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Check out our latest issue, with pieces by Gary Gutting (on capitalism and the good life), Jo McGowan (on the rise of religious fundamentalism in India), Margaret O'Brien Steinfels (on the end of men), and more.

About the Author

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s digital editor.



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The Gutting piece is quite thought-provoking, and I found myself nodding in agreement with his liberal-education proposal.

Here is Gutting, summarizing the Skidelskys' argument:"A good life mainly depends on intangibles such as love, friendship, beauty, and virtuethings capitalism cannot produce and money cannot buy."This may not be as much of a dichotomy as is commonly understood. Arguably, a certain amount of material security/prosperity is actually pretty supportive for attaining and sustaining love, friendship, beauty and virtue. What the Skidelskys may be critiquing is the need for an art of living: of striking what is referred to by my employer as "work/life balance". It's not really true, contrary to what is claimed in the article, that we spend the bulk of our time working. The average work week in the US is somewhat less than 40 hours. Most of us have quite a bit of time outside of work to cultivate virtue, friendships, love and beauty; and most of us would benefit from taking an unflinching look at how we spend those non-work, waking hours.

Jim -=Home duties are work == when a chef cooks your dinner that's essentially the same sort of activity as when you or your wife cooks. Same with other home chores. When you add such duties to your work-for-hire I'm sure your average work week is way over 40 hours per week.

Ann, that's true enough. Even so, we have six able-bodied persons in our home, and housework needn't consume every minute of our days. (When I was a bachelor, I preserved valuable time for more rarefied pursuits by simply not dusting, but that's another topic).While what I'm doing now could broadly be construed as wasting time, at least it's making me think, and I learn things at places like this just about every day, and I even develop relationships of a sort. Still, the Great American Novel isn't being written nor the Great American Symphony being composed when I'm dithering at stuff like this.

Jim --But you aren't "dithering". We learn important, civilizing, wisdom=producing things in conversations like this. The internet gets slammed a lot, but blogging can be quite liberating. Would that more bishops had time to participate in it. The Church would be better off for it.

(I already posted this comment with the artilcle)While accepting what Jo McGowan says (Shivved -THE GROWING THREAT OF FUNDAMENTALISM IN INDIA), I would like to add that things are not so grim as it sounds in the article. I am a Catholic living in the state of Kerala, way down in south India. I have lived, studied and worked in various parts of India and I have never faced any discrimination or difficulty because of my religion (and I am over 60 years old, so this is over a long period). I am not saying there is no discrimination, just that it is not a constant fact of life.Now, I absolutely agree that the police were wrong in not enforcing the law and trying to shutdown the blaring music. But I doubt that it was because it was a Hindu function. I know such things going on in Churches in our part of the country all the time and nobody complaints. This has more to do with the cultural characterstics. Those who have grown up more with the Western mores are very aware of their individual rights. But here, people are more often willing to let things go by unless there is an active aggression. So if one group wants their celebration tonight, what of it? I will lose one nights sleep, but a community is enjoying. Couple of months later it may be my church that is blaring away with some preacher holding forth during the church feast. Thus it is more of a "Live and let live" attitude. I agree that westerners may not be comfortable with that sort of a response, but most people around here usually are. It works for us, most of the time.

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