Proverbs 12:8-14

INTRODUCTION This section of Proverbs focuses on issues of image, wealth, work, and treatment of employees (vv. 8-12), and ends with two verses that deal again with the use of the tongue (vv. 13-14). The final verses connect this section to the preceding section of this chapter (12:1-7). Thus, the . . . . Continue Reading »

Hamlet in Prufrock

The influence of Hamlet, the play and the character, on modern literature is vast. Consider Hamlet as model for Prufrock: Zulfikar Ghose says the “I am not Hamlet” in Eliot’s Prufrock may be literal or ironic, but then adds: “the more one ponders the language of . . . . Continue Reading »


Herman Melville’s Pierre (1852) was, to put it mildly, not warmly received by critics. One newspaper headlined its review with “HERMAN MELVILLE CRAZY” and another reviewer complained that Melville’s fancy was diseased. Critics are divided over whether it is a grand failure . . . . Continue Reading »


Bauman distinguishes between the “legislative” notion of reason found in Kant and other Enlightenment figures and the “interpretive” rationality that characterizes much postmodern thought. The shift from the former to the latter was not accomplished all at once. . . . . Continue Reading »

Foundations and Tribunals

The architectural model of building a structure of thought on “foundations” is among the metaphors employed by modern thinkers, and in this as in other areas there was a close alliance of philosophy and political action. Bauman notes that this was particularly evident in various utopian . . . . Continue Reading »


Franz Rosenzweig saw that philosophy proceeds only through humility, which means through speech and dialogue rather than abstract thought: “The ‘speaking thinker’ cannot anticipate anything: he must be able to wait because he depends on the word of the other: he requires time . . . . . . Continue Reading »

Shepherding spirit

Thanks to my friend Alex Trochez for stimulating the following line of thought. According to Jordan’s count (confirmed by my own), the phrase “shepherding wind” occurs twice in Ecclesiastes by itself (1:17; 4:6) and 7 times with the word “vapor” (1:14; 2:11, 17, 26; . . . . Continue Reading »

Solomonic epistemology

Solomon pursued knowledge and wisdom, and concluded that the pursuit was no more than vapor and shepherding wind, and besides the more he knew the more pain and grief he suffered (1:17-18). There is so much in this wispy world that we cannot know: Whether the result of our works will be universal . . . . Continue Reading »


John Thackara ‘s In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World , a brief for more human, and more eco-friendly, technology and economy, is full of insights that challenge much of the conventional wisdom about the “information age.” A sampling: We do not live in “the . . . . Continue Reading »