On the role of unavoidable suffering in life, by David Brooks

From the article: “….suffering drags you deeper into yourself. The theologian Paul Tillich wrote that people who endure suffering are taken beneath the routines of life and find they are not who they believed themselves to be. The agony involved in, say, composing a great piece of music or the grief of having lost a loved one smashes through what they thought was the bottom floor of their...

From the NYTimes: Corporate Profits Grow and Wages Slide

Two Important economic details hidden on page B3 of the Saturday NYTimes. Another way the present economy is similar to the Gilded Age and pre-1929. While the American Right may claim that “the government” is too big, the real issue of the day is the return of Laissez-Faire capitalism. 1) CORPORATE profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest...

The War on Free Will: Was Erich Fromm Right?

Since in my teens, I have observed Western thinkers and American as well arguing that free will did not exist and that life had no meaning. What struck me most was not the argument, but the judgment these individuals so often made towards the argument. There was often a sense of glee or elation that towards the claim that there was no meaningful freedom. From the article: “Aristotle’s...

Elizabeth Warren addressing federal banking regulators on effectiveness of enforcement strategies.

Quote from Elizabeth Warren nicely articulating how the Federal Government, the SEC and the FBI are ineffective in regulating the big banks. The simple reason that cannot really be expressed: There is much too much money being made by anti-social banking behavior by a few individuals who also give ill-gotten money to the federal officials in the form of campaign donations. The relationship is a bit like...

Wanting “more” and not knowing why.

This article in the NYTimes offers a question which can help us determine the quality of your living. I’ve bolded the key idea below, and linked the entire article as well: “A lot of people want to be successful in what they do — it’s a perfectly noble aspiration,” he said. “If you live in a society where success is measured mainly in money, that means you want more money.” Dr. Dammann...

Protestant rendition of “Come to the Water”.

It is notoriously difficult to find Catholic music done well in Catholic settings. It is clear that this is a Protestant setting, and when I researched it I found that Capital University is a small college in Ohio founded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1830. I’m somewhat fascinated by the very different feel and sensibility of music in Catholic settings versus Protestant. This rendition of...

From the NYTimes Opinionator: What Determines Happiness?

Excellent opinion piece on happiness in the US. This has been a theme of mine for a long time. How do Americans conceive of happiness? And: Does this help or hinder them in actually being happier. The writer here touches on the centrality of work in the American ideal. I put that paragraph at the bottom of this excerpt: “Empirical evidence that faith, family and friendships increase happiness and...

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