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This adverse reaction has also pointed out by Mittelstadt et al. Indeed, privacy concerns have split a large share of academia as privacy often contradicts modern research practices. For example, a large proportion of research community urges for loosened privacy regulation and increased trust on the research ethics arguing that the fact researchers can identify individuals and all of their actions is a necessary trade-off for high quality research [ 48 ] while others argue that the regulation does not fully grapple with the challenges posed by big data and a way forward would be the experimentation with a more flexible approach to regulation through the creative use of codes of conduct [ 49 ].

All these arguments against strict privacy regulations are based on the inevitably reality that data utility decreases when privacy increases, a fact that urges data driven business world to warn against the overly broad regulatory definitions of personal data and to highlight that regulations on data protection and privacy may preclude economic and societal benefits [ 50 ].

Notwithstanding this clash, most scholars agree that there cannot exists big data without privacy since the protection of personal data is, first of all, in the interest of the big data analytics service providers who will ultimately have to cope with this challenge [ 51 ]. The GDPR, taking into account both risks and challenges that big data may bring upon citizens, introduced the new legal term of pseudonymization Article 4 5 in order to describe data that could be attributed to a natural person by the use of additional information, which must be kept separately and be subject to technical and organizational measures to ensure non-attribution.

While the use of pseudonymization is encouraged in many occasions, pseudonymized information is still considered a form of personal data and hence, a value to protect. Next, the basic data protection principles of the GDPR, and mainly the two newly introduced rights, will be elaborated. According to many legal scholars, the most important contribution to EU personal data processing by the GDPR is the choice of the instrument itself, since the moderation of EU data protection through a regulation, rather than a Directive, constitutes a turning point for EU signaling a forced exit of this particular field of law from Member State level to EU level [ 52 ].

Nevertheless, disappointing many privacy advocates, the final version of the GDPR still has a large number of provisions that leave room for national interpretations and approaches depending on the culture, focus and priorities of the supervising authorities. The main data protection principles in the GDPR are revised but are broadly similar to the principles set out in the DPD: fairness, lawfulness and transparency Article 5 1 a ; purpose limitation Article 5 1 b ; data minimization Article 5 1 c ; accuracy Article 5 1 d ; storage limitation Article 5 1 e ; accountability Article 5 2 ; integrity and confidentiality Article 5 1 f.

Furthermore, the GDPR extends the provision on automated individual decision-making, to include profiling cases as a prime example of enabling individuals to control their personal data in the context of automated decision-making Article 22 and hence acts as crucial function for mitigating the risks of big data and automated decision making for individual rights and freedoms. While the portability right seems reasonable and has been welcomed by the majority of public and private organizations, there are some other rights that have raised great concerns and stipulated long debates between scholars within law, privacy and ethics disciplines.

These two controversial rights will be extensively discussed hereafter and potential frameworks and methods will be evaluated against their feasible implementation. Consent aims at providing legitimate grounds to data controllers for collecting, processing or even disseminating personal data for secondary use. While consenting is one among several available legal grounds to process personal data under all data protection regulations up to date, is undoubtedly the most global standard of legitimacy and most likely to engender user trust [ 46 ].

Even though consent may have various forms with similar flavours, such as informed, explicit, unambiguous or broad, each of these forms is quite diverse in nature and their use have been intensively debated for their utilization in online environments and research projects. Informed consent can be said to have been given based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications and consequences of an action.

Flashing back, informed consent was a cornerstone of the Nuremberg Code ethical guidelines originated in the pre-World War II Germany and specify that informed consent is not only essential for safety, protection and respect for participants, but also for the integrity of research itself [ 53 ]. For obtaining an explicit consent participants should give consent through an explicit affirmative action, such as by answering a specific question, in written or oral form, about their willingness to participate.

On the other side, broad consent involves agreeing to a broad set of potential secondary future uses under a particular governance framework and has been widely adopted as the standard practice in many genetic registries and biobanks. The academic discussions on whether the user consent in online research and marketing should be informed and explicit [ 55—58 ] or broad [ 59—60 ] is heated and the relevant literature is split, while many academics have argued in both ways [ 61—62 ] or in favour of additional countermeasures [ 63—65 ].

Meanwhile, other conceptions of consent have also been proposed, like the collaborative consent [ 61 , 66 ], the dynamic consent model [ 67 , 65 ] which is actually a tool that could better facilitate the process of obtaining any form of consent, and recently, the notion of meta-consent [ 68 ]. Another rising tension for the use of consent comes from the potential benefits of big data analysis and the need for explicit or informed consent [ 69 ]. Let alone that new classes of goods and services usually reside in future and unanticipated uses [ 70 , 50 , 35 ].

This motivated many radical voices to argue against the need for consent which may jeopardize innovation and beneficial societal advances [ 47 ] and therefore, its role should be circumscribed with respect to prospective data uses and, in specific cases, consent should not be required to legitimize data use. Still, for other scholars [ 52 , 35 ] consent requirements are the last defence for individuals against the loss of control on their personal information processing and thus, eliminating or reducing the need for informed consent cannot be accepted uncritically and seemingly without public debate, particularly if democratic ideals are valued.

The notion of consent revocation, or withdrawal, has also been brought into light recently, with many to argue for a right to revoke consent and for a more user friendly and personalized consent mechanism [ 71—72 ]. The principle of consent withdrawal within the Human Computer Interaction HCI context has been studied in many ethical research projects, with Benford et al.

In addition, providing auditable, privacy friendly proof of compliance when and how the revocation has been achieved is a challenge both technologically and legally [ 18 ]. For instance, the advancements towards privacy-enabled networks and infrastructures puzzles some academics [ 75 ] who afraid that the same mechanisms have been put in place to protect the privacy of data like de-identification may actually make it very difficult to trace and remove individual derived data in order to allow participants to withdraw completely their consent and be forgotten.

In such situations, as Kaye [ 75 ] underscores, it may be only possible to prohibit the entry of new information and samples into the system. Apart from these practical difficulties, there are also economic and public-good arguments for disallowing absolute withdrawal. For instance, in the bio-banking field complete withdrawal could lead to the wastage of resources invested in bio-repositories [ 75—76 ] whereas the practice of archiving qualitative research data for substantive secondary analysis can be significantly challenged under the revocation mechanism for withdrawing consent [ 77 ].

Due to these immense consequences, many academics and legal experts questioning the concept of consent withdrawal. Lately, cases of bad practices regarding obtaining consent have been observed extensively.

