Of all the philosophers, the Scholastics speak to me the clearest. Anselm, Abelard, and Aquinas. These medieval Catholics were haunted men who desperately wrestled with the question of a soul, not like the playful Greeks who made up the world as they went along—a soul, sure why not?—or the modern philosophers who buried god beneath the clutter of elaborate word games, leaving us with a world stripped of the divine. For the Scholastics, philosophy was urgent, driven by the desire to reconcile logic with otherworldly devotion, to marry the church with the words of Plato and Aristotle, words which might otherwise threaten their faith. Their souls were truly on the line.

I need to find faith in something soon. Difficult days are ahead. Today the White House said “science should not stand in the way” during this pandemic, and everyone shrugged because this is the world now. But dig the soul of the old man laughing on the corner tonight, drinking a bottle of gin and doing a word jumble.