10 JAN 2020 • LECTURE
Getting Comfortable with Death

On Friday, 10 January 2020 12:15–1:15 pm, I will be giving the Basic Program First Friday Lecture at the Chicago Cultural Center (Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Washington Streets). My topic will be:

Getting Comfortable with Death;
Or, Better Dying Through Better Thinking

The lecture is free and open to the public.


About the Lecture

More information about the lecture is available at:

Getting Comfortable with Death;
Or, Better Dying Through Better Thinking


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Getting Comfortable with Death; Or, Better Dying Through Better Thinking

LECTURES > UPCOMING

If better thinking can lead to better living and if dying is an inevitable part of living, then it follows that better thinking ought to lead to better dying. And yet the history of Western civilization demonstrates that clear thinking about death is exceedingly difficult. This seems particularly true nowadays due to the rise of a modern form of medicine that has both largely removed death from everyday life and promoted the conceit that death can be — and ought to be — perpetually forestalled (if not conquered outright). This lecture will review some of the key historical Western approaches to human mortality in an effort to consider what lessons those who lived and died in the past may have to offer us who live and will die in the present. Continue reading

The True Value of Money: Retail Investing as a Gateway to Wisdom

LECTURES > PREVIOUS

In a capitalist society, retail investing can play the role that sexual love plays in Plato’s Symposium: the blunt, material force that can lure us onto a path towards subtle, ethereal wisdom. For, analogously to the ”ladder of love”, investors’ initial ”wealth focus” often evolves into a ”wellness focus” (as we re-discover the ancient truth that money is a means and not an end in itself) and then into a ”wisdom focus” (as we re-discover the ancient truth that wisdom is needed in order to live a good life). From this perspective, therefore, lust – be it for sex or for money – turns out to be something of a ”noble lie” that delivers something much better than it promises – and something we probably would not have sought at all if lust had not started us on our journey in the first place.
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2 AUG 2019 • LECTURE
The White Man’s Peril: Heart of Darkness as Conrad’s Reply to Kipling

On Friday, 2 August 2018 12:15–1:15 pm, I will be giving the Basic Program First Friday Lecture at the Chicago Cultural Center (Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Washington Streets). My topic will be:

The White Man’s Peril:
Heart of Darkness as
Conrad’s Reply to Kipling

The lecture is free and open to the public. Continue reading

The White Man’s Peril: Heart of Darkness as Conrad’s Reply to Kipling

LECTURES > PREVIOUS

Today often considered both anti-imperialist and profoundly racist, Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness can be understood as simultaneously affirming and rejecting the “imperial logic” epitomized in Rudyard Kipling’s contemporaneous poem “The White Man’s Burden”. This lecture will attempt to offer a holistic interpretation of Conrad’s novella that makes sense of its apparent internal contradictions by examining Kipling’s “imperial logic” and Conrad’s critique of it — a critique grounded in the profoundly multivalent contention at Heart of Darkness’s unspoken, “horrific” core: that “Whiteness is only skin-deep”. Continue reading

7 SEP 2018 • LECTURE
The Use and Abuse of Gustavus Vassa; Or, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano on Its Own Terms

On Friday, 7 September 2018 12:15–1:15 pm, I will be giving the Basic Program First Friday Lecture at the Chicago Cultural Center (Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Washington Streets). My topic will be:

The Use and Abuse of Gustavus Vassa; Or, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano on Its Own Terms

The lecture is free and open to the public.

 


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The Use and Abuse of Gustavus Vassa; Or, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano on Its Own Terms

LECTURES > PREVIOUS

Published in London in 1789 as part of the effort to abolish the African slave trade, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African; Written by Himself is usually understood as the autobiography of an African who was kidnapped and transported across the infamous Middle Passage into a life of slavery from which he emancipated himself — and thus as one of the works that established the “slave narrative” genre. This talk, however, will argue that the book is something else and more: an evangelical text that employs the author’s life-story as a means of bringing readers to a true understanding of Christianity and, thereby, of the godliness of abolition. As such, the work has little in common with the genre it is supposed to have helped found.
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