“Christopher Beha Left the Catholic Church and then Came Back. Now He’s Writing a Book about Why..” Mary Grace Mangano talks with Chris Beha about his sickness, his return to Catholicism, and his love of fiction.
“Detroiters Are Not Waiting to Be Saved.” Nate File describes the different forms that mutual aid can take as he converses with and learns from many community leaders in Detroit. (Recommended by Russell Arben Fox.)
“Gen Z Does Not Dream of Labor.” Terry Nguyen explores the contributing factors to the dissatisfaction that many young people feel with regard to their work. What are the opportunities and conditions for meaningful work today?
“To Some Working-Class Americans, Unions Are a ‘Foreign Concept.’” David Lapp talks with workers in the Cincinnati area about unions and their view of work in an attempt to discern whether “efforts to unionize working-class Americans be able to overcome the concerns of worker-skeptics and the apathy about unions that sometimes co-exists with nominal support.”
“Injured Parties: Considering the Wider Effects of Harmful Speech.” Alan Jacobs takes a tour through various legal cases in an effort to answer a fundamental question: “Do our words build up or diminish charity? This is a question with enormous implications both for individuals and for society as a whole.”
“Ancient Green.” Robin Wall Kimmerer ponders a kind of “environmental philosophy of mosses”: “Mosses and rocks take the long view. Mosses, I think, are like time made visible. They create a kind of botanical forgetting. Shoot by tiny shoot, the past is obscured in green. That’s why we have stories, so we can remember.”
“It’s Very Unlikely Anyone Will Read This in 200 Years.” B.D. McClay begins by reflecting on what might be the proper aspirations of intellectuals and academics. But this essay has much wider implications: “Most scholarship is also not going to live forever. Is it therefore not worth doing? I wouldn’t say so. It’s worth it to maintain gardens and repair buildings and restore artworks. No one’s work lives forever on its own. It stays alive because someone keeps it so. Here again, greatness requires humility: other people’s. The task of thinking is worthwhile even if your thoughts prove to be of limited usefulness.”
“No Limits or Know Limits?” David McPherson recommends virtues that can help us take the right posture toward limits: “this account of the limiting virtues suggests that if we want a slogan for living well as human beings, then it should not be ‘no limits’ but rather ‘know limits.’”
“The Lost Thread.” Robin Sloan reflects on Twitter, Musk, and the future of the platform: “I’m not here to say you should quit Twitter, or that no enjoyment remains in cavorting through the network. I’m only here to say, Twitter has no future, so please, enjoy it only and exactly for what it is — every decline is surfable — and do not disregard the alternatives to its timeline, when and if they appear.”
“The Somerville Quartet.” Jennifer Frey’s beautiful essay on the joys of intellectual friendship is disguised as a review of two recent books about four female philosophers: “if anything binds these women together into a meaningful unity, it is the intellectual friendship between them. And that love shared between them deserves to be an object of our attention, because it is the sort of love that isn’t often recognized as the ground of strong bonds of affection between women.”
“Student-Loan Forgiveness Wouldn’t Solve Much.” Jerusalem Demsas warns that the ongoing push to cancel student debt isn’t a good idea: “Awkward indeed that so much energy has been spent on a policy proposal that would affect just 13 percent of the population, and that would send the most dollars to high-income earners and those with graduate degrees.”
“Public Libraries Are Making It Easy to Check Out Seeds—and Plant a Garden.” Bridget Shirvell reports on the various ways in which libraries are structuring free seed programs: “Seed sharing at public libraries date back to at least 2010, and while no one tracks just how many such programs there are, it’s likely the number has now reached into the hundreds. Many started after the pandemic forced people outside and encouraged them to find ways to be more resilient, especially in how they procure food.”