Cenotaph for an Enlightenment Ideal: Why Europe Really Conquered the World

A cenotaph is a marker or monument to a person whose remains are interred somewhere else. Pictured above is Enlightenment architect Étienne-Louis Boullée’s famous design for a massive cenotaph in honor of Sir Isaac Newton. It is a wonderful example of the European hubris of the age, a hubris that cast a long shadow from which we, as Europe’s manufactured cultural heirs, have yet to … Continue reading Cenotaph for an Enlightenment Ideal: Why Europe Really Conquered the World

A Measure of Sympathy

After any news-grabbing tragedy, such as what happened in Paris last week, there are two social media responses. The first is an outpouring of sympathy, some tactful and heartfelt and some, frankly, not. The second wave responds to the iniquities of the latter. Someone inevitably points to the numerous other tragedies, often very recent — tragedy is a near-constant in this world — with a … Continue reading A Measure of Sympathy

The Sheer Limits of Disgust

It’s remarkable to reflect on how much disgust completely permeates our lives, from the lowest form — yuckiness — all the way up to moral disgust. It is especially remarkable considering the only innately disgusting artifact appears to be spoiled meat. Everything else, from piles of dead bodies to handling human feces to eating the brains from a live monkey (which happens in China), is … Continue reading The Sheer Limits of Disgust