The Opposite of Autonomy

This morning, a topic of Sunday brunch conversation concerned determining the opposite of such words as “autonomy” and “abandonment.” My friend and I wanted equally precise and forceful words that denote the antidotes to these terms without these being too vague or all-encompassing.

In considering this, I came upon not a word, but a paragraph that I do consider to quite aptly describe the opposite of autonomy. And since it took an entire piece for Marina Keegan to beautifully explore “the opposite of loneliness“, we can certainly afford to take a look at this paragraph from Paul Quenon’s book, In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk’s Memoir.

This is a book I read a few years ago that I find myself recommending to more and more friends often these days.

It is in the epilogue, where the author is describing what he has found monastery life to be, that I consider somewhat of an exposition of the opposite of autonomy:

Continue reading

Canadian Student Discovers his Online Course is Taught by a Deceased Professor

This evening over dinner, my friend and housemate shared a news story from a month ago about a university student in Montreal who was surprised to discover that his current art history professor had, in fact, already been deceased for two years.

Aaron Ansuini had been following an online course through Concordia University when he Googled the professor to find his email address but instead found his obituary.

The university says the prerecorded material was in no way meant to be deceptive. Nevertheless, the student’s Twitter thread recounting his surprise amassed hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets.

He wrote:

Continue reading

Dietrich von Hildebrand on how death summons us to what’s essential

One of my very favourite organizations, the Hildebrand Project, is committed to advancing the legacy of Dietrich von Hildebrand and of the wider personalist tradition.

Most recently, the Hildebrand Project team republished Dietrich von Hildebrand’s existential and theological meditation, Jaws of Death: Gate of Heaven, which the twentieth-century philosopher wrote shortly before his own death.

The book is divided into two sections – the first of which considers the Natural Aspect of Death and the second of which considers Death in the Light of Christian faith.

Continue reading