While jogging at sundown one day in April 2003, I had a very moving experience, one that may indeed have bridged my conception of the spiritual and the worldly. My wandering mind juxtaposed my impression of American Indian culture, spirituality, worldview, and morality with the current state of affairs and mentality in European-American culture. I experienced a combination of seemingly coincidental events that struck me as conveying great meaning: that we may come to face a startling reckoning for our legacy and lifestyle.Read More
November 13th, 2022
September 30th, 2022
I wish to ask a question about whether we Americans are virtuous—or, alternatively, vice-ridden, lazy, selfish, evil, immoral, and culpable. The curiosity was brought about by my watching a Firing Line with Margaret Hoover last night. In light of the interview Hoover conducted with Sara Botstein and Ken Burns, the co-directors of the recently-completed documentary film America and the Holocaust, I really do wonder about my country and my fellow citizens…Read More
September 25th, 2022
As Bob Dylan wrote in 1964, the times they are a-changin‘! That might be an understatement when applied to today, in fact. The changes are coming in very rapid succession nowadays, and much of it ain’t good, as Dylan might have put it…
It’s not just a right-of-center phenomenon, since I too think that more progressively-minded people are right to lament ways in which society has changed since Reaganism was first ascendent (these individuals are relatively much more focused on the ways in which society is being prevented from changing by those at the top—more than any kind of moral degradation that has to do with the country failing to uphold its proper Christian values and virtue on the whole).
May 23rd, 2022
Values is a neutral term; one could value relaxation, competition, humor, sexual conquest, helping others, or swindling them successfully (subterfuge and personal gain). It means what it sounds like it means – a value is something which a person holds in high regard, pursues, and even loves. Values tend to include hallmark ones such as truth, justice, humility, goodness, and kindness. In this blog, I explore the idea of moral values, asking what the term means, which values probably qualify as moral values, and how one implements them in one’s life.Read More
April 29th, 2022
Can wisdom be understood, developed, and improved?
Does wisdom really underlie success, fulfillment, and happiness?
What are the characteristics and skills of wise individuals?
Can one be happier and more fulfilled by “loving wisdom”?
Should books about wisdom ideally be secular, or religious in nature?
What do I need to know to successfully put wisdom to use in my everyday life?
Four-time author and philosophical thinker Jason Merchey answers these and many other important questions in his 2022 book, WisdomRead More
April 23rd, 2022
For this piece, I looked back on one of the most significant, horrific, appalling cases of child molestation and cover-up by the Catholic Church. Grand jurors in Pennsylvania found that over seven decades 300 priests molested over 1,000 children. This is just beyond the pale. This is not a blog about the ineptitude or depravity of the Church of Rome, though. It is about making moral decisions, dealing with moral dilemmas, and acting morally when one faces a choice in the moral realm. In a word, What is the right thing to do?Read More
March 20th, 2022
I was reading a book entitled Masterpieces of World Philosophy – 683 pages of serious cogitation for sure! The chapter about the Apology (the trial of Socrates, as recorded by his loyal student Plato) was quite enlightening. Socrates is envisioned as one of the world’s first and foremost prophets (yes, literally, a prophet). I found it both enlightening and edifying. I was moved to stop and write about a lifestyle called a life of philosophy. This blog describes what I think it means.Read More
March 7th, 2022
Ted Kaczynski, as you probably know, was “the Unabomber.” His proficiency with creating bombs delivered through the mail was gruesome; many died from shrapnel and concussion opening a bomb, and they were absolutely innocent of any reasonable charge. His mentality was like something you would see in a high-ranking member of the Nazi party. He was extremely intelligent but had the morality of a sociopath. Quite a dangerous creature he was. Here is the story of his brother, David, who faced a moral dilemma about whether or not to turn his brother, the murderer, in. The topic of moral dilemmas is a most interesting and evocative one, so strap in.Read More
March 6th, 2021
Empathy is the degree to which a person can place oneself in another’s shoes. Anyone can feel pain when someone steps on their toe, but what if you see someone else wincing in pain, grasping their own toe? The question is related to what you experience when you determine, perceptually, that someone else is suffering in some way. Empathy is a key driver of moral goodness, I believe. Another way to describe this phenomenon is, acting right is about empathizing with the other. What follows is my rationale.Read More
July 24th, 2020
Sometimes two family members, or friends, or members of the same social group can kind of “steer clear” of each other’s hot spots. Maybe agreeing to disagree works, or simply avoiding the topics in question (Thanksgiving dinner comes to mind!). However, certain issues are just too ineluctable to make peace with. This is why it has been said that “one shouldn’t talk religion or politics in polite company.” In this blog, I reflect on a couple instances when this was the case for me. Morality is hard to compromise about, and when you have two diametrically-opposed opinions about fundamental moral issues, it can be too difficult to successfully square the circle, as it were.Read More