Thoughts While Shaving

Viktor Frankel
Thoughts While Shaving
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Read more
Book of Job
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Continuing with the Book of Job theme, Job is arguably the most important work in the entire Old Testament, possibly the second most important book in the whole Bible – behind the Gospel of John. Read more
Adam and Eve
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In one respect at least, The Book of Genesis and the Book of Job are mirror images of one another. Read more
Trinitarian Model
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Last week (1/10/21) we talked about the idea that God is better understood as a ‘process’ than as a ‘person, place or thing’. Read more
Four Noble Truths
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A dear friend of mine recently responded to an email I had sent. Read more
God is Eternal
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According to the Trinitarian model, God is relatedness, dialogue, love. Therefore, God is process, the process that animates the spatiotemporal world and the process that constitutes His own Being. Read more
Pre-existing
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In my last post, I reflected on the idea that all the world’s ontologies (philosophical, theological or scientific) fall into one of two camps: (A) Some sort of Determinism, where the ‘actual’ i... Read more
There Must Be Something Before There Can Be Nothing
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From Aristotle to Whitehead, from Sartre to the 20th century ‘quantum mechanics’, there is a broadly held view that Being at its core is Pure Potential. Read more
Thoughts
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Thoughts is on hiatus through the Holidays. We will resume early in January. Read more
God Hypothosis
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A much beloved friend and family member sent this to me T-day morning. Read more
Happy Thanksgiving!
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Happy Thanksgiving! Really? With COVID, economic insecurity, terrorism, etc. what do we have to be thankful for? Only everything! Literally…every thing. Being is a function of being good. Read more
Nobility
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“Nothing is noble which it is noble to despise. Wealth, honors…absolute power…these no sensible man would count as blessings since…it is nobler to despise (them) than to admire (them). Read more
Electricity
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"The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” is a movie currently playing on Amazon Prime. Louis is an early 20th century English painter with zero artistic merit…but that’s not important. Read more
Inflation
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For the first time since the 1980’s, we seem to be dealing with monthly, year over year, inflation rates north of 5%. Read more
Becoming
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Absolute evil is non-being. But non-being is inconceivable since whatever we conceive is conceived as at least potentially being. Non-being is not and has no potential to be. Read more
Everything IS Possible
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Yesterday, my 8 year old grandson told me, quite authoritatively as usual, “Nothing is impossible, everything is possible.” My first thought was, “Hmm, that doesn’t seem right. Read more
Prologue
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It takes roughly 100 years for the bleeding edge discoveries of science to be fully integrated into the popular psyche. Read more
Cogito
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Rene Descartes wrote, “Cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am). So, I’m all set…as long as I can still say “cogito”. Read more
Entropy
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The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (aka ‘entropy’) ensures that the universe will meet with a bad end: oblivion! Our lifelong battle against evil (the absence of order, i.e. Read more
Antonyms
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In school we were taught to recognize homonyms, synonyms and antonyms. But there are no antonyms! Cold is not the antonym of hot; they are both relative measures of molecular motion. Read more
How and Why
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Prior to 1600, to be accepted in the West, any new scientific theory had to demonstrate that it was compatible with the basic tenets of Christianity. Read more
If He Chooses To Do So
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My previous ‘thought’ concerned God’s dual role as ‘Creator of heaven and earth’ and ‘comrade-in-arms’. Read more
God
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The Creation Story in Genesis makes it clear that ‘Adam and Eve’, and by extension the entire cosmos, are entirely free; otherwise, the idea of ‘creation’ would be a sham. Read more
Nihilism
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Nihilism comes in two flavors: Ontological Nihilism (“Nihilism of Being”) and Ethical Nihilism (“Nihilism of Value”). Read more
Joy
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Joy is what we experience when we live according to God’s Will, Natural Law or Transcendental Ethics (take your pick – whatever you’re comfortable with - they all amount to the same thing in the... Read more
Worth Knowing
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“A World Worth Knowing” is the title of a new series on The History Channel that features William Shatner. Read more
Maya
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“Nothing is everything” is an advertising slogan for a new drug that treats plaque psoriasis. Read more
Hidden Life
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An earlier “Thought” introduced “The Hidden Life of Trees”, the reflections of a career forester. The book focuses on communities of trees. Read more
Rabbi Shlomo
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According to Hasidic Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925 – 1994), “original sin” is rooted in gender inequality. Read more
Nothing Exists
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“What’s the good of anything? Nothing!” These 6 words, placed in the mouth of 12 year old Archibald Rennick in a 1892 play, “The New Boy”, may be more philosophically important and ontol... Read more
Alfred E. Newman
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As a child of the ‘50s, I thought I had witnessed the virgin birth (1956) of 12 year old Alfred E. Newman in the pages of Mad Magazine. Read more
