Is evil real?

Is that a dumb question? We can point to all sorts of atrocities, so why would anyone think evil isn’t real? And if evil isn’t real, then is goodness not real? Could only one but not both be real? Whatever, man Relativism—contrary to popular opinion—isn’t the attitude that anything goes. No one believes that. IContinue reading “Is evil real?”

Does goodness really exist?

It’s a question of faith. What is “the good”? We’ve debated this question since ancient times. More to the point, is goodness objective? That is, does goodness go beyond personal opinion? The morass of opinion If goodness is subjective then it’s relative. There would be contradictory notions of goodness, negating the existence of goodness asContinue reading “Does goodness really exist?”

Stoicism & Western Buddhism

The similarity of Buddhism and Stoicism is not a new observation. But Patrick Ussher in Stoicism & Western Buddhism offers a more nuanced perspective. The similarities apply more to Western Buddhism and modern Stoicism than to the ancient versions of either. In both cases, Ussher argues, modern Westerners have revised ancient philosophies to fit currentContinue reading “Stoicism & Western Buddhism”

Why myth matters: a review of Jordan B. Peterson’s Maps of Meaning

Maps of Meaning. That’s psychologist Jordan B. Peterson’s description of myth. His book is by a professor for professors, so it’s a challenging read – very technical and dense. I didn’t make it through the entire book, but enough to get the gist. Part of what Peterson does is connect neurology to “the architecture ofContinue reading “Why myth matters: a review of Jordan B. Peterson’s Maps of Meaning”

Marcus Aurelius and the gods

Stoicism is usually described as pantheistic. But Marcus Aurelius and other Stoics also refer to the gods, which sounds polytheistic. Modern Stoicism is open to non-theistic and theistic perspectives. From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius God & Providence Everything is interwoven in a sacred bond. There is one God in the whole. There is one substance, oneContinue reading “Marcus Aurelius and the gods”

Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full

Stoicism is a major theme in Tom Wolfe’s 1998 novel A Man in Full. But Wolfe portrays Stoicism as a religion rather than a philosophy. Yet, while ancient philosopher Epictetus believed in Zeus, it’s hard to find a Stoic today who worships Greek deities. In Wolfe’s novel, Conrad discovers Stoicism while in prison. An out of work father,Continue reading “Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full”

Is faith essential – even if you don’t believe in the supernatural?

Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind covers an enormous range of topics in 400 plus pages. But one (of many) ideas that got me thinking is his claim that we all believe in things that aren’t objectively real. Money is a cultural myth. Take money. Why do we think a green piece of paperContinue reading “Is faith essential – even if you don’t believe in the supernatural?”

We are a tribal species. But it doesn’t have to be our downfall.

Us vs. them is human nature. Human rights, equality & democracy are the answers. – Us versus them is one of the most common themes in politics, history, sports, business, music – in human nature in general. But people also can be amazingly generous, compassionate, and cooperative. In the 1970s E.O. Wilson proposed sociobiology to explain this contradiction.Continue reading “We are a tribal species. But it doesn’t have to be our downfall.”

When Is It Okay to Criticize Religion?

A person’s religion is a huge part of their identity, so criticism of religion is often taken as a personal attack. Progressives claim it’s racist to criticize Islam, conservatives say liberals unfairly single out Christianity, and atheists criticize every religion (even Buddhism). Some people say we shouldn’t criticize religion. Yet, religious beliefs have an enormous impact onContinue reading “When Is It Okay to Criticize Religion?”

Why Religion Evolved

Everybody’s looking for something.  I think the Eurhythmics sang that.  People look for the love of their lives, devote themselves to religion, become activists for a political ideology, and are spiritual seekers because they’re looking for something. But what is this something?  No one can quite put their finger on it. Some people even thinkContinue reading “Why Religion Evolved”