I realize that when I criticize the hypercautious, "every doubt is a reason to say no, every answer is just another more troubling question" approach I'm also offering a … [Read more...]

“Believe” is a transitive verb, and other good points against me

Christian H at The Thinking Grounds makes an attempt to figure out why on earth I'm against critical thinking and what I even mean by saying that. We're pretty clearly talking past each other to some extent, but he does give me an excuse to extend, qualify, and generally shake the kaleidoscope of my AmCon post to see how it rearranges itself. Here are some scattered shards.I. Where I'm coming from: I wrote the post because I have talked with so many people who perceive themselves to be … [Read more...]

“You’re Not the Horrible Man I Married Anymore!”: me on Nick Hornby’s How to Be Good

In the first installment of this series on great novels about marriage we looked at a thousand-plus-page epic novel about life and death in medieval Norway: early death, mutilation, miserable weddings, war, prowling wolves, even the Black Plague itself. So you might be relieved by the book I’ve chosen this time. Nick Hornby’s 2001 How to Be Good has a bright yellow cover, a modern British setting, and a manageable three-hundred pages. This first impression is misleading. How to Be Good is a bru … [Read more...]

The Twelve Steps and/as/vs. Religion

There is no way I will regret writing this post!Anyway, Helen Rittelmeyer has a provocative piece called "The Language of Addiction Takes Over," which makes a bunch of great points despite an underlying framework I think may be wrong. Some of the great points: "The religious novel is in eclipse, but the recovery memoir has never been more popular. Recovering addicts show up in high-brow shows like Enlightened, middle-brow shows like The West Wing, and low-brow shows like Prison Break, almost … [Read more...]

#lifehacks (this one is recycled from Twitter)

Express a religious longing as mental illness, then as identity politics. … [Read more...]

#lifehacks

Undermine an authority, slowly ease away from the traditions it backstopped, lament the breakdown of community. … [Read more...]

“Some Prefer Nettles”: Drifting Toward Divorce

Some Prefer Nettles is a slim 1928 novel by Junichiro Tanizaki about the opening of Japan to the West; and, also, about a couple who can't quite seem to pull themselves together enough to divorce. They have a strange existential lassitude about it, even as everyone around them urges them to make some kind of resolution.Should they divorce? They're not happy but then again their unhappiness is just normal unhappiness, as Kaname's father-in-law finally points out to him. They have a son who is … [Read more...]


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