OK. Let’s start with basics: What is right? A few centuries ago, the above question would have been enough to start the search for an ethical system. Modern philosophy, of course, is much more devious, and backsteps to an even more basic question: Is there such a thing as “right”?View On Morality
In the beginning—as far as we know—there was nothing [Note 1]. And then, roughly 15 billion years ago, the greatest event in the history of the universe happened. This occurrence was so important and so wonderful that humans call its cause God and often ascribe intelligence to it.View Ethics Esthetica
To the Right Highly-Esteemed Misunderstood Undoubtedly-Noble Maharajah of Meaning and Ameer of Angst—
Someday our correspondence will constitute Appendix A of one or both of our Collected Works. (Properly edited, of course.) While it’s always nice to get mail, there’s no adventure quite like reading an S. Williams epistle. Just wanted to let you know that I do appreciate your injections of metaphysical quandary and Socratic examination.
But trying to answer them!View On Nobility
In 1976, I celebrated my 6th birthday while my native country celebrated its 200th. It was many years before I realized that one of us had been somewhat premature. The truth is that in 1776, the United States was only an idea. The legal basis of government—the Constitution—would not go into effect until 1789. It was in that latter year also that the first regular session of Congress met, that George Washington was inaugurated as our first president, and that the Supreme Court was created. Surely, then, the United States should consider 1789 to be its year of birth. Yet there was no bicentennial celebration in 1989.View Constitution 2.0
The framers of the new United States knew exactly what the country should be—or at least not be; the Declaration of Independence is, in fact, a long list of grievances the Colonies had with England. Mixed with a few recent political ideas of the Enlightenment, their vision led to a brilliant experiment in democracy that has forever changed the relationship of a people to its leaders.View On Government
Often throughout my life, I've been told that I «radiate calm» or words to that effect, which is typically a good thing. Given the recent circumstances, though, I think there is a concern I may be taking this conceit too far. More than one person has looked at me as if saying, «Shouldn't you be more distraught?» I know this because one of the first people to think so was me.View The Calm During the Storm
The first installment of a project I've been kicking around for (mumble, mumble). Ok, yes, I said decades.View The Great Secrets
Sadly, Web layout and typography doesn't quite live up to my standards for print. And maybe you prefer to read everything in one place, instead of scattered across multiple pages. So I'll be updating this PDF alongside the Web version of The Great Secrets.View The Great Secrets (PDF)
Over the next few weeks we settle into a simple routine. I bring in books to read—children’s books mostly, which are easy to read aloud and often wiser than their grown-up counterparts. Although Ashoka still can’t summon the details of his forgotten tryst, he stops worrying about it.
—Here you are, I say, handing Ashoka his ticket for the express train. —Your pass to Boston.
—And why are we going to Boston?
—Then what’s the ticket for?
Journeys & Destinations: Labyrinth image based on the design of the St. Lambertus Church labyrinth in Mingolsheim, Germany.
Knowledge & Judgment: James Gordon Bennett Monument silhouette created from a photograph © Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons.View Image Credits