psychology

"The Divine Gift"  —  Westworld as an Allegory on Consciousness

"The Divine Gift"  —  Westworld as an Allegory on Consciousness

In Westworld (S01E10, “The Bicameral Mind”), Dr. Robert Ford explains to Dolores, one of the hosts (or artificial human occupants of the American Frontier-themed park) a secret in Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam: “You were right, Dolores, Michelangelo did tell a lie. See, it took 500 years for someone to notice something hidden in plain sight,” Ford says, tracing his finger around God, reaching out to Adam, and the silhouette surrounding him. “It was a doctor who noticed the shape of the human brain. The message being that: the divine gift does not come from a higher power, but from our own minds.”

"God Is Existence" — Thomas Keating, Thomas Metzinger, and the Contemplative Life

"God Is Existence" — Thomas Keating, Thomas Metzinger, and the Contemplative Life

I've been really enjoying the late Thomas Keating's The Human Condition, in which he describes psychological development through contemplation and meditation. Keating's work actually reminds me a great deal of modern leaps in neuroscience, especially as outlined by philosopher Thomas Metzinger in The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self. In this post, I compare Keating and Metzinger’s work in leading a contemplative life.

A Necessary Nihilism — Facing the Elephant in the Room with Ray Brassier

A Necessary Nihilism — Facing the Elephant in the Room with Ray Brassier

Ray Brassier may be the rightful heir to Friedrich Nietzsche's wrestle with nihilism, in no small part because I think Brassier possesses a far more articulate and considered version of nihilism than most.

The Rejected Sublime — Reading Terry Eagleton’s Radical Sacrifice

The Rejected Sublime — Reading Terry Eagleton’s Radical Sacrifice

Were I to review Terry Eagleton’s Radical Sacrifice, I would recommend it unequivocally. Though Eagleton and I may not see eye to eye in all things (and I would have it no other way; how else would I learn?), this latest addition to his bibliography is well worth the time of any reader interested in revolutionary politics, ideology, or even the Christian narrative itself. Rather than evaluate the merits of Eagleton’s work, I’ve instead experienced it for myself; and in lieu of a review, I have instead opted to share a stream of insights I gained from reading Radical Sacrifice.

The (Un)willing Zeus — Heraclitus, Hermeneutics, and Religious Expression

The (Un)willing Zeus — Heraclitus, Hermeneutics, and Religious Expression

I’ve recently found myself fascinated with the surviving fragments of Heraclitus and his philosophy, especially what he has to say about what we may call religious expression. What follows is a brief exploration of his ideas and an application to religion generally, especially my own native Mormonism.

Shanzhai — Against the Fetish of Originality

Shanzhai — Against the Fetish of Originality

Back in January I read Byung-Chul Han’s Shanzhai: Deconstruction in Chinese (MIT Press, 2017), a deceptively-thin book which I finished in a couple sittings, but which has captivated my attention ever since I finished it. An essay on “decreation,” Shanzhai explores the history of Chinese thought viz. originality and reproduction, while also critiquing Western notions of originality.

Out of Your Mind — Reading Freud's Moses and Monotheism

Out of Your Mind — Reading Freud's Moses and Monotheism

I recently happened on an old book I’d encountered before: Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism. The first time around, I didn’t know what to make of it; now, after some reflection, I think Freud was a poor historian, and likely a poor therapist (at least as psychoanalysis’ “version 1.0”), but I think he had moments of intrigue—Moses and Monotheism, I’d now say, was one of them.