In this early milestone 50th episode, Matthew reflects a bit by sharing a brief history as to why he proceeded to call the show “Mr. Bright Side,” knowing full well that it would always be confused with the 2004 mega-hit Killers song. He also shares a few personal stories over the years which have reflected back to him his natural tendency to optimism and enthusiasm, long before he ever developed his mature and formal philosophy. Listeners can take a lesson in self-awareness from these reminiscences.
At what age does one become a fully-formed individual? One modern-day comedian and one sage character from a short story published in 1939 have both offered a similar magic number. How is that two people from distinctly separate eras and experience have both identified the same thing?
How does charity fit into a life dedicated to gaining—not surrendering—values? If healthy human relationships are about win-wins, and charity is about gaining nothing for oneself, then is it good? And why do many of us feel so unfulfilled after engaging in sacrificial charity, if it’s the right thing to do?
There is a war on against Christmas. And it’s coming from all directions. From one point, it is attacked for being too “commercial” and “material.” From another, and right in step with the general cancel culture that’s pervaded our society, Christmas is maligned for being “exclusive,” as it is taken as the purview of a single religion (and a majority one in the West, which is an even graver sin today): Christianity.
But what if we separated the holiday from religion?
How are billionaires and trillionaires regarded in our culture, and what does it say about us?
Last week, Matthew referred to a children’s science textbook outlining three symbiotic relationships in nature: mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism, and argued that only win-wins (mutualism) are good while win-lose/lose-wins (parasitism) are immoral.
If win-win relationships are possible, why should we want any part of a win-lose or lose-win? Yet lose-win is what conventional morality offers us explicitly if we take it seriously. And we ought to take it seriously. Our self-esteem and mental health depend on it.
What would embolden you to take on a suicide mission against a terrifying and colossal evil? What makes a leader? How can a leader be convincing and motivate those he proposes to lead? Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King shows us the answers.