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It should be noted that in the study no user consent was ever required on the grounds that users were already given broad consent when they signed in to use the social network. As Gleibs emphasizes in [ 53 ], even though the statistical effect of the manipulation was small, their intervention might have had the potential to change the outcome of the Congressional elections in , and although the study influenced behaviour with good intentions, the techniques employed could be used to influence political protest or anti-democratic behaviour in countries with little democratic traditions [ 53 ].

In another research study [ 82 ], a group of Danish researchers publicly released a dataset of nearly 70 users of the online dating site OkCupid, including usernames, age, gender, location, relationship or sex preference, personality traits, and answers to thousands of profiling questions used by the site 9. Researchers excused themselves for not obtaining users consent by stating that the data were already public.

Although the number of research projects not obtaining consent for exploiting personal data is quite large, the failures of the past e. Aside research however, and for offering suicidal users a second chance, Samaritans, a leading suicide prevention charity, launched few years ago the Radar App, 10 an app designed to tell Twitter users which of the people they follow might be feeling low by using an algorithm to identify key words and phrases in their tweets that indicated distress or a mentally vulnerable state and notifying their followers accordingly.

Ultimately, these practices led to the closure of the UK national program Care.

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The above examples are just a small fragment illustrating the chaos and uncertainty that dominate industry, academic and public institutions in obtaining and revoking consent for personal data use in ubiquitous computing systems and big data analytics. Although this gap is usually expected to be addressed by ethical guidelines and policies, it is the terrestrial legislation the one that will enforce common handling against various interpretations of national policies.

Therefore, the long awaited GDPR regulation had raised great expectations in dealing with such sensitive issues. Since the early years of the GDPR introduction, the consent obligations for research, imposed by the regulation, have been extensively criticized by the academic and medical community [ 86—89 ].

Besides these derogations, overall the GDPR creates additional hurdles for consent over what was required by the directive. Additionally, consent has to be easily withdrawn and not to be assumed from inaction. Inevitably, these requirements translate to the amendment of many current data protection notices. However, it has been underscored [ 52 ] that the GDPR document evidently constitutes the next-best option in order to warrant a significant level of protection as it appears relevant with the contemporary processing needs.

On the other hand, since data that do not pertain to natural persons are beyond the scope of the GDPR, it is argued that it fails to protect individuals in the case of automated algorithmic decisions that do not target individuals but affect their lives [ 33 ]. Notwithstanding this deficiency, the GDPR anticipates for a right to withdraw revoke consent, a fact that has been warmly applauded since this explicit reference to the right to withdraw consent was missing from the DPD [ 73 , 92 ]. Under this right, the data subject has the right to withdraw consent at any time, but the revocation is foreseen only for future processing of personal data and therefore the data controller should not use his data for future assessments and processing, i.

Hence, this notion of non-retroactive revocation is not affected by the progress of informational privacy infrastructures and neither devaluates already conducted research. This also complies with the Opinion on the definition of consent [ 93 ] published in by the Article 29 Working Party, 15 which specifies that withdrawal is exercised for the future, not for the data processing that took place in the past, in the period during which the data was collected legitimately. Decisions or processes previously taken on the basis of this information can therefore not be simply annulled.

Article 7, however, does leave open for interpretation whether this provision about consent affects, apart the processing—which does not— , the storage of the data themselves on which the withdrawal applies, and therefore it does not clarify if it requires the erasure of the data upon their revocation of consent under which they were first collected. Supplementary to the right to revoke consent, two more powerful rights have been foreseen under the GDPR, the right to object Article 21 and the right to restriction of processing Article Although the right to object is specified also in DPD where compelling legitimate grounds must be demonstrated by the data subject in order to object to the processing of personal data, under the GDPR the definition of the right to object is significantly expanded since the burden is put on the data controller to demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds when a data subject is objecting to processing based on public interest Article 6 1 e or the legitimate interests of the controller Article 6 1 f.

By exercising the right to restriction of processing data subjects have the right to restrict the processing of personal data when the conditions specified in Article 18 1 apply, and consequently the data may only be stored by the controller, but they cannot be further processed. For the functional implementation of feasible consent mechanisms, many frameworks, both legal and technical, have been proposed over the past few years.

An indicative portion of them are presented here. Within the medical field, an option, from legal perspective, for implementing informed consent efficiently is not to implement any constraints at consent at all! It allows participants who are willing to relinquish control of their personal information to attach a one-time research consent to their health and genetic data, which they upload themselves onto the web site [ 94 ]. Participants may withdraw their data from the database at any time, but they are clearly advised that once data are uploaded it may not be possible to remove it from all sources for example, from researchers who have already downloaded, shared, or used the data.

This Portable Legal Consent requires participants to go through rigorous consent processes and demand honesty and trust from both researchers as well as participants [ 53 ]. Almost a decade ago, researchers, in an attempt to provide a technical solution for granting and revoking consent under the DPD requirements, proposed an approach that provides for a verifiable and revocable expression of consent and allows services to gain a proof of consent even for aggregated personal data [ 95 ].

The solution builds on a digitally signed hash tree and reuses Public Key Infrastructure PKI mechanisms, especially certificates and certificate revocation, in order to cater for changes in the expression of consent and to allow the vanish of a once established consent, all accomplished without the need of a direct relationship or the iterative involvement of the data subject. However, as explained in [ 95 ], the solution does not avoid the non-consented processing of data. Giving and revoking consent effectively has been the scope of many research projects, like EnCoRe Ensuring Consent and Revocation , a large, cross-disciplinary project in UK.

The project investigated how to improve the rigour with which individuals can grant and, more importantly, revoke their consent to the use, storage and sharing of their personal data by others [ 96 ]. One of the main research goals was to ensure revocation compliance throughout the supply chain, i. It was within the EnCoRe project that the notion of dynamic consent was first coined by Professor Kaye and her team [ 97 ] as a way to provide dynamic and granular options for revocation in system design [ 96 ].

Urquhart et al. In their work, they are taking different elements of the trajectories framework; time, actors, space, interface, and map them onto designing consent processes that enable mechanisms for informing, obtaining and withdrawing consent. The extensive use of state-of-the-art privacy agents, which enable people to configure their privacy preferences and exchange these preferences with data controllers through personal information policy exchange protocols, is analysed in [ ].

As a proof of concept, recently researchers from the UK designed and developed an Apple mobile health app [ ] for demonstrating the requirement of supporting informed consent and withdrawal in research projects. They implemented a custom-built module for consent, similar to the ResearchKit provided by Apple, whose functionality supports gaining informed consent, displaying template forms upon first launch, and allowing the collection of digital signatures. Although the researchers provided the choice for a complete data withdrawal from the study, they designed this functionality as a multi-step process in order to avoid situation where users withdraw data by mistake.

