Ask Me Anything (Open Thread) + Reflections on Desire

Welcome, new subscribers! Crazy to think that we have grown from 18 readers when I first sent this newsletter out 2 years ago to 4,087! We are a growing group of people who seek to live lives of thoughtfulness and awe, who believe that the worlds of intellect and spirit can and should overlap, and who seek to confront the challenges of modern life guided by the wisdom of great and ancient texts. I am grateful for your deep engagement.

As we head into year 3, I plan on introducing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) Function. Put your questions in the thread below and I’ll either respond directly or integrate into material for a more elaborate post. I’m hoping to do these about once every two weeks. I’m also going to make the threads open so you can respond to one another. And watch the space for more opportunities to interact with me and one another.

My ask: To support this work and gain access to the AMA threads going forward, consider becoming a paid subscriber.

Finally, here is a thought to ponder: Mark Lilla says the point of humanistic study is to help us ask the question “What should we desire?” STEM and technical disciplines help us fulfill our desires, but philosophy and literature make us reflective: “Is this what we should desire? And how should we know? Where does this sense of ‘should’ come from? etc.

So here is the question: Let’s agree that a reflective life is something we should desire because we should desire to ask “What should we desire?” But that still doesn’t answer the question “What should we desire?” What is your answer, and what are the resources, be they textual or experiential, that inform it? Can self-help and wellness gurus answer this question, or do they already presume what we desire, namely wellness, which only begs the question: what is wellness?