Category Archives: Essay

Orgasm, Pleasure, & Western Culture (an excerpt)

the right reason to refrain from talking about sex is not that it’s so crude, but that words are In The Function of the Orgasm, the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich wrote that the natural energies of humans ebb and flow on … Continue reading

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“Falling Into Art” (an excerpt)

“We are most nearly ourselves when we achieve the seriousness of the child at play.” —Heraclitus Central to our ideas about spiritual and literary authenticity, I think, is our old friend struggle. Whatever is “serious” must be difficult. The poet Mary … Continue reading

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Two States of the Soul: T.S. Eliot & Seamus Heaney

My friend, the poet Kevin Dyer, just posted on Facebook a poem by Seamus Heaney, who died today. The poem was about the magic of County Clare, Ireland—the ocean, the lake, the wind, the swans. T.S. Eliot was by most … Continue reading

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Time Doesn’t Have to Go Faster as You Age

Things feel like they’re speeding up to the extent that we cease experiencing new things, something everyone does naturally when young. This means it’s possible to slow down time by staying on that edge of newness–trying new things, thinking about … Continue reading

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Dylan’s Mid-Sixties Genius

The songs on Dylan’s two mid-sixties masterpieces, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, were exotic birds, the likes of which no one had ever seen. The Mr. Joneses of the world chased them with cages looking for “the message,” … Continue reading

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How Socrates and Christ Revealed The Truth

Socrates is a pivotal character in the history of Western civilization, a paragon of integrity and of the truth-seeking philosopher. He appeared in the fifth century BC as the Greeks were emerging from the old mythological mindset into a new … Continue reading

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Got a Problem? Call it Evil and Declare War

According to the 2011 report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the worldwide war on drugs has been a “total failure.” In severely overcrowded US prisons, for example, fifty percent of inmates are in for drug-related offenses, whereas violent … Continue reading

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