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To this end, users access a dashboard which allows them to manage which OSP accesses what data and when, and easily revoke or grant access to the data. In the same context, various web standards have emerged for the specification and implementation of consent procedures in online environments. While UMA has been under development for several years, its specifications have now been stabilized and support multiple implementations and a widening variety of use cases.

The authorization policies that anticipated to be used in conjunction with the UMA is the eXtensible Access Control Markup Language XACML , 20 which defines a declarative fine-grained, attribute-based access control policy language, an architecture and a processing model describing how to evaluate access requests according to the rules defined in policies.

Kantara Initiative also supports the standardization effort of Consent Receipt, 21 a form of signed receipts in a JSON Web Token Format which can be used to improve existing consent mechanisms against the requirements specified by regulations, and in particular the GDPR.

In conjunction with UMA mechanisms, consent receipt can be used as a tool for demonstrating effective personal control over data. Thus, people can track sharing with third parties, like third parties can track people. Beyond the above, other national wide efforts across EU countries have also been initiated aiming at the development of nationally and internationally interoperable models for personal data management. Examples are the MyData Initiative in Finland, 23 which specifies reference architecture to provide a rigid framework for consent and data authorization management via a standard and interoperable mechanism, 24 and the Consent Group within the Personal Data and Trust Network in the UK, 25 which aims at using next generation standards in consent and facilitating the use of consent-based trust in digital framework use cases.

Evidently, since the publication of the final text of the GDPR and the new requirements brought upon the Privacy Shield agreement, 26 the technical discussions on the feasibility of granting and revoking a simple, informed, unambiguous and declarative consent, along with its receipt as a proof of discourse, have been intensified. The Real Consent Workshops, which is the combined effort from big standard initiatives like Kantara and Digital Catapult, intent to delve into the gap between the type of consent people find meaningful and what we have online today.

In parallel, the Open Consent Framework is an approach to operationalize standard notices with a trust framework, i. Forgetting previously collected personal data, obtained either because the user has once submitted them or because an online service has sneakily scrapped them, has been for long a disputable and controversial matter the European Commission attempted to untangle with legislation. Given the notably infeasibility for users to maintain control of their data, their diffusion and their subsequent uses once they were collected, the right aims at counterbalancing this luck of transparency on personal data processing.

The right evolves from the need for forgetting which, according to Bannon [ ], is a central feature of our lives, yet it is a topic that has relatively little serious investigation in the human and social sciences. He outlines that judicious forgetting is of fundamental value both for individuals and societies, a necessary human activity and not simply a bug in the design of the human.

Although we most often live under the assumption that remembering and commemorating is usually a virtue and forgetting is necessarily a failing, many scholars argue otherwise [ — ]. Memory processes have always contained both the practices of forgetting and of remembering since our memory is a combination of what we remember about our past, what we may have forgotten about it, and what we wish to forget. Even within the justice system, we see the development of practices that require certain kinds of deliberate forgetting after a period, in order to allow people to have a new start in life and not be haunted by an indiscretion many years earlier [ ].

The importance of forgetting—whether by individuals, groups, organizations or even nations—has been observed and commented by scientists, historians, politicians, philosophers, writers and poets through the ages. It allows us to generalize and abstract from individual experiences. It enables us to accept that humans, like all life, change over time.

Although in the paper-and-ink world, as explained in [ ], the sheer cumbersomeness of archiving and later finding information often implied and promoted a form of institutional forgetfulness—a situation with parallels to human memory, in the digital world our digital records constitute an array of potential memories, the very existence of which may compromise our ability to forget, or move on [ — ].

Whereas in the past forgetting was the default, due to the cost and rigour embroiled in remembering, digital age changed this assumption and caused the balance of remembering and forgetting to be inverted and thus forgetting to be the exception [ ]. Yet, computer scientists have not given a lot of thought on the phenomenon of forgetting as the capacity of modern computers to store everything and never forget has been considered always as a want-to-have feature.

However, according to Blanchette and Johnson [ ], who were among the first computer scientists to have envisioned the need for forgetting within the information systems, privacy policies must address not only collection and access to transactional information, but also its timely disposal as part of a broader and comprehensive policy approach [ ]. In this regard, Dodge and Kitchin [ ] had been arguing, almost a decade ago, that rather than seeing forgetting as a weakness or fallibility, it must be seen as an emancipatory process that will free pervasive computing from burdensome and pernicious disciplinary effects.

Search engines, most notably Google Search, stand at the heart of this panoptic architecture of the Internet [ ] as web enables the retention of large quantities of personal micro-information over time, which can provide for an extremely detailed reflection of our past. Ironically, the free flow of information threatens to undermine our freedom in the future.

Indeed, examples of the devastating consequences of digital forgetfulness are spread across the literature. Indicative cases are the teacher who lost her job over a photo of her holding a glass of wine posted on Facebook, 30 and more recently, the case of Harvard University who withdrew acceptance of 10 freshmen over to their offensive postings in a group Facebook chat.

Undoubtedly, with the rising of WEB 3. Semantic web technologies integrated into, or powering, large-scale web applications and Linked Data best practices for publishing and connecting structured data on the web [ ] contribute to the boosting of personalization and contextualization of information. The dominance of intelligent search services and the efficient inferences produced by Artificial Intelligence algorithms pave the way for the endless information dissemination and the vitiation of forgetfulness.

Consequently, the need for forgetting in digital age has begun to occupy more and more computer scientists who are beginning to realize that forgetting is an essential part of HCI systems. For example, in recent years attempts have been made for modelling forgetting in robotic devices in order to support a more realistic and natural digital illusion of life experience [ ]. Additionally, the value of intentional forgetting at situations in which people may be highly motivated to forget has been studied so as to provide implications for designing complex practices associated with problematic disposal of digital possessions [ ].

Amidst the social and philosophical discussions on the criticality of forgetfulness in digital era, in the Court of Justice of the European Union CJEU tried to tackle the need for forgetting through the infamous Google Spain decision which forced Google to take down harmful personal information from its search results [ , 92 ].

This provoked an intense debate between CNIL and Google which appealed to this request and the final decision is being longingly awaited. Yet, contrary to general impression, it has been pointed out by many scholars [ , , 92 ] and the Commission itself that the Google Spain judgement does not create a RtbF, as the CJEU could not enforce a right that does not exist in the current legislation, but simply applies the RtbF which was already present although not explicitly mentioned in the existing legal framework, extending the lawfully published information right and the right to object.

