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“Readers will not go wrong ‘wasting’ the time it takes to cavort with the eternal truths presented, with such an enervating spirit of fun, in On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs.” —National Catholic Register
“It is a book lightly written, laced with references to Charlie Brown and other cartoons, but deceptively heavy. I found myself inclined—almost forced—to pause after every section and think about Schall’s words.”
“Schall’s call to take seriously the unseriousness things of life is clearly, cleverly, and creatively stated.”
—Perspectives on Political Science
“This new collection on what it is to be an educated human does not disappoint.” —New Oxford Review
To the ears of ceaselessly busy and ambitious modern Westerners, it will come as a shock, and perhaps as an insult, to be told that human affairs are “unserious.” But this fundamental truth is exactly what James Schall, following Plato, has to teach us in this wise and witty book.
Schall cites Charlie Brown, Aristotle, and Samuel Johnson with the same sobriety—the sobriety that sees the truth in what is delightful and even amusing. Singing, dancing, playing, contemplating, and other “useless” human activities are not merely forms of escape from more important things—politics, work, social activism, etc.—but an indication of the very nature of the highest things themselves.
On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs is an instructive volume whose countercultural message is of vital importance.
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About the Author
James V. Schall, S.J., is a professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. He is the author of more than twenty-five books, including The Regensburg Lecture, On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs, and A Student’s Guide to Liberal Learning, the last two of which are available from ISI Books. He writes regularly for a number of periodicals, including Gilbert! magazine, the Saint Austin Review, and the University Bookman.