I don't know anyone who'd recommend living "a divided life" — a life in which our words and actions conceal or even contradict truths we hold dear inwardly. And yet our culture counsels us to do exactly that:
(9) Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
~Bertrand Russell, from his "Ten Commandments" of the liberal outlook as it appears in his 1951 New York Times op-ed, "The Best Answer to Fanaticism—Liberalism."
"This power of good must prove its truth and strength by its fearlessness, by its refusal to accept any imposition which depends for its success upon its power to produce frightfulness and is not ashamed to use its machines of destruction to terrorize a population completely disarmed. We must know that moral conquest does not consist in success, that failure does not deprive it of its dignity and worth.
The film Life of Pi is not just a "parable of the postmodern quest for 'spiritual fulfillment'" but a meditation on beauty and our own finitude.
An astrophysicist who studies the shape of the universe, Janna Levin has also explored her science by writing a novel about two pivotal 20th-century mathematicians, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing. Both men pushed at boundaries where mathematics presses on grand questions of meaning and purpose. Such questions, she says, help create the technologies that are now changing our sense of what it means to be human.
An evocative midrash from Zornberg's new book.