Back to the Cave Again

In the Republic, Plato gives us his “allegory of the cave”. Prisoners who are chained to their spots underground see only images flickering on the wall. They have no other reality. They are shown shadows of puppets without dimensions, without substance. Our poor little creatures know nothing else of life.…

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Rediscovering a Zest for Life

This year, I set out to do at least one “microadventure” each month.  Something to break up the usual routine. Something that introduces a level of discomfort or risk and helps me see the world differently. It does not have to be big or grand, dangerous or far from home.…

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Seeking to Make Things Difficult

With every advance, every step forward, we also walk from something.  Technological innovations really have brought us so much that makes our lives measurably better in so many ways. But unless we remain vigilant and active, we also lose something; something essential about being human. When faced the earlier inconveniences…

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Beyond the Horizon

I don’t know the purpose of the sunrise. As I lie on the beach looking out over the water, I can’t say anything about indubitable truths or universal structures of knowledge. I only know to look for the foundations of meaning in the lived experience of the world. The sun…

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Enlightenment and Connection

Many of you know I host various philosophy and well-being discussions groups each month throughout the Raleigh-Durham area.  You can find us here. At our lunch meeting last week, we had a wide-ranging and robust discussion on enlightenment, presence, and the relationship between sacred experience and the connections between people.…

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Waking Up Our Souls

Early in the novel Zorba the Greek, the narrator is approached by a “loose nit” stranger with an “eager gaze, his eyes, ironical and full of fire.” Within seconds of their meeting, Zorba asks the narrator to take him with him on his journey. When the narrator asks “Why”, Zorba…

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Mercy

Are there virtues that we forget? Personally or as a culture? Ones that simply fade like the faces on ancient Roman coins? For Aurelius, Clementia – mildness, gentleness, mercy – was one of the noble virtues. A nine-year-old girl travels all night by train with one suitcase and an orange.…

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Be Ordinary

In his poem “Born Yesterday”, Phillip Larkin looks at a new born baby and wishes, not that she is beautiful or smart or talented, but that she is ordinary. There is great value in our just being. There is something essential about remaining attentive to those around us, whatever the…

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Presence and Immediacy

It all started with an encounter. After a morning of ‘religious enthusiasm’, Martin Buber was visited by a young man. Buber was friendly and attentive, but says he was not there fully in spirit. Later, the philosopher and theologian discovered that the young man had been wrestling with something. He…

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Astonishment

Abraham Joshua Heschel said that our goal should be to live lives in radical amazement. ….to get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. What everyday things still give you a feeling of beautiful astonishment? Please share with your friends!

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