Sorry I've been busy--teaching, writing, talking. The talking at least ends tomorrow.
Really good interview with my friend and colleague Sonam Kachru about his new book Other Lives: Mind and World in Indian Buddhism: “We are at a breaking point for humans. Helpfully, Vasubandhu’s twinning of mind and world has an ethical charge. He helps me see that the world we are in is not given. We have contributed to its making, even as we contribute to its unmaking.”
Very interesting story about discoveries over the past two decades in southern Iran:
“Since 1869, when the remnants of Sumerian culture were uncovered, Mesopotamia has been considered the cradle of civilization. But the remarkable findings at Jiroft demand a reassessment of that interpretation.”
Good piece on attunement and “postcritique.”
“Understanding postcritique begins with understanding what has been the dominant mode of interpretation in literary studies for many decades: critique. Critique involves giving an account of a text that is not the account the text would give of itself. The novel or story or poem, from this perspective, is never really about what it says it’s about. Nor is it, often, about what a non-academic reader would think it’s about. Only the critic, trained in theoretical inquiry, can unmask the social hierarchies latent in the artwork.”
“The rapid rise of the nonreligious and non-Protestant evangelical has meant that the tradition did not fade in any significant way over the last decade. But instead, what it means to be evangelical is being radically remade. It used to be that when many people thought about evangelicalism, they conjured up an image of a fiery preacher imploring them to accept Jesus. Now the data indicate that more and more Americans are conflating evangelicalism with Republicanism — and melding two forces to create a movement that is not entirely about politics or religion but power.”
Powerful essay by Peter Wehner about what’s happened to White evangelicals in the US. Bleak essay, too. Pulls only a few punches.
These psychology studies are still fighting the last war—in this case, arguing that atheists are moral too, despite opinion (esp in the US) that they’re not—and I respect that. But I also wonder if the way they’re differentiating these groups—with atheists more individual, religious believers more group-oriented, I guess?—is really catching the deepest commitments of these associations. The atheists I have known don’t seem deeply different in their eusociality; and the most serious religious believers I have known often seem the quirkiest individuals out there.
Cool essay by Christopher Browning (of ORDINARY MEN) on becoming an historian