A New Parallax Course on Belonging Again: An Address

O.G. Rose
3 min readMay 23, 2024

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Starting July 2024

Course Information

Our identities, religions, nationalities, occupations, life choices, philosophies, political ideologies, political leaders — none of these are “given” anymore: whatever we face, we find ourselves full of questions. “Is this true? Is this best? Is this valid?” We live during what James Joyce in “The Dead” called ‘a thought-tormented age,’ which, as James K.A. Smith put it when writing on Charles Taylor, is to say that our world is a ‘contested, cross-pressured, haunted world […] [T]raditional definitions of reality which previously provided stable [guides] for living everyday life (in courtship, marriage, child-rearing, religious faith and practice, interpersonal exchange and the like) are increasingly fluid, fragmented, and deprived of plausibility.’ Might this prove to be an opportunity though? Indeed, it might.

Belonging Again describes our sociological moment where nothing is “given” and yet we find ourselves forced to confront the inescapable reality that freedom isn’t always free. We’re able to be whoever we want to be, but this was made possible by emptying our possibilities of significance. Everything is just like everything else, and so we find ourselves like that donkey between two equal-sized piles of grain of grain: starving, unable to choose, and tempted to flee. If we’re not going to seclude ourselves or engage in some exodus though, we must find a way to achieve “rest” and “belonging” around others who are very different from us and in a world that is ever-changing. And none of this is “natural,” suggesting we will have to become “super-natural” or something — somehow. Furthermore, we will have to “scale” the conditions which make this possible, and how can that be done without slipping into oppression and totalitarianism? The challenge is great.

Part I of Belonging Again attempted to explain our circumstance through thinkers like Peter Berger, Philip Rieff, and James Hunter. Part II will work to address our circumstance, arguing what it would mean to think economics, politics, sociology, and the like in light of the arguments of Belonging Again. In this, our aim is to show that in “The Meaning Crisis” there can be reason to hope.

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O.G. Rose

Iowa. Broken Pencil. Allegory. Write Launch. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M. Poydras. Toho. ellipsis. O:JA&L. West Trade. UNO. Pushcart. https://linktr.ee/ogrose