Erich Fromm and the Discontents of Materialism

In his book To Have or to Be, Erich Fromm analyzes the profound sense of dissatisfaction that is present in the materialistic societies of the West. He conceptionalizes the problem as two opposite ways of life: one that is centered around having vs. one that is centered around being. Fromm begins his book with an analysis of the ideologicalContinue reading “Erich Fromm and the Discontents of Materialism”

Speaking Truth to Power: The Trial of Socrates

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates Socrates, one of the most famous philosophers, was sentenced to death, essentially for the mischief he caused with his inquisitive mind. He was accused of influencing the youth with his dangerous thoughts, and of undermining the belief in the gods. In the Apologia, Plato recounts theContinue reading “Speaking Truth to Power: The Trial of Socrates”

Knowing God

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, willContinue reading “Knowing God”

Plato’s allegory of the cave

In his work Republic, Plato presents the allegory of the cave, which is one of the best-known philosophical allegories. Plato describes the process of gaining insight and the problems that come with it. Plato describes the unenlightened man as shackled to a wall, deep inside a dark cave. His head is fixed in a certain position, such thatContinue reading “Plato’s allegory of the cave”

David Foster Wallace on Learning How To Think

In the commencement speech This is Water, David Foster Wallace speaks about the goal of education. He reminds the audience that this goal should be developing the ability to think, rather than accumulating factual knowledge. The ability to think, according to Wallace, is the awareness that allows you to consciously decide what you think about and howContinue reading “David Foster Wallace on Learning How To Think”

Opinions

In Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta, the Buddha teaches the meaninglessness of holding on to opinions. This is the key part of the story: I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After anContinue reading “Opinions”

On Narcissism

Donald Trump has sparked interest in the phenomenon of narcissism. The characteristics of narcissism are: grandiosity sense of entitlement lack of integrity lack of empathy manipulation (lying, blackmail, gaslighting) superficial charm impoverished internal world, emptiness Narcissists suffer from an inability to regulate their self-esteem, which leaves them caught between grandiosity and feelings of shameful inadequacy,Continue reading “On Narcissism”

Morgan Scott Peck and the Path of Spiritual Growth

Morgan Scott Peck’s book “The Road Less Traveled” is a popular self-help book. The book is Peck’s attempt to condense the main insights he gained from his work as a psychiatrist into written form. What makes it compelling is that he conveys psychological insight in a language that is accessible to readers who are notContinue reading “Morgan Scott Peck and the Path of Spiritual Growth”

Charlotte Joko Beck and the Truth of Ordinary Experience

Charlotte Joko Beck was one of the best-known American Zen teachers. Her book Everyday Zen is her attempt to convey the gist of her teachings in writing. A large number of books about spirituality and meditation exist, and all of them are plagued by the problem that it is intrinsically difficult to write about something that is,Continue reading “Charlotte Joko Beck and the Truth of Ordinary Experience”