How the Toothbrush Mirrors Societal Progress: An Oral History

For all his shortcomings, Thomas Jefferson, writing in mid-1816, takes a long view of human self-governance: “[L]aws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.”  And he continues, “As [the human mind] becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, … Continue reading How the Toothbrush Mirrors Societal Progress: An Oral History

Overcoming Childhood Trauma and Other Heroic Lessons from The Dark Knight

As by a carnival mirror, the greatest villains reflect our most enduring and compelling heroes. Our heroes often are brought face-to-face with that which they so easily could have been. If the rope of recovery had had one less thread, they themselves could have snapped and become a rogue in someone else’s gallery. This potential alternative existence can prove unnerving at first, but as our … Continue reading Overcoming Childhood Trauma and Other Heroic Lessons from The Dark Knight

What the Covered Bridge Reveals About Our Struggle Against Nature

When conjuring up a still-frame of “man vs. nature,” one may imagine a musher dog sledding across a frozen tundra or a pioneer trailing through desolate badlands or a voyager floating down the Congo River into Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness. Yet, no one pictures the Hillsgrove Township of Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. In this small upstate township, the 186-foot-long Hillsgrove Covered Bridge spans the Loyalsock … Continue reading What the Covered Bridge Reveals About Our Struggle Against Nature

Why So Serious, Part One: Child Abuse

With a knife in hand, the purple-clad, face-painted Joker springs up from the pool table, retorting in his own self-indulgent way, “You wanna know how I got these scars?” The Joker then details a narrative of a father who “was a drinker and a fiend.”  One night his father goes “off crazier than usual” and his mother “gets the kitchen knife to defend herself.”  He explains … Continue reading Why So Serious, Part One: Child Abuse

Ayn Rand in the Age of Anti-Intellectualism

Regardless how one may feel about Ayn Rand, her “philosophy,” or her generally unpleasant demeanor, she does comprehend at least one underpinning truth of our species: “I am, therefore I’ll think.”  By subverting René Descartes’s famous cogito proposition, Rand exposes its flaw.  For Rand, “I’ll think” is volitional, since one’s existence is not predicated on whether one chooses to think or not. Moreover, in a … Continue reading Ayn Rand in the Age of Anti-Intellectualism