Taking on Today’s Sophists

Plato At The Googleplex – Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away, by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein There are times when I want a challenging read, and when Goldstein’s book came out, with hot to tepid reviews, I knew I had to read it. Philosophy, you see, has been an interest of mine for quite a while, particularly…

Provoking, Informing, and Magazine Success

The Atlantic, March 2014   In a world in which magazines are closing their doors daily, a few have found the key to success, and The Atlantic seems to have that key firmly in its grasp. What makes its mojo work, then? Simple – find a way to entertain as it informs, and do so…

The Mysteries Lurking in Mind

  Black Dogs, By Ian McEwan   I still find it odd that some (if not most) people will never re-read a book. I’ve just re-read this one because it was my first McEwan and I was so unfamiliar with his odd story structure that the essence of the book didn’t stay with me. But…

Writing’s Other Side

First, let me say that I've been writing almost all my life. I dictated my first story to my mom when I was eight, and I've written (at least) sporadically since.  During my engineering career, I had several opportunities to write, and these had some long-lasting effects. One day my boss called me in, said,…

Harper’s Monthly and Life’s Conundrums

  After reading the March 2011 issue of Harper’s, I had to sit back for a moment and be impressed with the writing Harper’s puts forth. There are polemics here, and subjects I don’t care to delve into, but I almost invariably read on – the language is consistently elegant, ideas put forth in a…

Irrationality and its Pitfalls

Magic and  Mayhem, by Derek Leebaert     In the democratic model of citizen/government relationship, those in governmental power are charged with representing the interests of the people in a reasonable, rational way. Leebaert, in this book-long essay, goes to great lengths to examine the irrationalities that the U.S.’s leaders have foisted on us via…

The Coexistence of Reason and Mystery

Part 1 – The Re-Enchantment of the World – Secular Magic in a Rational Age, Edited by Joshua Landy & Michael Saler     At first blush one wouldn’t use the words “magic” and “secular” in a complementary fashion. But this collection of essays does succeed – at least to some degree – in melding…