Still, the decision planted the seeds to affirm something that goes in the direction of the RtbF [ 92 ]. This was considered by some, such as Gorzeman and Korenhof [ ], as an elegant solution: history is still retained and accessible, but the access is less easy. This would limit the application to cases only where the information to be deleted is both damning and irrelevant. Censorship would be if the offending records themselves were expunged, and that is not what the court ruled. Back in , EU, in an attempt to respond to the challenges posed by digital remembering and having as ultimate goal to give control of personal data back to individuals, proposed the RtbF in its recently adopted regulation.

The right evolves from the national law in many European countries like France where the Right to Oblivion is anticipated. The thirst for truth is so rooted in the human heart that to be obliged to ignore it would cast our existence into jeopardy. Everyday life shows well enough how each one of us is preoccupied by the pressure of a few fundamental questions and how in the soul of each of us there is at least an outline of the answers.

One reason why the truth of these answers convinces is that they are no different in substance from the answers to which many others have come. To be sure, not every truth to which we come has the same value. But the sum of the results achieved confirms that in principle the human being can arrive at the truth. It may help, then, to turn briefly to the different modes of truth. Most of them depend upon immediate evidence or are confirmed by experimentation. This is the mode of truth proper to everyday life and to scientific research. At another level we find philosophical truth, attained by means of the speculative powers of the human intellect.

Finally, there are religious truths which are to some degree grounded in philosophy, and which we find in the answers which the different religious traditions offer to the ultimate questions. The truths of philosophy, it should be said, are not restricted only to the sometimes ephemeral teachings of professional philosophers.

All men and women, as I have noted, are in some sense philosophers and have their own philosophical conceptions with which they direct their lives. In one way or other, they shape a comprehensive vision and an answer to the question of life's meaning; and in the light of this they interpret their own life's course and regulate their behaviour. At this point, we may pose the question of the link between, on the one hand, the truths of philosophy and religion and, on the other, the truth revealed in Jesus Christ.

But before tackling that question, one last datum of philosophy needs to be weighed. Human beings are not made to live alone. They are born into a family and in a family they grow, eventually entering society through their activity. From birth, therefore, they are immersed in traditions which give them not only a language and a cultural formation but also a range of truths in which they believe almost instinctively.

Yet personal growth and maturity imply that these same truths can be cast into doubt and evaluated through a process of critical enquiry. Nonetheless, there are in the life of a human being many more truths which are simply believed than truths which are acquired by way of personal verification.

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Who, for instance, could assess critically the countless scientific findings upon which modern life is based? Who could personally examine the flow of information which comes day after day from all parts of the world and which is generally accepted as true? Who in the end could forge anew the paths of experience and thought which have yielded the treasures of human wisdom and religion?

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This means that the human being—the one who seeks the truth—is also the one who lives by belief. In believing, we entrust ourselves to the knowledge acquired by other people. This suggests an important tension. On the one hand, the knowledge acquired through belief can seem an imperfect form of knowledge, to be perfected gradually through personal accumulation of evidence; on the other hand, belief is often humanly richer than mere evidence, because it involves an interpersonal relationship and brings into play not only a person's capacity to know but also the deeper capacity to entrust oneself to others, to enter into a relationship with them which is intimate and enduring.

It should be stressed that the truths sought in this interpersonal relationship are not primarily empirical or philosophical. Rather, what is sought is the truth of the person —what the person is and what the person reveals from deep within. Human perfection, then, consists not simply in acquiring an abstract knowledge of the truth, but in a dynamic relationship of faithful self-giving with others.

It is in this faithful self-giving that a person finds a fullness of certainty and security. At the same time, however, knowledge through belief, grounded as it is on trust between persons, is linked to truth: in the act of believing, men and women entrust themselves to the truth which the other declares to them. Any number of examples could be found to demonstrate this; but I think immediately of the martyrs, who are the most authentic witnesses to the truth about existence.

The martyrs know that they have found the truth about life in the encounter with Jesus Christ, and nothing and no-one could ever take this certainty from them. Neither suffering nor violent death could ever lead them to abandon the truth which they have discovered in the encounter with Christ. This is why to this day the witness of the martyrs continues to arouse such interest, to draw agreement, to win such a hearing and to invite emulation. This is why their word inspires such confidence: from the moment they speak to us of what we perceive deep down as the truth we have sought for so long, the martyrs provide evidence of a love that has no need of lengthy arguments in order to convince.

The martyrs stir in us a profound trust because they give voice to what we already feel and they declare what we would like to have the strength to express. Step by step, then, we are assembling the terms of the question. It is the nature of the human being to seek the truth. This search looks not only to the attainment of truths which are partial, empirical or scientific; nor is it only in individual acts of decision-making that people seek the true good.

Their search looks towards an ulterior truth which would explain the meaning of life. And it is therefore a search which can reach its end only in reaching the absolute. Such a truth—vital and necessary as it is for life—is attained not only by way of reason but also through trusting acquiescence to other persons who can guarantee the authenticity and certainty of the truth itself. There is no doubt that the capacity to entrust oneself and one's life to another person and the decision to do so are among the most significant and expressive human acts.

It must not be forgotten that reason too needs to be sustained in all its searching by trusting dialogue and sincere friendship. A climate of suspicion and distrust, which can beset speculative research, ignores the teaching of the ancient philosophers who proposed friendship as one of the most appropriate contexts for sound philosophical enquiry. From all that I have said to this point it emerges that men and women are on a journey of discovery which is humanly unstoppable—a search for the truth and a search for a person to whom they might entrust themselves.

Christian faith comes to meet them, offering the concrete possibility of reaching the goal which they seek. Moving beyond the stage of simple believing, Christian faith immerses human beings in the order of grace, which enables them to share in the mystery of Christ, which in turn offers them a true and coherent knowledge of the Triune God. In Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, faith recognizes the ultimate appeal to humanity, an appeal made in order that what we experience as desire and nostalgia may come to its fulfilment.

This truth, which God reveals to us in Jesus Christ, is not opposed to the truths which philosophy perceives. On the contrary, the two modes of knowledge lead to truth in all its fullness. The unity of truth is a fundamental premise of human reasoning, as the principle of non-contradiction makes clear. Revelation renders this unity certain, showing that the God of creation is also the God of salvation history. It is the one and the same God who establishes and guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things upon which scientists confidently depend, 29 and who reveals himself as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph ; Col He is the eternal Word in whom all things were created, and he is the incarnate Word who in his entire person 30 reveals the Father cf. Jn , Jn of everything which was created in him and through him and which therefore in him finds its fulfilment cf. Col On the basis of these broad considerations, we must now explore more directly the relationship between revealed truth and philosophy. This relationship imposes a twofold consideration, since the truth conferred by Revelation is a truth to be understood in the light of reason.

