Philosophy

1993 March 8

On Morality

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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”?

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1993 September 8

Ethics Esthetica

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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.

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1993 November 8

On Nobility

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To the Right Highly-Esteemed Misunderstood Undoubtedly-Noble Maharajah of Meaning and Ameer of Angst—

Dear Steamy:

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!

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1994 November 2

Constitution 2.0

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Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States

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.

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1994 November 2

On Government

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The United States capitol

Pictures taken by Raul654 around Washington DC on May 7, 2005.

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.

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2016 July 19

The Calm During the Storm

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International Space Station view of hurricane Ivan and the eye of the storm.

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.

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2017 February 1

Journeys & Destinations

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A circular labyrinth with a single path winding around to the center

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.

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2017 March 8

Image Credits

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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.

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