Apeirophobia: The Fear of Eternity

Note: I would just like to state for the record that since I started doing mushrooms, this stuff doesn't bother me at all any longer. It's awesome.

Woody Allen once said, “Eternity is a very long time, especially toward the end!” Eternity sounds great on the surface, but actually experiencing it may be an entirely different matter. For some people, the very notion of infinity sends chills up the spine. In fact, for many who suffer from “apeirophobia”—a term for the fear of eternity—the thought of an existence that goes on forever amounts to torture.


Trump’s history of corruption is mind-boggling. So why is Clinton supposedly the corrupt one?

In the heat of a presidential campaign, you’d think that a story about one party’s nominee giving a large contribution to a state attorney general who promptly shut down an inquiry into that nominee’s scam “university” would be enormous news. But we continue to hear almost nothing about what happened between Donald Trump and Florida attorney general Pam Bondi.

The house is on fire! by Gary Saul Morson

Of course, lots of conquering groups have annihilated or enslaved other groups—just think of the Trojan war or Tamerlane’s mountains of skulls—but no form of government had ever been so brutal to those it regarded as its own people. Soviet Russia was far crueler than its tsarist predecessor, which had long been proverbial as “the gendarme of Europe.” Between 1825 and 1905, the tsars executed 191 people for political reasons—not for mere “suspicion” as under the Soviets but for actual assassinations, including that of Tsar Alexander II. In The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn remarked that between 1905 and 1908 the regime executed as many as 2,200 people—forty-five a month!—“calling forth tears from Tolstoy and indignation from Korolenko and many, many others.” By comparison, conservative estimates of executions under Lenin and Stalin—say, twenty million from 1917 to 1953—yield an average of over ten thousand per week. That’s a tsarist century every few days.

Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist, has died at age 92


Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist, lawyer and author who is credited with almost single-handedly stopping the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and who helped move the Republican Party toward the right on family and religious issues, died Monday at her home in St. Louis. She was 92. [...]

A champion of traditional, stay-at-home roles for women, Mrs. Schlafly opposed the ERA because she believed it would open the door to same-sex marriage, abortion, the military draft for women, co-ed bathrooms and the end of labor laws that barred women from dangerous workplaces.


Inside Trump Tower: Facing grim reality


The plan to get to 270 electoral votes remains unclear. The battleground state deployment plan is a work in progress. Money from big donors is slowing to a trickle. And aides are confused about who’s calling the shots.

Donald Trump’s campaign is teetering, threatening to collapse under the weight of a candidate whose personality outweighs his political skill. And now, with 22 days until the start of early voting, the GOP nominee is running short on his most precious commodity: time.



Grading the University of Chicago's Letter on Academic Freedom

When I was a heretical student at a Catholic high school deciding where to apply to college, I thrilled at the prospect of an educational institution where free inquiry would reign supreme and forceful debate would never be hemmed in by dogma.

A letter like the one that University of Chicago Dean of Students John Ellison sent last week to incoming first-year students––reminding them of the school’s “commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression," and affirming that those admitted to it “are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship”––would have struck me as a glorious affirmation: that robust intellectual communities truly did exist; that I would finally be free to follow my brain; that college would be a crucible that tested the strength of all my beliefs.

Today, I am more forgiving of Catholic educational institutions, which served me well; and more skeptical that any college’s worth is best measured by its stated aspirations. Still, I couldn’t help but imagine a bright 18-year-old, preparing to leave an intellectually stifling environment to attend the University of Chicago, receiving that letter, opening it with curiosity, and lighting up at what lay ahead, even as she steeled herself a bit more for the intellectual challenges that it promised.