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Michael Healy

Neil Diamond and The Metaphysics of the Person

Dec. 11, 2012, at 3:51pm

Pop music in general often deals with superficial things, e.g., Jan and Dean’s hit song “Honolulu Lulu” about the courage of a curvy surfer girl to go out and face the big waves.  (In its defense, it does have the one great line revealing the level of religious awareness in the surfing culture: “When the beach is quiet and you know you’re out of luck, we pray for surf while makin’ out in the truck.”)  

Other songs, on a bit higher level, deal with intense emotions, though these powerful feelings are not always particularly well-ordered or understood.  In Neil Diamond’s repertoire, such songs would include “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Cherry, Cherry,” “Kentucky Woman,” “Thank the Lord for the Night

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Michael Healy

Questions, Answers, and Mystery

Jun. 29, 2012, at 9:41pm

I conceive of the role of the teacher as a helper to the student so that the latter can see some real truth(s) on his own.  The classical root of this conception, of course, is Socrates describing himself as a midwife, helping the other to bring to birth in his own mind a genuine understanding of reality.  This involves a process of discovery requiring a broad openness to questions, challenges, readiness to make modifications, etc.  It requires humility, i.e., an attitude fundamentally acknowledging that reality is transcendent to the mind and that, as Augustine says, the mind is below truth, not above it. 

Nevertheless, it is sometimes the case that anyone who claims to know

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Michael Healy

Christmas, Defiance, and Despair

Dec. 28, 2011, at 5:01pm


In his great work Homo Viator, Gabriel Marcel reflects on the problem of despair, the threat of meaninglessness and absurdity, and the stance of defiance against reality as we find it (and whomever is responsible for it).  He discusses the philosophy of the atheistic absurdist Albert Camus in a chapter entitled “The Refusal of Salvation and the Exaltation of the Man of Absurdity.”

            Marcel regards this kind of absurdist approach not so much as a real philosophy, or a solid position that can actually be defended, but rather as a “contagion” and an “infiltration by which evil can reach our very foundations.”  But, if there are no rational foundations to such an attitude, how does

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