April 25, 1971
Prominent Catholic lay theologian Michael Novak, associate professor of philosophy and theology at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Westbury and author of A Theology for Radical Politics (1969), lectured on "Mysticism and Politics." Professor Novak described a current crisis in cultural and political life which he typified as the "spiritual self" becoming "a victim of americanization, yielding to the physical." A modern motto, he suggested, might be "I touch therefore I am." Reporting in The Miscellany News on Professor Novak's talk, Jon Plehn '73 observed, "In a departure from new left ideology, Prof. Novak claimed that another of our main problems is...an overwhelming freedom of choice.... Novak summed it up by stating that 'this fear of emptiness from within is where the great threat to freedom now comes from.'"
Michael Novak co-authored Vietnam: Crisis of Conscience (1969) with Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel and Robert McAfee Brown, and his The Experience of Nothingness appeared from Harper Row in 1970.