Author Archives: Abigail

About Abigail

Abigail Rosenthal is Professor Emerita of Philosophy, Brooklyn College of CUNY. She is the author of A Good Look at Evil, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, now available in an expanded, revised second edition and as an audiobook. Its thesis is that good people try to live out their stories while evil people aim to mess up good people’s stories. Her next book, Confessions of a Young Philosopher, forthcoming and illustrated, provides multiple illustrations from her own life. She writes a weekly column for her blog, “Dear Abbie: The Non-Advice Column” (www.dearabbie-nonadvice.com) where she explains why women's lives are highly interesting. She’s the editor of the posthumously published Consolations of Philosophy: Hobbes’s Secret; Spinoza’s Way by her father, Henry M. Rosenthal. Some of her articles can be accessed at https://brooklyn-cuny.academia.edu/AbigailMartin . She is married to Jerry L. Martin, also a philosopher. They live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Our Twenty-Fourth Anniversary

As of last Friday, Jerry and I have been married for twenty-four years.  By the time we met, neither of us expected to meet our true love – Mr. and Ms. Right – much less meet the way we did. … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdism, Academe, Action, Alienation, Anthropology, Art, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, bad faith, beauty, Biblical God, books, bureaucracy, Chivalry, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Courtship, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Institutional Power, Jews, Journalism, Judaism, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Masculinity, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Mind Control, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Philosophy, Political Movements, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romance, Romantic Love, Romanticism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, Sexuality, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, Sociobiology, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, victimhood, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Voegelinian Vagaries

In last week’s column, I mentioned that Eric Voegelin is a political philosopher whom I approach – in advance and in principle – with a high degree of respect. Unlike most contemporary thinkers about life at the political level, he is not … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdism, Academe, Action, Afterlife, Alienation, Anthropology, Art, Art of Living, Atheism, bad faith, Bible, Biblical God, bigotry, book reviews, books, Christianity, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Immortality, Institutional Power, Jews, Journalism, Judaism, Law, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Martyrdom, Masculinity, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Messianic Age, Mind Control, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Peace, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Political, Political Movements, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romanticism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, Terror, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, victims, Violence, War, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Can Sibling Rivalry Be Ontological?

In the top-floor, high-ceiling, six-room New York apartment where my parents once lived, next to the dining room table and in front of the window, there stood a tall potted plant. It grew and grew, though I don’t recall our giving … Continue reading

Posted in "Absolute Freedom and Terror", Absurdism, Academe, Action, Afterlife, Alienation, American Politics, Anthropology, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, bad faith, Bible, Biblical God, bigotry, book reviews, books, bureaucracy, Childhood, Chivalry, Christianity, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Courtship, cults, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, ID, idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Immortality, Institutional Power, Jews, Journalism, Judaism, Law, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Martyrdom, Masculinity, master, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Messianic Age, Mind Control, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Mortality, Mysticism, non-violence, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Peace, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Poetry, Political, Political Movements, politics, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romanticism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, Terror, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, victims, Violence, War, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year’s Day 2023

One way I thought to greet this new year was to reread my journal entries over 2022. That would show where and what my struggles had been, what I learned, what the highs and lows were and what the delivered … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdism, Academe, Action, Afterlife, Alienation, Anthropology, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, bad faith, beauty, Biblical God, bigotry, books, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, history of ideas, ID, idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Immortality, Institutional Power, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Martyrdom, Masculinity, master, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Mind Control, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Mortality, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Political Movements, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, radicalism, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romantic Love, scientism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, Sexuality, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, Sociobiology, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, victims, Violence, War, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Acting in Real Time

Of all the forms of worship I know about, Biblical religion is the one most wedded to chronology. It carries the message that the action called for cannot be postponed. It must be done now. There is a concomitant duty … Continue reading

Posted in "Absolute Freedom and Terror", Absurdism, Academe, Action, Alienation, American Politics, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, bad faith, beauty, Bible, Biblical God, bigotry, books, bureaucracy, Childhood, Cities, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, Hegel, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Institutional Power, Jews, Journalism, Judaism, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Martyrdom, Masculinity, master, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Mind Control, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Peace, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Political, Political Movements, politics, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romance, Romanticism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, Terror, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, victims, War, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secrets of the Kingdom

Years ago, I was in the audience to hear a lecture by Columbia Professor of Ancient History Morton A. Smith who was discussing a verse he claimed to have discovered, anciently deleted from the gospel of Mark. In this new-found verse, Jesus … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdism, Academe, Action, Afterlife, Alienation, American Politics, Anthropology, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, bad faith, beauty, Bible, Biblical God, bigotry, book reviews, books, Christianity, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Courtship, cults, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Guilt and Innocence, Health, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Immortality, Institutional Power, Jews, Journalism, Judaism, Law, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Love, Male Power, Martyrdom, Masculinity, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Messianic Age, Mind Control, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Mortality, Mysticism, non-violence, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Peace, Philosophy, Political Movements, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, radicalism, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romantic Love, scientism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, seventeeth century, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, Terror, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, victimhood, victims, Violence, War, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Matters

Book Matters Albert Camus and the Minister By Howard Mumma It’s an arresting fact that both Albert Camus (1913-1960) and Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) — French existentialists who may have done most to spread the banner news that God is dead … Continue reading

Posted in book reviews, books | Tagged | Leave a comment

Religions, Cultures and Powers

As Jerry and I recover from our everything-that-could-go-wrong-did-go-wrong air travel experience, I’ve been taking this week to assimilate the intensely interesting experiences at the Theology Without Walls meetings in Denver. My reflections nestled around three questions: What did the TWW … Continue reading

Posted in "Absolute Freedom and Terror", Absurdism, Academe, Action, Afterlife, Alienation, American Politics, Anthropology, Art, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, bad faith, beauty, Bible, Biblical God, bigotry, books, Childhood, Christianity, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Courtship, cults, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, ethnicity, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Feminism, Films, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, Hegel, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, ID, idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Immortality, Institutional Power, Jews, Journalism, Judaism, Law, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Martyrdom, Masculinity, master, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Messianic Age, Mind Control, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Mortality, motherhood, nineteenth-century, non-violence, novels, Ontology, Oppression, pacifism, Past and Future, Peace, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Poetry, Political, Political Movements, politics, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, radicalism, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romantic Love, Romanticism, science, scientism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, Sexuality, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, Sociobiology, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, Terror, terrorism, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, TV, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, victims, Violence, War, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Blessing

We’ve just returned from the Denver meetings of the American Academy of Religion – more specifically the subfield that Jerry founded: Theology Without Walls. It was founded in recognition of the current, unprecedented openness of communication in our world. It … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdism, Academe, Afterlife, Alienation, American Politics, Anthropology, Art, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, bad faith, Bible, Biblical God, bigotry, book reviews, books, Christianity, Cities, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Courtship, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, eighteenth century, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Hegel, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Immortality, Institutional Power, Jews, Judaism, Law, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Martyrdom, Masculinity, Memoir, memory, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Mortality, motherhood, nineteenth-century, Ontology, Oppression, pacifism, Past and Future, Phenomenology of the Mind, Philosophy, Poetry, politics, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romance, secular, self-deception, Sex Appeal, social climbing, social construction, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, Suffering, Terror, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, victims, Violence, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Thankfulness”

Abbie is unable to write a new column this week because she and her husband, Jerry Martin, are stuck in Denver, CO, where a succession of flights home have been canceled. She and Jerry were in Denver for a fascinating … Continue reading

Posted in Academe, Action, Alienation, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, Erotic Life, Faith, Friendship, Guilt and Innocence, History, Ideology, Philosophy, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment