The following contains excerpts from an unpublished article titled The Function Of Extended Cosmic Metaphors In Herbert Marcuse’s Social Ontology.

The Milky Way Galaxy; Photo by Sid Suratia on Unsplash

“[Critical theory] wants to describe what should be overcome without getting involved in speculation about the end state,” Max Horkheimer said in a 1969 interview before he went on to explain the main difference between Marcuse’s definition of Critical Theory and his own. Horkheimer asserted that the main difference between their definitions is all in the details. According to Marcuse, Horkheimer argued, “it isn’t the abuses, detrimental elements in the current society that should be abolished but the entire current…


A large collection of grey stones; Photo by John Salzarulo on Unsplash

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the passage just before the beginning of Shemini (Leviticus 9:1–11:47) explains that “Aaron and his sons did all the things which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.” Given the events that transpired in Ki Tisa, from the construction of the golden calf to the inscription of the stone tablets to the diverse fire imagery to the highlighting of G-d’s attributes, Aaron is managing countless emotions and grappling with accountability concerns by the start of Shemini.

The focus of the following reflections will be Leviticus 10:3 which chronicles Aaron’s reaction to the…


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The global plastic crisis has led to a range of environmental and public health concerns that disproportionately impact chronically disenfranchised communities and exploited nations. From the growing number of microplastics that infiltrate our soil and hydrological cycle to the overwhelming presence of large plastic materials in wildlife habitats, the harmful effects of over-consumption and capitalist production are far-reaching and increasingly difficult to prevent and mitigate. …


Closeup image of the moon in total darkness. (Photo by Andrea Sonda on Unsplash)

In “But What Are You Really? The Metaphysics of Race,” Charles Mills offers an account of what it looks like to develop and understand embodied racial identities. His account problematizes the concepts of race, racialization, and self-identification with respect to racial identity while highlighting the complex nature of a systematic metaphysics of race as such. Moreover, he explores how historical, sociopolitical, cultural facts and features of our socially-constructed world impact the development and understanding of embodied racial identities. …


It is important to think about the reasons why we do the things we do and the ends to which our actions aim. Especially when our actions have a direct impact on other people. The narratives of the Golden Calf and the construction of the Mishkan offer different ways of approaching the topic of purpose-driven action and highlight the importance of being mindful of why we do certain actions over others.

In Exodus 25:2 we learn that Hashem spoke to Moses and requested donations of materials that would be used to construct the Mishkan. But they weren’t just any donations…


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Colloquial phrases fail to capture the magnitude of the loss and the depth of the chasm left in the place of tender, playful love that was — always more warm than chaotic, more soft than burning — left to spend its final moments gasping for air. Especially when it’s too strong to die. Too deeply rooted in the most fertile parts of your soul. Destined or doomed to ebb and flow with the rising seas of Lethe. Anchored to bittersweet memories that take on a life of their own.


Two candle flames atop a menorah on the first night of Hanukkah. Courtesy of Jesi Taylor Cruz.

On Thursday, December 10, 1942 Anne Frank wrote about the “comical sight” of sausages — that she watched be ground, seasoned, and squeezed into casings by Mr. Van Dann — dangling from the ceiling that made everyone who saw them burst into laughter. She also wrote about the dirty state of their kitchen and how Dussel had an eye infection he was dabbing with a chamomile tea bag. She then went on to describe what it was like to watch Dussel work on his first dental patient’s mouth at his practice. “The whole scene resembled one of those engravings from…


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My experiences as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow (MMUF) helped inform my beliefs about academia. Prior to becoming a Fellow, I didn’t even use the word “academia” nor did I have any idea that programs like MMUF existed. When I applied to the fellowship as a “continuing education” student in my mid-twenties I was certain I’d be rejected. Sure, I always loved learning and was a lifelong bibliophile but I wasn’t a great student by any means. Just a curious one. After a five year period of 60 hour work weeks and random internships I returned to college to finish…


A baby gazes happily. (Photo by Chayene Rafaela on Unsplash)

There are so many baby products we use that can be repurposed once they are no longer needed for caregiving duties like changing diapers or storing pumped milk. Before you consider repurposing some items, you should always opt to donate the items to a local daycare first or give them to a friend who could use them for their own children. But if donating the items isn’t an option for you, there are countless ways to make use of them to prevent them from ending up in landfills.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, nondurable goods — ones…


The fights for racial, social, and environmental justice are inextricably linked

Two Black girls carry signs during a PCB landfill protest in Afton, North Carolina, September 1982. (Jerome Friar Photographic Collection and Related Materials (P0090), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

In the ongoing, global project of dismantling oppressive and violent structures it is important to make sense of one’s place in the world and within the myriad systems we all must navigate on a daily basis in order to participate in society.

To clarify, by “place” I mean the physical spaces we occupy — like the areas of colonized land on which we live, the geographical regions we call home, the built environments were travel in-between, and the various other places on Earth we can touch whether man-made or part of the natural world. I also mean the conceptual spaces…

Jesi Taylor Cruz

NYC-based philosophy graduate student whose work covers Genocide Studies, Repro + Enviro Justice, Discard Studies, and Critical Race Theory. @moontwerk

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