Is Music Simply “Auditory Cheesecake”?

Psychologist Steven Pinker ignited a firestorm in 1997 by infamously claiming that music is auditory cheesecake—nothing but a pleasant by-product of the processes of evolutionary selection and not essential for human survival or reproduction.[1] Unlike language, which he believes to be biologically adaptive, Pinker argues that music is merely a technology that humans have invented …

A Few Thoughts for Advent

We’d just concluded a podcast discussion with Robyn Wrigley-Carr, an Australian theologian. Abby Thatcher, our Humanities Center intern who produces most of the episodes, noted how thoughtful Robyn’s answers had been. I agreed: “I love talking with people of spiritual insight. They’re so much more interesting than people who just know stuff.” I began that …

Reflecting on Home and Diverse Communities of Love

The poet Pauli Murrey once stated, “True community is based upon equality, mutuality, and reciprocity [that] affirms the richness of individual diversity as well as the common human ties that bind us together.” [1] This quote eloquently describes the importance of embracing diversity in community. By defining community as a connection, Murrey’s powerful statement reminds …

Is BYU Home?

As cooler temperatures descend on the northern latitudes and higher elevations of the northern hemisphere, for many people, thoughts of the holiday season come to mind and with those thoughts, the plan to go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or both. Going home for the holidays is a time-honored tradition that most people thoroughly enjoy. …

Echoing Still

In William Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello wrestles with the rumors circling around his wife, Desdemona, and her virtue, and counsels with Iago in his private chambers. Their exchange is full of echoing repetitions and circuitous thoughts that come bouncing back to Othello, further disorienting him. Iago: Indeed? Othello: Indeed? … Is he not honest? Iago: Honest, …