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Showing posts from July, 2012

Jean-Paul Sartre and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

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In my previous post, I discussed the correlations between Sartre’s Atheistic Existentialism and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In this post, I would like to explore some Sartrean conceits in Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel, Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus.

The novel consists of a frame narrative, whereby one story enfolds another, which enfolds yet another story. The first narrator is Robert Walton who is sailing towards the “northern pole” (Shelley 20).On his way, he encounters Victor Frankenstein whose sledge is carried to Walton’s ship via an ice fragment.Frankenstein is carried onto the ship, and after becoming acquainted with the captain of the ship, he begins telling his story in hopes of deterring Walton from his ambitious pursuit of “knowledge” and “dominion,” which he desires to bestow upon humanity (Shelley 24).Frankenstein comes from a well-to-do family in Geneva. His goal in life is to gain “glory” and recognition that would “attend the discovery” of medical means to “banish di…

Jean-Paul Sartre and Shakespeare’s Macbeth

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Jean-Paul Sartre is an atheist philosopher who has recently been labeled as the “Apostle of Absurdity” in a series of articles called  “Pillars of Unbelief” by Peter Kreeft, a professor of Philosophy at Boston College.  In his articles, Kreeft outlines the dangerous impact of six modern thinkers on contemporary culture.  Sartre’s name qualifies to be in this list, and rightly so. 
Sartre’s version of atheism is called Existentialism because it sees life as the outcome of choices made by each individual in accordance with his will.  Sartre goes a little further than most 19th century atheists.  For atheists such as Marx, Nietzsche and Strauss, the concept of God has a looming presence somewhere in the background despite all efforts done to suppress it.  This is clearly manifested in the manner in which they conceptualize humanity.  Throughout their writings, human beings are endowed with a preset nature that leaves the reader pondering, ‘if God does not exist, where does this nature co…

Silent Words (A Tribute to my Chinese Students)

The worst time of year for me is the month of June. The students are exhausted and agitated, and any task that has a touch of complexity will only be received with rolling eyes, heavy sighs, slow-moving pens (or pencils) and half-opened eyes.
Worse yet is the constant awareness of the imminent separation after the last days of school. Suddenly, losing the habitual routine of a typical school day and the familiar faces that accompany that routine becomes an agonizing prospect.A desire springs up in both students and teachers (maybe it’s just me and not all teachers). This desire seeks to imprint every last, precious moment spent together into the banks of eternal memory.The most appealing thing about these last moments is that few thoughts are actually verbalized, few words are said; and yet, the meaning conveyed in these silent words is of such great magnitude that eyes are unable to hide it and tears are unwilling to ignore it.The human soul begins to wrestle with two forces, a yearn…

A Chaldean Renaissance?

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His Excellency Sarhad Jammo, Bishop of St. Peter Chaldean Diocese in San Diego, California, has recently repeated what he heralds a “Chaldean Renaissance” taking shape, much to the surprise of what one would expect in the current state of affairs regarding Iraqi Christians. Before we look at some of the things that solidify an assertion that there is something such as a renaissance taking place amongst the Chaldean people and Church, it’s important to note why one would expect otherwise.

In the opening paragraph, the Bishop addresses a certain pessimism that still hovers in the perceptions and feelings of many fellow Chaldeans or Christians of Iraq for that matter. He as anyone else is not slow to link this expression to the socio-political-economic conflict that has inflicted Iraq during the war and insurgency in the last 9 last years, decreasing in gravity yet latent nonetheless. The Bishop has in fact for many years tirelessly addressed and dialogued on this topic of Chaldean…