I just wanted to share this with you. Grab a scotch, as Harrison does, and listen to poetry, myth, philosophy and other beautiful things.
Care (good work) seems to be innately human (though, in some sense, I would argue that animals share this). If there is to be any meaningful fulfillment, it has to be done through care. Put at its worst, there is no joy without hard, often painful, work.
I wonder. What of those moments where work itself seems to be meaningless and where there seems to be nothing worth doing? All is Vanity. Where would this fit in to this essay?
In a recent conversation I referenced a passage from Robert Pogue Harrison’s Dominion of the Dead, one of the most insightful books I have ever read. The passage contrasts Stoic and Christian ethics, claiming that Stoic ethics roots itself in a dispassionate alignment with the impassive logic of the earth, while Christian ethics roots itself in a celebration of the promises and delights that that the earth offers to us. Continue reading Robert Pogue Harrison on Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Christianity
Some of the most intriguing and unsettling conversations I have reside in some of the books I read. These texts keep coming back to me time and time again, their images cemented into present contexts, drawing me into new and different ways of engaging in current conversations. I think this speaks to a kind of wisdom spun through these books.
I am in a second-year undergraduate level course on the wisdom literature in Christian traditions and we are focusing, mostly, on the books of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes. Using some of the lectures and course material, and dependent on the past 5+ years of theological and philosophical undergraduate learnings at a Mennonite university, I’ve written a brief something as to how wisdom can be made sense of: wisdom can be made sense of as the way creatures adhere to and live into their limitations. Learning what these limitations are and how they press themselves o/into our being depends on, at least, two not-mutually-exclusive spaces outside the creature’s self: 1) an imposed terror of something or someone far greater in Being than the creature herself; and 2) a curiosity that pulls the creature into a constant state of inquiry. One way that a creature can lean into this curiosity is by trying to ask “where am I coming from?” and seeking out the limitations that this questions runs up against.
Here is a list of the ten books I have read in the last five years that most appropriately seek out this question “where am I coming from?” After each book’s title I briefly describe how that text asks this question. The list ascends in the order of which books are closer to the asking of this question. So, the last book listed is the one which I think most appropriately seeks to ask this question “where am I coming from?”
Continue reading Some Wise Books: A List where the order matters