Existential Alphabet

Wrote this several years ago and was reminded of it today: 

Existential Alphabet

A is for Angst, that Dizzying Freedom
B is for Being, its Possibility and its Tedium
C is for the Character of Conscience as Call
D is for Dasein, almost Any Existence at All
E is for Existential, it’s What We Are 
And E is also for Experience –in the World, not as Brains Stuck in Jars 
F is for Flungness and Throwness, experienced by the Knower
And G is for God who just might be the Thrower 
H is for the Actual Historicity of Truth 
And I is for the Immanentizing Ideologies of Untruth
J is for Judgments, we make these by Thinking 
K is for Kenosis, when our own Will starts Shrinking
L is for Logos, we’re talking the Divine Ground 
And M is for Mystery, since it’s not just Lying Around
N is for Nihilism and No Objective Morality 
O is for Ontology and Openness to Reality 
P is for Problematizing, my least favourite Verb 
And Q is for Questioning, which is much less Absurd 
R is for Relationship to the Other Man
And R is also for Recognition that should be Reciprocal, if it can
S is for the Separateness in the Human Condition of Plurality
And T is for Transcendence Beyond Worldly Temporality 
U is for Utopia and All such Prideful Conceits 
V is for this Will replacing Vision Not even being Discreet
W is for World, with a Structure quite Complex 
X is for Xenophon, ’cause his Name starts with ‘X’
Y is for ‘Youth’ and ‘Old Age’, Historical Metaphors that have Misled
And Z is for Zoomorphism, ’cause that starts with ‘Zed’
 
Now I think I know my existential alphabet… Next time will this be a waste of time, in retrospect? 

Monks brewing beer & insight

I’ve had the great joy of spending two weeks in 2016 and then again in 2018 in Norcia, Italy participating in programs of the Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies – an organization dedicated to the promotion of sacred theology undertaken according to the mind and method of the great scholastics. Continue reading “Monks brewing beer & insight”

How telling people what you do for a living affects your personality

The newly republished book by Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Art of Living, includes two beautiful essays by his widow, Alice, on the topics of communion and hope.

The chapter on communion is marvellous and incisive. She begins by discussing the various crises of communion in our contemporary society. There are different types of solitude. Sometimes being alone can be a source of anxiety and other times it can be a relief. The peculiar and unsettling loneliness is that of being alone in a crowd, which Hannah Arendt discussed as the social realm (neither the public nor the private sphere but some collapsed in-between) and which Sherry Turkle discusses in the context of technology in her book Alone Together.
Continue reading “How telling people what you do for a living affects your personality”

Jordan Peterson: Choose friends who “punish you carefully”

The third rule from Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is: Make friends with people who want the best for you.

It is a rather somber chapter during which he takes the reader to his small hometown of Fairview in northern Alberta where, he says, “it was no easy matter to stay innocently amused.” After acquainting his readers with what it’s like to live in a freezing climate with which most Canadians are already thoroughly familiar, he proceeds to recount anecdotes of friends he made in the ‘teenage wasteland’ where the two key activities included driving endlessly and partying nihilistically.  Continue reading “Jordan Peterson: Choose friends who “punish you carefully””