Is Empathy the Essence of Soul Music?

DENIS BALIBOUSE / REUTERS The genre’s sound, sentiments, and politics all aim for the same connection. by SPENCER KORNHABER One of the saxophonist Kirk Whalum’s earliest memories is of hearing beautiful music in the black Baptist church where his father pastored, and detesting it. “I love the Lord, he heard my cries,” the congregants had sung, with each syllable landing upon a different note. The hymn “reminded me of my grandmother,” Whalum said in a session about “The Genius of Soul” at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is cosponsored by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. “My grandmother was a domestic. … Continue reading Is Empathy the Essence of Soul Music?

The Strange Brain of the World’s Greatest Solo Climber

ON EDGE: In 2008, “as a matter of pride,” Honnold walked across Thank God Ledge, while free-climbing Half Dome in Yosemite. Later, he wrote, “Walking face-out across Thank God Ledge is surprisingly scary.” Alex Honnold doesn’t experience fear like the rest of us. BY J.B. MACKINNON Alex Honnold has his own verb. “To honnold”—usually written as “honnolding”—is to stand in some high, precarious place with your back to the wall, looking straight into the abyss. To face fear, literally. The verb was inspired by photographs of Honnold in precisely that position on Thank God Ledge, located 1,800 feet off the deck … Continue reading The Strange Brain of the World’s Greatest Solo Climber

What are natural foods?

Apricots by Arnout van Albada. Egg tempera and oil on panel. 2011. The glass of orange juice at the breakfast table tells a tale about what’s natural, what’s whole and what’s healthy for us by Joseph LaPorte is professor of philosophy at Hope College. His writing has appeared in The Journal of Philosophy, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. Edited by Sam Dresser What is a ‘natural’ food product? One common suggestion is that ‘natural’ things are not made of chemicals. But the whole biological world is chemicals! Another suggestion: natural products are not genetically modified (that is, a GMO). Alas, … Continue reading What are natural foods?