It is this duality alone which allows us to specify correctly the relationship between revealed truth and philosophical learning. First, then, let us consider the links between faith and philosophy in the course of history. From this, certain principles will emerge as useful reference-points in the attempt to establish the correct link between the two orders of knowledge. The Acts of the Apostles provides evidence that Christian proclamation was engaged from the very first with the philosophical currents of the time. This is by no means accidental. They had to point as well to natural knowledge of God and to the voice of conscience in every human being cf.

Rom ; ; Acts Since in pagan religion this natural knowledge had lapsed into idolatry cf. Rom , the Apostle judged it wiser in his speech to make the link with the thinking of the philosophers, who had always set in opposition to the myths and mystery cults notions more respectful of divine transcendence.

One of the major concerns of classical philosophy was to purify human notions of God of mythological elements. We know that Greek religion, like most cosmic religions, was polytheistic, even to the point of divinizing natural things and phenomena. Human attempts to understand the origin of the gods and hence the origin of the universe find their earliest expression in poetry; and the theogonies remain the first evidence of this human search.

But it was the task of the fathers of philosophy to bring to light the link between reason and religion. As they broadened their view to include universal principles, they no longer rested content with the ancient myths, but wanted to provide a rational foundation for their belief in the divinity. This opened a path which took its rise from ancient traditions but allowed a development satisfying the demands of universal reason. This development sought to acquire a critical awareness of what they believed in, and the concept of divinity was the prime beneficiary of this.

Superstitions were recognized for what they were and religion was, at least in part, purified by rational analysis. It was on this basis that the Fathers of the Church entered into fruitful dialogue with ancient philosophy, which offered new ways of proclaiming and understanding the God of Jesus Christ. In tracing Christianity's adoption of philosophy, one should not forget how cautiously Christians regarded other elements of the cultural world of paganism, one example of which is gnosticism. It was easy to confuse philosophy—understood as practical wisdom and an education for life—with a higher and esoteric kind of knowledge, reserved to those few who were perfect.

The Apostle's words seem all too pertinent now if we apply them to the various kinds of esoteric superstition widespread today, even among some believers who lack a proper critical sense. Following Saint Paul, other writers of the early centuries, especially Saint Irenaeus and Tertullian, sound the alarm when confronted with a cultural perspective which sought to subordinate the truth of Revelation to the interpretation of the philosophers.

Christianity's engagement with philosophy was therefore neither straight-forward nor immediate. The practice of philosophy and attendance at philosophical schools seemed to the first Christians more of a disturbance than an opportunity. For them, the first and most urgent task was the proclamation of the Risen Christ by way of a personal encounter which would bring the listener to conversion of heart and the request for Baptism.

But that does not mean that they ignored the task of deepening the understanding of faith and its motivations. Quite the contrary. Their initial disinterest is to be explained on other grounds. The encounter with the Gospel offered such a satisfying answer to the hitherto unresolved question of life's meaning that delving into the philosophers seemed to them something remote and in some ways outmoded. That seems still more evident today, if we think of Christianity's contribution to the affirmation of the right of everyone to have access to the truth.

In dismantling barriers of race, social status and gender, Christianity proclaimed from the first the equality of all men and women before God. One prime implication of this touched the theme of truth. The elitism which had characterized the ancients' search for truth was clearly abandoned. Since access to the truth enables access to God, it must be denied to none. There are many paths which lead to truth, but since Christian truth has a salvific value, any one of these paths may be taken, as long as it leads to the final goal, that is to the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

A pioneer of positive engagement with philosophical thinking—albeit with cautious discernment—was Saint Justin. It is clear from history, then, that Christian thinkers were critical in adopting philosophical thought. Among the early examples of this, Origen is certainly outstanding. In countering the attacks launched by the philosopher Celsus, Origen adopts Platonic philosophy to shape his argument and mount his reply.

Assuming many elements of Platonic thought, he begins to construct an early form of Christian theology. In Aristotelian philosophy, for example, the name signified the noblest part and the true summit of philosophical discourse. But in the light of Christian Revelation what had signified a generic doctrine about the gods assumed a wholly new meaning, signifying now the reflection undertaken by the believer in order to express the true doctrine about God. As it developed, this new Christian thought made use of philosophy, but at the same time tended to distinguish itself clearly from philosophy.

History shows how Platonic thought, once adopted by theology, underwent profound changes, especially with regard to concepts such as the immortality of the soul, the divinization of man and the origin of evil. In this work of christianizing Platonic and Neo-Platonic thought, the Cappadocian Fathers, Dionysius called the Areopagite and especially Saint Augustine were important. The great Doctor of the West had come into contact with different philosophical schools, but all of them left him disappointed.

It was when he encountered the truth of Christian faith that he found strength to undergo the radical conversion to which the philosophers he had known had been powerless to lead him. In him too the great unity of knowledge, grounded in the thought of the Bible, was both confirmed and sustained by a depth of speculative thinking. The synthesis devised by Saint Augustine remained for centuries the most exalted form of philosophical and theological speculation known to the West. Reinforced by his personal story and sustained by a wonderful holiness of life, he could also introduce into his works a range of material which, drawing on experience, was a prelude to future developments in different currents of philosophy.

The ways in which the Fathers of East and West engaged the philosophical schools were, therefore, quite different.

Philosophical divide

This does not mean that they identified the content of their message with the systems to which they referred. The Academy with the Church? They were not naive thinkers. Precisely because they were intense in living faith's content they were able to reach the deepest forms of speculation.

It is therefore minimalizing and mistaken to restrict their work simply to the transposition of the truths of faith into philosophical categories. They did much more. In fact they succeeded in disclosing completely all that remained implicit and preliminary in the thinking of the great philosophers of antiquity. Purified and rightly tuned, therefore, reason could rise to the higher planes of thought, providing a solid foundation for the perception of being, of the transcendent and of the absolute.

It is here that we see the originality of what the Fathers accomplished. They fully welcomed reason which was open to the absolute, and they infused it with the richness drawn from Revelation. This was more than a meeting of cultures, with one culture perhaps succumbing to the fascination of the other. It happened rather in the depths of human souls, and it was a meeting of creature and Creator. Surpassing the goal towards which it unwittingly tended by dint of its nature, reason attained the supreme good and ultimate truth in the person of the Word made flesh.

