Episode 4: Recovering Intrinsic Value in a Utilitarian World

Doug and Caren talk through some of the ways a utilitarian outlook has affected our public policy, churches, educational institutions, our work, and even family lives. Dostoevsky provides the epigraph and starting point for a discussion ranging over Princeton philosopher Peter Singer’s problematic bioethics and ways to recover our sense of intrinsic value from a Catholic perspective.

 

Episode 3 Stuff and Clutter: Reordering Our Relationship to Things

Doug and Caren talk about stuff and clutter, how it hinders our daily life and work, and ways to reorder our relationship to things. Our starting point is Thoreau’s Walden, the great experiment in testing the essentials. We touch on some popular methods of decluttering, but go a bit deeper into recovering the presence of things, following Walker Percy, and the sacramental significance of order in our lives.

Episode notes:

A good edition of Thoreau’s Walden with a useful introduction and annotations.

The Mission, directed by Roland Joffé (1986)

Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

Homer, The Odyssey. Translators are important.  Most on-line versions are from older translations (such as Lattimore’s classic). This is Robert Fitzgerald’s Bollingen Prize winning translation.

Walker Percy (who will probably be in the notes for most episodes), Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book

 

Episode 2: Fight the Atrophy; or, Starting Anew at Midlife

Doug and Caren talk about the wonderful, albeit terrifying, position of midlife (49 and holding). We examine what creates the illusion of exhausted possibilities and how one can get going again, recover from atrophy, and live more deeply. Emily Dickinson’s “I Dwell in Possibility” provides our starting point for looking to live poetry rather than prose, and we touch on other writers and saints along the way.

Show notes:

Read Emily Dickinson’s “I Dwell in Possibility” here at the Poetry Foundation.

UVA has a reliable e-text of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden here (more from HDT next episode).

Frances de Sales’ spiritual classic Introduction to the Devout Life can be found here.

Our music is from Mobile’s own master string-player and Catholic high-school teacher Phil Proctor.

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