In this episode of Vernacular, we take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to talk to contributor/listener/Patreon supporter Joshua de Gastyne and put him through the paces of our lightning round. Then we talk about what books, movies, podcasts, and food that we've been enjoying lately.
In this episode, we discuss the attraction and hope of immortality: a life without death and possibly a life without aging and the suffering that accompanies aging. For the sake of this conversation, we assume that eventually medical technology will make immortality an option for people. So we ask and answer Leon Kass' question: why not immortality? The costs of immorality (the Justice Cost, Personal Cost, and Intergenerational Cost) are such that an immortal life is no longer a truly human life. Ultimately, we conclude that immortality is not compatible with a truly human life, would instead rob us of our humanity, and would not fulfill our deepest human desires.
In episode 82, we discuss the stages and span of a human life. What are those stages? Do we see and experience them as discrete units on a timeline? Or is there an overall shape to the human lifecycle that all people share and that gives it meaning as a whole? We argue for the latter view and also share our favorite/least favorite life stages. Finally, we address possible objections to the shape view. If you want to explore this topic more, we recommend the chapter on "ageless bodies" in Beyond Therapy. Stay tuned for the next episode when we take this conversation a step further and discuss aging, death, and immortality.
In this episode of Vernacular, we discuss the question: what is a human person? Are we pure soul? Spirit? Mind? Just a body? We describe the human person as a union of soul and body--an embodied soul and an ensouled body--in which both elements are good. Then we identify competing ideas and misconceptions about the nature of the human person. Finally we explore our experience of embodiment and how embodiment should impact how we treat ourselves and others. If you enjoyed this discussion, we recommend Gilbert Meilaender's book Neither Beast Nor God.
In this episode, we chat with Tsh Oxenreider about mental health and how travel can help us be more fully human. Tsh is an Austin, TX native, podcaster (creator and host of The Simple Show and Women's Work), author, entrepreneur, wife, and mom who traveled with her family of five around the world to 30 countries in 9 months. We end the show with a lightning round and Tsh gives us her take on Austin. If you enjoy this conversation, we recommend you check out The Simple Show archives for more travel tips, especially episodes 117-120, 68-72, and 34-37.
In this third installment of our series on the art of being human, we discuss the end (or purpose) of medicine. What should medicine aim to do? What does it mean to be a healthy human person? We also answer a listener question about science and the space race, and talk about why we're not gnostic. If you like this episode, be sure to read Leon Kass' 1975 article, "Regarding the End of Medicine and the Pursuit of Health."
In episode 78, the second in our series on the art of being human, we discuss the relationship between science or scientific pursuits and what it means to be human. We do not address medicine or healing (next episode!) or delve into specific technologies or applications of science. Instead, after defining science, we spend this episode answering two questions: what are the possible aims of a scientific project and which of those aims comport with what it means to be human--which of them are "truly human" aims? Finally, in light of episode 77, we touch briefly on the limits of science. Once again, all in under 20 minutes!
In this episode of Vernacular, we discuss the fact that all human beings fall short of perfection and yet we want to be perfect in some or all areas of our lives. What does it mean to live a fully human life and accept imperfection? How do we balance a desire to better ourselves with the importance of finding genuine contentment with our failures and possibly even celebrating our imperfections? What is the relationship between beauty and human imperfection? We relate these questions to a short story, movie, and book as well as real life--all in under 20 minutes!