The Truth about Plato’s “Noble Lie”

By |2019-10-03T15:44:15-05:00November 15th, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Featured, Philosophy, Plato, Politics|

The phrase “noble lie” does not even occur in the text of Plato’s Republic. So how have scholars come to misunderstand what Plato means in his discussion of the city’s need for a doctrine to guide its politics? What did Plato actually teach in the Republic about the so-called “noble lie?” For convenience, I shall refer to [...]

Re-Programming Ourselves to Be Mindful

By |2019-07-18T12:11:36-05:00November 4th, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Culture, Featured, Science, Technology|

“The world exists to end in a book” — Stéphane Mallarmé “Happy is your Grace, That can translate the stubbornness of fortune Into so quiet and so sweet a style.” —Shakespeare, As You Like It (II.i.19-21) “Prayer is reversed thunder.” —George Herbert In Chapter 6 of Understanding Media (1964), “Media as Translators,” Marshall McLuhan starts [...]

Stranger Things Have Happened: The Civil War among Media Forms

By |2016-11-23T20:19:57-06:00September 23rd, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Culture, Featured, Information Age, Science, Technology|

“There’s Nothing Like a Best Seller to Set Hollywood a-Tingle” —The New York Times Book Review (Sep 16, 1962) “I’d willingly start my next novel—about a small town—right now, but I need the diversion of a play.” —John O’Hara, The New York Times Book Review (Nov 27, 1955) “For most of our lifetime civil war [...]

Learning Wisdom in the Midst of Reversals

By |2021-04-07T16:33:18-05:00August 31st, 2016|Categories: Books, Christopher Morrissey, Culture, Featured, Philosophy, Technology, Wisdom|

The West shall shake the East awake While ye have the night for morn. — James Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake 企者不立;跨者不行; 自見者不明;自是者不彰; 自伐者無功;自矜者不長。 其在道也,曰:餘食贅行。 物或惡之,故有道者不處。 — Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching, Chapter 24 […]

The Social Message of Social Media

By |2018-10-29T16:35:34-05:00August 19th, 2016|Categories: Books, Christopher Morrissey, Featured, Philosophy, Roger Scruton, Technology, Virgil|

In the first chapter of Understanding Media (1964), called “The Medium is the Message,” Marshall McLuhan begins the book by explaining his most famous aphorism. Over time, the proposition has acquired the status of a cliché, such that its original meaning and intent can become obscured. But as W. Terrence Gordon, the editor of the Critical [...]

The New Cold War: Keeping Globalization Safe for Hot Media

By |2016-10-13T13:45:39-05:00August 10th, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Culture, Featured, Language, Science, Senior Contributors|

Modern technological innovation has made globalization possible. And globalization’s new social reality is unparalleled in history. Accordingly, it presents politics with new challenges. But it also presents politics with unprecedented technological power to deal with these new challenges. However, the power of these technologies is ambiguous, since they can create two types of experiences: “hot” [...]

Has the Digital Age Eclipsed the Television Age?

By |2016-08-02T22:07:50-05:00August 1st, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Donald Trump, Foreign Affairs, Modernity, Politics, Technology, Television|

In order to explain surprising political phenomena like Donald Trump and Brexit, we have to look at the unprecedented impact of new technologies on our total environment. Douglas Rushkoff, the author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, has entertained the thesis that the television age, which brought people together, is over. He opines that [...]

The Minor Incident that Sparked the Peloponnesian War

By |2019-09-12T13:30:23-05:00July 14th, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, History, Senior Contributors, Thucydides, War|

The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was actually the second war fought between Athens and Sparta in the fifth century. Why did hostilities break out into the open again? The reflections of the Greek general and historian Thucydides on this question in his History of the Peloponnesian War constitute one of the greatest books of all time. [...]

Did Social Media Dumb Down Brexit?

By |2016-07-07T22:41:14-05:00July 7th, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, England, Europe, Politics, Senior Contributors|

If Marshall McLuhan were around today to comment on the results of Britain’s referendum about whether to “Remain” or to “Leave” the European Union, no doubt he would offer comments that would be surprising and puzzling. Nevertheless, it is the unexpected quality of McLuhan’s probing remarks (he himself liked to designate his aphorisms with the [...]

Spinoza & the Stoics on Suicide

By |2016-07-01T17:41:04-05:00July 1st, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Death, Philosophy, Senior Contributors, Stoicism|

Euthanasia and physician-assisted death is a topic much in the news these days. After the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent ruling, the Canadian government is busy with legislation overseeing such practices. Perhaps the viewpoint of an ancient school of philosophical thought, Stoicism, may aid contemporary reflections on the matter of physician-assisted suicide, especially since such [...]

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in “Love & Friendship”

By |2020-05-02T02:49:10-05:00June 16th, 2016|Categories: Art, Beauty, Christopher Morrissey, Featured, Film, Jane Austen, Love, Whit Stillman|

We are not born into a savage wilderness but into a beautiful mansion of the Lord that the Lord and those who have gone before us have built. We must avoid neglecting this mansion but rather glorify and preserve it—as we should all of the Lord’s Creation. Whit Stillman, in the novel version of his [...]

The Vindication of the Fair: “Love & Friendship,” American Style

By |2016-06-08T22:04:00-05:00June 8th, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Film, Jane Austen, Love, Marriage, Virtue, Whit Stillman|

Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship is a magnificent Jane Austen adaptation, not least because it conceives of the perfect ending for the unpolished project of Austen’s juvenescence, Lady Susan. This is Jane Austen, and it is a comedy, so of course there must be a wedding at the end. But how does one best pull [...]

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