On this, my 38th birthday, I reflect briefly on the nature of tragedy through a consideration of Schopenhauer’s pessimism and its compatibility with Christianity.
Our ethical commitments, aesthetic ambitions, and devotion to civil ideals lose their logical force and allure when subjected to the constraints of materialism, and if Secular Humanists wish to live authentically and with intellectual integrity they must recognize the limitations their uncompromising view imposes upon our activity.
Four poems about loss and one about writing.
Amidst the merriment of holiday celebrations, we may find ourselves reflecting on the absence of romantic partners who no longer participate in our lives. The intimacy of family gatherings and the fellowship of seasonal festivities throw into painful relief the ghostly contours of those who once toiled alongside us in the victories and disappointments of … Continue reading Solitude
There are few disappointments more troubling than encountering situations that demand more of us than we can give. Whether in the execution of our professional obligations or in the pursuit of some personal aspiration, when our abilities fail us we feel dejected and inadequate.
June 20th marks six months since I underwent a craniotomy to remove an egg-sized benign meningioma from the left side of my brain. The elapsed time has brought about improvement of some of my bothersome symptoms and the onset of others. Despite new disruptions and setbacks, a pattern of life has gradually emerged. I am … Continue reading Six Months
Last week provided occasions for both relief and renewed anxiety. With surgery now almost a month behind me, I am beginning to absorb the long-term repercussions of the procedure. My surgery followed so quickly after my diagnosis that it left me little time to process what was happening. Now, with a better appreciation of the … Continue reading Celebrations and frustrations
I am now two weeks out of surgery. The path to recovery has been difficult. Due to my position throughout the seven-hour procedure, my left arm was deprived of circulation and my hand is now partially numb. The doctors expect it to regain function, but it may take months for the nerves to heal. In … Continue reading Recovery
It’s been a long day of pre-operative testing, but I’ve been cleared for surgery tomorrow morning. I survived the claustrophobia of my first MRI by reciting poetry throughout the thirty-minute procedure. Echocardiogram and bloodwork all came back normal. I’m ready. All that’s left to say is I love you all. Family, co-workers and friends, thank … Continue reading Ready
Asclepius was the Greek god of curing illnesses, and scholars generally interpret Socrates as meaning that death was a kind of healing from the trials of life for which he owed Asclepius a debt. This interpretation perfectly accords with the rest of the dialogue in which Socrates argues for the immortality of the soul and the advantages of entering the afterlife.