Bruce the Blog

Farewell, Sad Old Year… Hello, Happy New Year

I’ve started reading a page-turner of a book. It’s not by J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown or even E. L. James.

The book’s sexy title is “Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments,” by Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley (Liveright, 2017). As I thumbed through its pages at the library, I was intrigued by the chapter titles alone, some of which are listed at the end of this article.

This book satisfies two of my 2018 resolutions: read more books from the library and pay more attention to philosophy and ethics. Why? Ah, that monosyllabic question lies at the heart of ethics and of philosophy; it can be answered in any number of ways, and yet cannot be answered in any fully knowable way.

Sign Up for E-News

As we leave behind the sad old year, I am eager to welcome a happy new year by making more sense out of this hyperkinetic hallucination that lasts an average of 78.74 years (for an American male).

In everyday life, ethics is considered by some to be a minor inconvenience that gets in the way of our simple pleasures.

A person who never would think to shoplift in a bricks-and-mortar store doesn’t think twice about using someone else’s password to watch Netflix. What’s the big deal?! Ask the person whose compensation is tied to the paid consumption of what you took without paying for it, aka shoplifting.

In the long run, ethics determines what kind of person we are and what kind of life we create for ourselves and for those who depend on us for sustenance.

To that end, I’ve also resolved this year to be less narrow-minded about people I find narrow-minded. For some, the glory of humanity—and the ethical compass that guides it—is leaving your mind wide open to infinite possibilities. How you behave may be different from another person’s behavior; does that make it unethical for you to judge and disapprove of another person’s behavior?

The reason I’m fixating on ethics as the year turns is because it both distracts me from and clarifies for me the ever-elusive meaning of life. That great unknown can be overwhelming to mull too much. It also can be enlightening and uplifting.

Introspection on the meaning of life can lead to a more meaningful and productive life. It’s never too late to make a difference or to determine what difference it makes that we come and go in eternity’s blink of an eye.

As poet-philosopher Charles Bukowski said, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” To ply yourself with ethical questions is to get drunk on doubt in the hopes of stumbling across a sobering morsel of truth about your interior life.

As promised, here’s a sampling of the chapter titles in that ethics book whose pages seem to flip by without my lifting a finger. That’s fitting, since I have resolved to turn over a new leaf.

Fair warning: Some of these chapter titles may sound bizarre or hard to swallow, which illustrates why ethics is an endlessly fascinating, and endlessly frustrating, pursuit. Plus, the blunt, iconoclastic tone of a chapter title may belie what the essay behind it actually says. Part of the mystery and mysticism of ethics is how it can sneak up and surprise us.

  • “Why Life Is Absurd”
  • “The Dangers of Happiness”
  • “God Is a Question, Not an Answer”
  • “Is Our Patriotism Moral?”
  • “Reasons for Reason”
  • “Who Needs a Gun?”
  • “Getting Past the Outrage on Race”
  • “When Prostitution Is Nobody’s Business”
  • “Think Before You Breed”
  • “If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?”
  • “Is Humanity Getting Better?”

Bruce “The Blog” Apar promotes local businesses, organizations, events and people through public relations agency APAR PR. He also is an actor, a community volunteer, and a contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce The Blog on social media. Reach him at or 914-275-6887.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


How Far Down the Rathole Will New York Go?

Boy oh boy, Governor Cuomo must be wetting his pants over being primaried on his left by Cynthia Nixon. In his continued lurch leftward to stave off this challenge, last week Cuomo issued an executive order to allow parolees the right to vote in New York. That is right. Now all 55,000 parolees, which include murderers and rapists, will be able vote. The Legislature wouldn’t pass this, so ...

What Is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a research organization. Apparently, it is funded by the Mercer family, second only to the Koch brothers on the liberal hit list. Both, through their philanthropy, spend millions on various needy organizations like hospitals. What makes them liberal targets is their funding of various conservative think tanks and candidates. I digress.

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook ...

Trump Dumps on Amazon; I Dump on Trump

President Trump attacked the online retail giant Amazon earlier this month, accusing the behemoth corporation of paying “little or no taxes to state and local governments,” and taking advantage of the United States Postal Service and “causing tremendous loss to the U.S.”  

Not true! Since April 2017, Amazon has collected sales taxes in all states that levy ...

Time to Crank It Up!

It’s easy to get upset these days for any number of reasons. Still, hope springs eternal (even when we’ve given up hope of seeing spring). We live in a time of such grace and deference toward each other that a wimpy word like snowflake is the toughest insult that bullies can muster.  

We’ve all heard of the Bully Pulpit. That’s when somebody uses his leverage ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

Closet Case

Not too long ago, if you said you had a room the size of a closet, it meant the space was probably pretty darn small. These days, however, it’s not uncommon to have a closet the size of a living room, with more sliding drawers, revolving racks and custom shoe trees than Barney’s or Bloomies or Kim Kardashian. So nowadays, if you tell someone you have a room the size of a closet, the ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, May 19, 10:00 AM

FDR State Park, Yorktown Heights

BluePath Service Dogs 2nd Annual Walkathon

Giving Back

Sun, May 20

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park , Yorktown Heights

2nd Annual Northwell Health Walk at Westchester

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Health & Wellness

Thu, May 24, 6:30 PM


College Admission Webinar