Fractal
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Mythology exists in the space between cosmology and psychology. It is consistent with the modern notion of Being as a fractal: it reveals the same patterns on every scale. Read more
Zeno
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Earlier we talked about Zeno. In most minds it is thought that Zeno proved that any tortoise with a head start will always beat Achilles in any foot race. Read more
Motion
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Everything that is is in motion. Read more
Achilles and the Tortoise
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You’ve no doubt heard about the race between Achilles and the Tortoise. My 8 year old grandson has so I assume you have too. It took place 2,500 years ago. Read more
Love Thy Neighbor
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A subscriber to Thoughts While Shaving recently sent me the following: “This moment that humanity is living through can be considered a door or a hole. Read more
Being and Becoming
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In the context of a conversation about Being and Becoming, a friend of mine asked, “Is eternal becoming possible?” My first reaction was that the concept of becoming was inherently dependent on ti... Read more
Antonyms
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Antonyms. No such thing! Not-X includes the shadow of X. Example: ‘Pretty’ and ‘Ugly’. ‘Pretty’ refers to the totality (gestalt) of a person, place, or thing. Read more
These are the Dark Ages
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A cursory reading of ethnographic surveys (Frazer, Spengler, Toynbee, et al.) shows that almost every human culture includes the recognition of a ‘transcendent’ dimension to reality. Read more
Nothing is Everything
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Nothing is everything” is an advertising slogan for Skyrizi (AbbVie), a dermatological drug. I assume it means that the absence of skin blemishes is ‘everything’, at least for some people. Read more
Relationship
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Following up on an earlier post, in an I – it relationship, the ‘I’ has complete dominion over the ‘it’. The ‘it’ is merely a passive receptor for the actions of the ‘I’. Read more
Punctuation
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Classical Western languages (e.g. Hebrew, Greek and Latin) for the most part lacked anything we would recognize today as ‘punctuation’. Read more
Pronouns
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Today, we are all about our pronouns. This incidental part of speech has suddenly replaced the noun and the verb as the focus of popular, and linguistic, attention. Read more
The Shmita year
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Someone sent me this and it’s so good I had to reproduce it in Thoughts while Shaving: “The beginning of Deuteronomy is filled with promises about taking possession of the land of Canaan. Read more
Afraid of the Dark
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Most young children are afraid of the dark. As adults, we tend to dismiss those fears. But as in so many other ways, it is the children who are right…and we who are wrong. Read more
Fact to Fiction
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Following up on my previous post, in Ancient Greece the concept of the individual as actor had not yet emerged. Human beings were the passive pawns of forces beyond their control, or even their ken. Read more
Unintentional Consequences
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Since I was 12 years old, I have found Greek Mythology baffling. Read more
Thrown
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According to Existentialist philosopher, Martin Heidegger, each of us has been “thrown” into an alien and potentially hostile world. Read more
Mistakes
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Have you ever made a mistake and then repeated the same mistake years later? Well, the British government has. Read more
Oswald Spengler
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In his seminal work, The Decline of the West, Oswald Spengler (c. 1920) both predicts and explains the global conflict in which we are now embroiled. Read more
Artists
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The existentialist philosopher, Martin Heidegger, defined “art” as anything that shows us something new about the world, ourselves, or our place in that world. Read more
German Philosophers
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The Germans, wow! Schopenhauer, Marx, Nietzsche, Spengler, Heidegger – each one turned philosophy and/or intellectual history on its head. Read more
Christianity
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In an earlier post, we talked about the need to think ‘complementarily’ in order to understand the cosmos and our place in it. Read more
Little Children
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The Gospel of Matthew (18:3) quotes Jesus as saying, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Read more
Nature of Motion
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Death. It is the mother of all our fears. Fear reflects our vulnerability and, ultimately, our mortality. Read more
Death
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Death. It is the mother of all our fears. Fear reflects our vulnerability and, ultimately, our mortality. Read more
Decline of the West
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As a teenager, I became aware of a book by Oswald Spengler: The Decline of the West, written c. 1920. Like any intellectually inclined adolescent of the ‘60s, I was drawn to the title. Read more
Mythology
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We have been trained to think of mythology as fictional, even foolish. And yet all Truth (whatever that is, Pontius Pilate) occurs within the framework of some mythology. Read more
Trees
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According to life-long forester Peter Wohllben (The Hidden Life of Trees), trees communicate via electrical signals transmitted through their roots. Read more
Covid 20?
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So we were told that COVID-19 came from bats. By the summer of 2020, it should have been obvious that this was wrong. Read more
Amazon
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Amazon provides reliable, rapid, and inexpensive delivery service; and the US Postal Service? Well, to be kind let’s say ‘not so much’. So who is being sued by the feds? You guessed it…Amazon. Read more