Faced with the various philosophies, the Fathers were not afraid to acknowledge those elements in them that were consonant with Revelation and those that were not. Recognition of the points of convergence did not blind them to the points of divergence. In Scholastic theology, the role of philosophically trained reason becomes even more conspicuous under the impulse of Saint Anselm's interpretation of the intellectus fidei. For the saintly Archbishop of Canterbury the priority of faith is not in competition with the search which is proper to reason. Reason in fact is not asked to pass judgement on the contents of faith, something of which it would be incapable, since this is not its function.

Its function is rather to find meaning, to discover explanations which might allow everyone to come to a certain understanding of the contents of faith. Saint Anselm underscores the fact that the intellect must seek that which it loves: the more it loves, the more it desires to know.

But is there anything so incomprehensible and ineffable as that which is above all things? Therefore, if that which until now has been a matter of debate concerning the highest essence has been established on the basis of due reasoning, then the foundation of one's certainty is not shaken in the least if the intellect cannot penetrate it in a way that allows clear formulation.

If prior thought has concluded rationally that one cannot comprehend rationabiliter comprehendit incomprehensibile esse how supernal wisdom knows its own accomplishments The fundamental harmony between the knowledge of faith and the knowledge of philosophy is once again confirmed. Faith asks that its object be understood with the help of reason; and at the summit of its searching reason acknowledges that it cannot do without what faith presents.

A quite special place in this long development belongs to Saint Thomas, not only because of what he taught but also because of the dialogue which he undertook with the Arab and Jewish thought of his time. In an age when Christian thinkers were rediscovering the treasures of ancient philosophy, and more particularly of Aristotle, Thomas had the great merit of giving pride of place to the harmony which exists between faith and reason. Both the light of reason and the light of faith come from God, he argued; hence there can be no contradiction between them.

More radically, Thomas recognized that nature, philosophy's proper concern, could contribute to the understanding of divine Revelation. Faith therefore has no fear of reason, but seeks it out and has trust in it. Just as grace builds on nature and brings it to fulfilment, 45 so faith builds upon and perfects reason.

Illumined by faith, reason is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God. Although he made much of the supernatural character of faith, the Angelic Doctor did not overlook the importance of its reasonableness; indeed he was able to plumb the depths and explain the meaning of this reasonableness.

This is why the Church has been justified in consistently proposing Saint Thomas as a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology. He passed therefore into the history of Christian thought as a pioneer of the new path of philosophy and universal culture. Another of the great insights of Saint Thomas was his perception of the role of the Holy Spirit in the process by which knowledge matures into wisdom. From the first pages of his Summa Theologiae , 48 Aquinas was keen to show the primacy of the wisdom which is the gift of the Holy Spirit and which opens the way to a knowledge of divine realities.

His theology allows us to understand what is distinctive of wisdom in its close link with faith and knowledge of the divine. This second wisdom is acquired through study, but the first 'comes from on high', as Saint James puts it. This also distinguishes it from faith, since faith accepts divine truth as it is.

Yet the priority accorded this wisdom does not lead the Angelic Doctor to overlook the presence of two other complementary forms of wisdom— philosophical wisdom, which is based upon the capacity of the intellect, for all its natural limitations, to explore reality, and theological wisdom, which is based upon Revelation and which explores the contents of faith, entering the very mystery of God. He sought truth wherever it might be found and gave consummate demonstration of its universality.

With the rise of the first universities, theology came more directly into contact with other forms of learning and scientific research. Although they insisted upon the organic link between theology and philosophy, Saint Albert the Great and Saint Thomas were the first to recognize the autonomy which philosophy and the sciences needed if they were to perform well in their respective fields of research.

From the late Medieval period onwards, however, the legitimate distinction between the two forms of learning became more and more a fateful separation. As a result of the exaggerated rationalism of certain thinkers, positions grew more radical and there emerged eventually a philosophy which was separate from and absolutely independent of the contents of faith. Another of the many consequences of this separation was an ever deeper mistrust with regard to reason itself. In a spirit both sceptical and agnostic, some began to voice a general mistrust, which led some to focus more on faith and others to deny its rationality altogether.

In short, what for Patristic and Medieval thought was in both theory and practice a profound unity, producing knowledge capable of reaching the highest forms of speculation, was destroyed by systems which espoused the cause of rational knowledge sundered from faith and meant to take the place of faith. The more influential of these radical positions are well known and high in profile, especially in the history of the West.

It is not too much to claim that the development of a good part of modern philosophy has seen it move further and further away from Christian Revelation, to the point of setting itself quite explicitly in opposition. This process reached its apogee in the last century. Some representatives of idealism sought in various ways to transform faith and its contents, even the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, into dialectical structures which could be grasped by reason.

Opposed to this kind of thinking were various forms of atheistic humanism, expressed in philosophical terms, which regarded faith as alienating and damaging to the development of a full rationality. They did not hesitate to present themselves as new religions serving as a basis for projects which, on the political and social plane, gave rise to totalitarian systems which have been disastrous for humanity. In the field of scientific research, a positivistic mentality took hold which not only abandoned the Christian vision of the world, but more especially rejected every appeal to a metaphysical or moral vision.

It follows that certain scientists, lacking any ethical point of reference, are in danger of putting at the centre of their concerns something other than the human person and the entirety of the person's life. Further still, some of these, sensing the opportunities of technological progress, seem to succumb not only to a market-based logic, but also to the temptation of a quasi-divine power over nature and even over the human being. As a result of the crisis of rationalism, what has appeared finally is nihilism.

As a philosophy of nothingness, it has a certain attraction for people of our time. Its adherents claim that the search is an end in itself, without any hope or possibility of ever attaining the goal of truth. In the nihilist interpretation, life is no more than an occasion for sensations and experiences in which the ephemeral has pride of place.

Nihilism is at the root of the widespread mentality which claims that a definitive commitment should no longer be made, because everything is fleeting and provisional. It should also be borne in mind that the role of philosophy itself has changed in modern culture. From universal wisdom and learning, it has been gradually reduced to one of the many fields of human knowing; indeed in some ways it has been consigned to a wholly marginal role. Other forms of rationality have acquired an ever higher profile, making philosophical learning appear all the more peripheral.

All too soon, and often in an unforeseeable way, what this manifold activity of man yields is not only subject to 'alienation', in the sense that it is simply taken away from the person who produces it, but rather it turns against man himself, at least in part, through the indirect consequences of its effects returning on himself.

It is or can be directed against him. This seems to make up the main chapter of the drama of present-day human existence in its broadest and universal dimension. Man therefore lives increasingly in fear. In the wake of these cultural shifts, some philosophers have abandoned the search for truth in itself and made their sole aim the attainment of a subjective certainty or a pragmatic sense of utility. This in turn has obscured the true dignity of reason, which is no longer equipped to know the truth and to seek the absolute.

