Jean Paul Sartre: “Vertigo” and Freedom

One of the most famous sections in Sartre’s Being and Nothingness is his commentary over the moment of vertigo—dramatized with a person on the edge of cliffside looking down to his death below or his freedom above.  One of the easiest, and shortest, sections of his work, the “moment of vertigo” is really the realization of the … Continue reading Jean Paul Sartre: “Vertigo” and Freedom

Jean Paul Sartre: What is “Bad Faith?”

The one theme from Sartre’s magnum opus, Being and Nothingness, that stuck was his commentary on “Bad Faith.”  Ignorant atheists who have never read Sartre have employed Sartrean language to refer to religious faith as the bad faith that Sartre is discussing even though it is not.  Furthermore, the concept of bad faith is included in Sartre’s many … Continue reading Jean Paul Sartre: What is “Bad Faith?”

Jean Paul Sartre: Being and Nothingness

Jean Paul Sartre was among the most famous of the modern existentialists and phenomenologists, perhaps second only to Martin Heidegger.  Sartre’s great text of fame was his “essay on ontology,” Being and Nothingness.  In typical French fashion, the text is weighty, dense, and draws heavily from the history of philosophy, especially Christianity, Bacon, Descartes, Hegel, Husserl, … Continue reading Jean Paul Sartre: Being and Nothingness

Theodor Adorno and Our Enslavement to Commodity Fetishism

Theodor Adorno is probably the most important 20th century Marxist philosopher, sociologist, and social critic.  The fundamental crux of Adorno is his critique of the Enlightenment and mass culture—typified by places like Hollywood—as a form of self-enslavement and bourgeois imperialism.  But instead of the superstructure directly engaging in clamping its controls over people, Adorno argued that … Continue reading Theodor Adorno and Our Enslavement to Commodity Fetishism

Love, Sex, Sacrifice, and Salvation: A Critical Analysis of Sci-Fi Filmography

The Enlightenment mythology usually goes something like this: Humans had been wallowing in darkness and superstition for a long time, then, sometime in the seventeenth century, a few heroic philosophers and proto-scientists broke the chains of religion and freed humanity from the darkness and superstition that had ensnared them since Neolithic times and the more … Continue reading Love, Sex, Sacrifice, and Salvation: A Critical Analysis of Sci-Fi Filmography

Literary Tales Ep. 10: Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra”

In this lecture of literary tales we explore Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, principally in Shakespeare's dialectic of the coldness of politics (embodied by Ocatvian/Augustus Caesar) and the rapturous ecstasy of love (embodied by our titular tragic protagonists Antony and Cleopatra). This lecture explores the theme of love and politics (covered in this lecture) in fuller … Continue reading Literary Tales Ep. 10: Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra”

Literary Tales Ep. 9: Shakespeare on Love & War

In this half hour lecture of Literary Tales, we explore William Shakespeare's thematic dialectical contrast of love and war, primarily through his plays Henry V and Richard III. Continuing, somewhat, from our exploration of Shakespeare's contrast of love and politics, we return to the theme of power (politics) vs. love (self-giving, life-giving, and flesh uniting). … Continue reading Literary Tales Ep. 9: Shakespeare on Love & War

Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

There are two great stories concerning Hegel and Napoleon. The first, undeniably fantastical and romantic, is that Hegel was finishing up his draft manuscript of the Phenomenology of Spirit as the Battle of Jena roared behind him as he escaped the hellfire of the morning; the second, true, relates to Hegel’s encounter with Napoleon which … Continue reading Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

Love, Forgiveness, and “The Iliad”

“For all the battle scenes, violent sex, and rage that fills [The Iliad], the most memorable scenes in the poem are moments of love—especially loving moments of embrace.” Befitting Holy Week, here is an essay of mine concerning the themes of love and forgiveness in the very source of Western literature: The Iliad. Deconstructing Homer's … Continue reading Love, Forgiveness, and “The Iliad”

Dialectic and the Wisdom of Listening: Reflections on the Book of Job

“You’re not listening.”  This simple phrase is one of the most cliché, but poignantly true, sentences concerning human existence.  Just a Kohelet stated that there is time for everything under the sun, it is important, then, to know when the time is to speak and when the time is to listen.  This is especially true … Continue reading Dialectic and the Wisdom of Listening: Reflections on the Book of Job