Neophilia & Neophobia, Fear v. Wonder: Differential Effects of the Sublime on Closed and Opened Minds

When I was younger and entertained more grandiose pretensions of becoming a literary light than I do now, I wrote the following would-be aphorism about the difference between “intellectuals” and true-believing “fanatics”: An intellectual submits the narrowness of his mind to the breadth of experience; a fanatic submits the depth and breadth of experience to [...]

Wretched Writ: The Dirty Apologetics of Bad Religious Writing

There’s good reason why polite company is expected to exercise studious avoidance of the topics of religion and politics. No other areas of human concern turn so quickly and viciously polemical. Whole books have been devoted to explaining and understanding our extraordinarily ugly groupishness when it comes to these domains. I’ve recently been reading two [...]