This rapid survey of the history of philosophy, then, reveals a growing separation between faith and philosophical reason. Yet closer scrutiny shows that even in the philosophical thinking of those who helped drive faith and reason further apart there are found at times precious and seminal insights which, if pursued and developed with mind and heart rightly tuned, can lead to the discovery of truth's way.

Such insights are found, for instance, in penetrating analyses of perception and experience, of the imaginary and the unconscious, of personhood and intersubjectivity, of freedom and values, of time and history. The theme of death as well can become for all thinkers an incisive appeal to seek within themselves the true meaning of their own life. But this does not mean that the link between faith and reason as it now stands does not need to be carefully examined, because each without the other is impoverished and enfeebled.

Deprived of what Revelation offers, reason has taken side-tracks which expose it to the danger of losing sight of its final goal. Deprived of reason, faith has stressed feeling and experience, and so run the risk of no longer being a universal proposition. It is an illusion to think that faith, tied to weak reasoning, might be more penetrating; on the contrary, faith then runs the grave risk of withering into myth or superstition. By the same token, reason which is unrelated to an adult faith is not prompted to turn its gaze to the newness and radicality of being.

This is why I make this strong and insistent appeal—not, I trust, untimely—that faith and philosophy recover the profound unity which allows them to stand in harmony with their nature without compromising their mutual autonomy. The parrhesia of faith must be matched by the boldness of reason.

The Church has no philosophy of her own nor does she canonize any one particular philosophy in preference to others. Otherwise there would be no guarantee that it would remain oriented to truth and that it was moving towards truth by way of a process governed by reason. A philosophy which did not proceed in the light of reason according to its own principles and methods would serve little purpose. At the deepest level, the autonomy which philosophy enjoys is rooted in the fact that reason is by its nature oriented to truth and is equipped moreover with the means necessary to arrive at truth.

Yet history shows that philosophy—especially modern philosophy—has taken wrong turns and fallen into error. It is neither the task nor the competence of the Magisterium to intervene in order to make good the lacunas of deficient philosophical discourse. Rather, it is the Magisterium's duty to respond clearly and strongly when controversial philosophical opinions threaten right understanding of what has been revealed, and when false and partial theories which sow the seed of serious error, confusing the pure and simple faith of the People of God, begin to spread more widely.

Letter from a Region in My Mind

In the light of faith, therefore, the Church's Magisterium can and must authoritatively exercise a critical discernment of opinions and philosophies which contradict Christian doctrine. Moreover, as philosophical learning has developed, different schools of thought have emerged. This pluralism also imposes upon the Magisterium the responsibility of expressing a judgement as to whether or not the basic tenets of these different schools are compatible with the demands of the word of God and theological enquiry.

It is the Church's duty to indicate the elements in a philosophical system which are incompatible with her own faith. In fact, many philosophical opinions—concerning God, the human being, human freedom and ethical behaviour— engage the Church directly, because they touch on the revealed truth of which she is the guardian. This discernment, however, should not be seen as primarily negative, as if the Magisterium intended to abolish or limit any possible mediation. On the contrary, the Magisterium's interventions are intended above all to prompt, promote and encourage philosophical enquiry.

Besides, philosophers are the first to understand the need for self-criticism, the correction of errors and the extension of the too restricted terms in which their thinking has been framed. In particular, it is necessary to keep in mind the unity of truth, even if its formulations are shaped by history and produced by human reason wounded and weakened by sin.

This is why no historical form of philosophy can legitimately claim to embrace the totality of truth, nor to be the complete explanation of the human being, of the world and of the human being's relationship with God. Today, then, with the proliferation of systems, methods, concepts and philosophical theses which are often extremely complex, the need for a critical discernment in the light of faith becomes more urgent, even if it remains a daunting task.

Given all of reason's inherent and historical limitations, it is difficult enough to recognize the inalienable powers proper to it; but it is still more difficult at times to discern in specific philosophical claims what is valid and fruitful from faith's point of view and what is mistaken or dangerous. It is not only in recent times that the Magisterium of the Church has intervened to make its mind known with regard to particular philosophical teachings.

It is enough to recall, by way of example, the pronouncements made through the centuries concerning theories which argued in favour of the pre-existence of the soul, 56 or concerning the different forms of idolatry and esoteric superstition found in astrological speculations, 57 without forgetting the more systematic pronouncements against certain claims of Latin Averroism which were incompatible with the Christian faith. If the Magisterium has spoken out more frequently since the middle of the last century, it is because in that period not a few Catholics felt it their duty to counter various streams of modern thought with a philosophy of their own.

At this point, the Magisterium of the Church was obliged to be vigilant lest these philosophies developed in ways which were themselves erroneous and negative. The censures were delivered even-handedly: on the one hand, fideism 59 and radical traditionalism, 60 for their distrust of reason's natural capacities, and, on the other, rationalism 61 and ontologism 62 because they attributed to natural reason a knowledge which only the light of faith could confer.

The positive elements of this debate were assembled in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius , in which for the first time an Ecumenical Council—in this case, the First Vatican Council—pronounced solemnly on the relationship between reason and faith. The Buddha recommends, of all things, corpse meditation: Many Theravada Buddhist monasteries in Thailand and Sri Lanka display photos of corpses in various states of decomposition for the monks to contemplate.

Psychologists call this desensitization, in which repeated exposure to something repellent or frightening makes it seem ordinary, prosaic, not scary. And for death, it works. In , a team of researchers at several American universities recruited volunteers to imagine they were terminally ill or on death row, and then to write blog posts about either their imagined feelings or their would-be final words. The researchers then compared these expressions with the writings and last words of people who were actually dying or facing capital punishment.

The results, published in Psychological Science , were stark: The words of the people merely imagining their imminent death were three times as negative as those of the people actually facing death—suggesting that, counterintuitively, death is scarier when it is theoretical and remote than when it is a concrete reality closing in. For most people, actively contemplating our demise so that it is present and real rather than avoiding the thought of it via the mindless pursuit of worldly success can make death less frightening; embracing death reminds us that everything is temporary, and can make each day of life more meaningful.

D ecline is inevitable, and it occurs earlier than almost any of us wants to believe. But misery is not inevitable. Accepting the natural cadence of our abilities sets up the possibility of transcendence, because it allows the shifting of attention to higher spiritual and life priorities. But such a shift demands more than mere platitudes.

I embarked on my research with the goal of producing a tangible road map to guide me during the remaining years of my life. This has yielded four specific commitments. The biggest mistake professionally successful people make is attempting to sustain peak accomplishment indefinitely, trying to make use of the kind of fluid intelligence that begins fading relatively early in life.

