Image via Wikimedia Commons
Is it possible to fully separate a word’s sound from its meaning—to value words solely for their music? Some poets come close: Wallace Stevens, Sylvia Plath, John Ashbery. Rare phonetic metaphysicians. Surely we all do this when we hear words in a language we do not know.
Image by J. F. Horrabin, via Wikimedia Commons
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell
Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones in Orlando this morning.
I’ve been thinking lately about how and why utopian fiction shades into dystopian. Though we sometimes imagine the two modes as inversions of each other, perhaps they lie instead on a continuum, one along which all societies slide, from functional to dysfunctional.[...]
Despite the small, narrative doodle posted to her Tumblr a couple of weeks back, inspirational teacher and cartoonist Lynda Barry clearly has no shortage of strategies for viewing art in a meaningful way.
She takes a Socratic approach with students and readers eager to forge a deeper personal connection to images.
John Holbo, a philosophy prof at the National University of Singapore, recently gave the world a free illustrated edition of three dialogues by Plato (get it as a free PDF, or via Amazon). Now he’s embarking on a new creative project called On Beyond Zarathustra.[...]
We live in an age of truthiness. Comedian Stephen Colbert coined the word to describe the Bush administration’s tendency to fudge the facts in its favor.[...]
Creative Commons photo by Lionel Allorge
If you’re a fan of science fiction or the films of David Lynch, you’ve surely seen the 1984 film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s cult classic sci-fi novel, Dune (though Lynch himself may prefer that you didn’t).
Whether we choose to affiliate with any sort of atheist movement or not, many people raised in theistic religions came over time to see God as a literary character in ancient mythologies and historical fictions, as a placeholder for human ignorance, or as a personification of humanity’s greatest fears and desires.[...]
Last year, we witnessed a very tense, unpleasant showdown between Germany and Greece as the topmost nation in the European Union drove its most indebted country to make painful, perhaps punishing compromises.[...]
It’s been part of Slavoj Žižek’s schtick for years. He’s mentioned it in talks about Donald Rumsfeld and America’s misadventures in Iraq. In lectures about architecture in Spain. In English-language talks. And other languages too.[...]