It’s a balmy 38 degrees today in Chicago, but an article by A-J Aronstein, AM’10, in the Paris Review Daily reminds us not to get too comfortable. Aronstein, an alumni of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), meditates on how the unique cold of February in Chicago affects our bodies and brains, leading us from Lacan to Netflix and from selfish survival to the promise of OKCupid. He writes:
It’s a tenuous period during which one skates between euphoric invigoration (induced by the body’s deployment of emergency reserves of natural stimulants to keep one’s system from shutting down) and cataclysmic despair. To survive it requires the assignment of some kind of meaning to the weather: to consider it not in the idiom of ordinary conversation (“Boy, it sure is cold out there today!”), but rather as a philosophical problem, an existential threat, a constant companion on otherwise lonely nights. Only in this way can we take something useful from winter.