This is impossible. The key is to enjoy accomplishments for what they are in the moment, and to walk away perhaps before I am completely ready—but on my own terms. While I have not detected deterioration in my performance, it was only a matter of time. Like many executive positions, the job is heavily reliant on fluid intelligence. Also, I wanted freedom from the consuming responsibilities of that job, to have time for more spiritual pursuits.

I love my institution and have seen many others like it suffer when a chief executive lingered too long. Leaving something you love can feel a bit like a part of you is dying. I am letting go of a professional life that answers the question Who am I? I am extremely fortunate to have the means and opportunity to be able to walk away from a job.

Many people cannot afford to do that. Time is limited, and professional ambition crowds out things that ultimately matter more. This is not easy for me; I am a naturally egotistical person.

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But I have to face the fact that the costs of catering to selfishness are ruinous—and I now work every day to fight this tendency. Fortunately, an effort to serve others can play to our strengths as we age. Remember, people whose work focuses on teaching or mentorship, broadly defined, peak later in life.

I am thus moving to a phase in my career in which I can dedicate myself fully to sharing ideas in service of others, primarily by teaching at a university. My hope is that my most fruitful years lie ahead. That is not my intention. I do strongly recommend that each person explore his or her spiritual self—I plan to dedicate a good part of the rest of my life to the practice of my own faith, Roman Catholicism. But this is not incompatible with work; on the contrary, if we can detach ourselves from worldly attachments and redirect our efforts toward the enrichment and teaching of others, work itself can become a transcendental pursuit.

His son C. This is my aspiration. Throughout this essay, I have focused on the effect that the waning of my work prowess will have on my happiness. Pushing work out of its position of preeminence—sooner rather than later—to make space for deeper relationships can provide a bulwark against the angst of professional decline. Dedicating more time to relationships, and less to work, is not inconsistent with continued achievement. To live a life of extraordinary accomplishment is—like the tree—to grow alone, reach majestic heights alone, and die alone.

The aspen tree is an excellent metaphor for a successful person—but not, it turns out, for its solitary majesty. Above the ground, it may appear solitary. Yet each individual tree is part of an enormous root system, which is together one plant. In fact, an aspen is one of the largest living organisms in the world; a single grove in Utah, called Pando, spans acres and weighs an estimated 13 million pounds. The secret to bearing my decline—to enjoying it—is to become more conscious of the roots linking me to others. If I have properly developed the bonds of love among my family and friends, my own withering will be more than offset by blooming in others.

I think about him a lot. Early on, when I saw a story about him, I would feel a flash of something like pity—which I now realize was really only a refracted sense of terror about my own future. But as my grasp of the principles laid out in this essay has deepened, my fear has declined proportionately. My feeling toward the man on the plane is now one of gratitude for what he taught me. I hope that he can find the peace and joy he is inadvertently helping me attain. Five years ago, the flight vanished into the Indian Ocean.

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  • Das Ungeheuer von Taragon (German Edition);
  • Officials on land know more about why than they dare to say. At a. The designator for Malaysia Airlines is MH. The flight number was Fariq Hamid, the first officer, was flying the airplane. He was 27 years old. This was a training flight for him, the last one; he would soon be fully certified. His trainer was the pilot in command, a man named Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who at 53 was one of the most senior captains at Malaysia Airlines.

    In Malaysian style, he was known by his first name, Zaharie. He was married and had three adult children. He lived in a gated development. He owned two houses. In his first house he had installed an elaborate Microsoft flight simulator. He is using the office he holds to advance his extraordinary lifetime project of assigning unchecked power to the president.

    Donald Trump disdains, more than anything else, the limitations of checks and balances on his power. There are the vital signs: heart and respiratory rates and body temperature. Sometimes blood pressure. These are critical in emergencies. But in day-to-day life, the normalcy of those numbers is expected.

    The most common numbers are age and body weight. The U. This number has come to be massively consequential in the lives of millions of people, and to influence the movement of billions of dollars. Y ou could tell by his eyes, the way they popped and gleamed and fixed on someone behind me. Only one person gets that kind of look from Donald Trump. Ivanka Trump lifted her hands, astonished. The first daughter though not the only daughter , wearing a fitted black mockneck and black pants, her golden hair fastened in a low twist, glided across the Oval Office.

    The small conservative magazine First Things aims to reclaim what has become a dirty word in the Trump era. America is in a period of tug-of-war politics, with cultural elites fighting to determine which views should be excluded from public life. For decades, overt racism has been stigmatized in polite society and penalized by the government; while racial disparities persist everywhere from the prison system to public education, many Americans regard openly racist views with horror, and quickly move to marginalize the people who hold them.

    Some public figures have pushed for similar treatment of those who oppose abortion. Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democratic presidential candidate and U. In April , I spent three days in Austin, Texas, in the company of more than 2, people, most of them women, who are deeply concerned about the problem of workplace sexual harassment. He introduced a panel of speakers who have been intimately involved with the MeToo movement: Tarana Burke, the creator of the original campaign and hashtag; Ronan Farrow, who broke the Harvey Weinstein story in The New Yorker ; and Ashley Judd, one of the actors who says she was harassed by Weinstein.

    Adam Grant, the author of many highly regarded books on management theory and a professor at the Wharton School, interviewed them, and their remarks were often interrupted by loud, admiring applause. The Baby Boomers ruined America. American society is going through a strange set of shifts: Even as cultural values are in rapid flux, political institutions seem frozen in time.

    The average U. We are in the third-longest period without a constitutional amendment in American history: The longest such period ended in the Civil War. One possibility is simply that Americans got older. The average American was 32 years old in , and 37 in The retiree share of the population is booming, while birth rates are plummeting. When a society gets older, its politics change. Older voters have different interests than younger voters: Cuts to retiree-focused benefits are scarier, while long-term problems such as excessive student debt, climate change, and low birth rates are more easily ignored.

    In his rambling screed against the soccer star, the president revealed a lot about his worldview. Finish the job! Be proud of the Flag that you wear. As an admiral I helped run the most powerful military on Earth, but I couldn't save my son from the scourge of opioid addiction. The last photograph of my son Jonathan was taken at the end of a new-student barbecue on the campus green at the University of Denver. It was one of those bittersweet transitional moments.

    We were feeling the combination of apprehension and optimism that every parent feels when dropping off a kid at college for the first time, which was amplified by the fact that we were coming off a rocky 16 months with our son. We had moved him into his dormitory room only that morning. I remember how sharp he looked in the outfit he had selected, and his eagerness to start class and make new friends.

    We were happy, relieved, and, knowing what we thought he had overcome, proud.