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Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
Categories: Review | 1 Comment

By Walter Cummins Review of At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell (New York: Other Press, 2016)   One reason Sarah Bakewell’s The Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails is such an engaging read was her decision to organize her examination of philosophy around the lives of the central […]

Review
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Anima dannata, 1619, white marble. Embassy of Spain in Vatican City, Holy See, Rome

Review of H.L. Hix, American Anger: An Evidentiary (Etruscan Press, 2016).   “I’ve got a family to feed, a neighborhood to defend.” “I’ve got a family to feed, a principle to defend.” “I’ve got a family to feed, my honor to defend.” — H.L. Hix, American Anger   These lines taken from separate poems in […]

Review
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Outliving Society’s Capacity to Care   Despite the rapidly growing number of aged in America, the ranks of geriatricians is not keeping up with the needs for old people’s medical care. So reports the New York Times. According to projections based on census data, by the year 2030, roughly 31 million Americans will be older […]

ZiR
Categories: ZiLL | Add a Comment
English servant, washing in tub

Downton Abbey, now in its sixth and final season, has been a TV phenomenon, with audiences in more than 200 countries, including 160 million viewers in China. In the US it is the most popular PBS program ever, and, during the 2014-15 viewing year, it came out twentieth in popularity among all network and cable […]

ZiLL
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Seeking Spirituality in a Secular World   An article in the New York Times about people who enjoyed a religious experience in a gym led me to think about the range of human quests for some sort of spiritual connection, and beyond that what such a spiritual connection might mean. The Times article, “When Some […]

ZiR
Categories: ZiR | 1 Comment
People console one another outside the emergency room entrance to Loma Linda Medical Center after two shootouts in San Bernardino. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

  Details are still emerging about the San Bernardino shootings, but evidence mounts that this was terrorism. Public reaction appears to be much more disturbed and fearful than it was a few days earlier when a lone domestic gunman shot people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood office. The extent of the San Bernardino reaction […]

ZiR
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Paris: Nothing Like It, Nothing Better   In recent days, I’ve spent time formatting a book titled Paris, Etc., edited by Jessie Vail Aufiery. Jessie lived in Paris for a number of years with her French husband and their twin daughters. My immersion in poems, stories, and essays steeped in Parisian details, venues, attitudes, and […]

ZiR
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Biblical Uncertainties   I came to Aviya Kushner’s The Grammar of God well prepared, having, a month before the book was published, heard her talk about her arduous ten-year writing process. When I first learned of her topic, Biblical translation, I expected a discussion of the typical complexities of rendering a work in a language […]

ZiR
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By Walter Cummins   Third in a series   Arobot killed a young contractor in a German Volkswagen production plant recently. While the worker was installing the stationary robot in its protective cage, the device suddenly struck out with a fatal blow. Apparently, this robot killing was the first of its kind in German manufacturing, with […]

Article
Categories: Essay | 1 Comment
RealDoll prosthetic device, leg, being repaired

By Walter Cummins   Second in a series   Last time I wrote of the relationship of various prosthetic devices to the people who wear them. This time my topic is humanoids. At first glance, they may seem to be very different subjects. Prosthetics often and humanoids always, however, do share roots in robotics and […]

Essay
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By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

Essay

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A Syrian man holds lifeless body of his son, killed by Syrian Army, Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2013, photo by Manu Brabo - AP

By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

ZiR

February 8, 2017

How does the slogan “man is a wolf to man” fit in with your later, somewhat hopeful image of camaraderie in the class struggle? I mean, if your starting assessment of human nature is correct, then doesn’t the class struggle actually come down to one group of savage beasts fighting another, the exploited class merely comprising those wolves with less opportunity to express their lupine ferocity? And don’t the exploiters no less than the exploited regularly turn against one another, so that besides the strife of classes, there is also the strife of each wolf against every other wolf? Wha...

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Beyoncé

By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

Article

December 13, 2016

Any doubts I may have had have been thoroughly quashed.

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Categories: Review | Add a Comment

By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

Review

November 29, 2016

What a nice review ! I've read Bakewell and admire her courage and skill in mixing biography and philosophy in such an attractive way -- and I admire your skill in presenting the figures and themes of existentialism in an equally attractive way ! Mazel tov !

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