I recently finished reading Stephen Pinker’s latest, Enlightenment NOW. It’s very good, but not quite what you might expect from the title. I was hoping for a powerful case, and maybe even some action-item suggestions, for our recommitment to full strength (‘European Enlightenment grade’) reason. Something to at least give some push back against our now rising tide of emotionally … Read More
I’ve just finished reading Kurt Andersen’s new book (‘Fantasyland’ subtitle ‘How America Went Haywire, a 500-Year History’). The book was superb, and full of copy/paste worthy quotes by the author, but instead I’m pasting here one that he borrowed from Hannah Arendt: “A mixture of gullibility and cynicism have been an outstanding characteristic of mob mentality before it became an … Read More
I just read through Jeff Flake’s political retirement speech. What a contrast, even in its content and delivery, to the typical speeches and tweets of its target. Most of Trump’s utterances are false, and/or silly, and/or syntactically incoherent. I’m sorry to see Senator Flake bow out, but can certainly understand his reasons for doing so. His powerful speech may even … Read More
The journey – from LA to Mumbai, via Newark – was supposed to take 21 hours. But, in spite of heroic flight time reductions by both pilots, it ended up taking over 24. We had an hour’s delay on departure, and then a further hour circling over Newark’s sodden runways due to the backup from Hurricane Jose. Then another 90 … Read More
There were hundreds of good reasons why we should not have elected Mr. Trump. But one was orders of magnitude more serious than the rest. Surprisingly little was said about it during the campaign, but I think that it’s now the main reason why so many young people are finding it almost impossible to put down their protest signs and … Read More
I’ve just been listening to a fine old Genesis song, which I think would resonate with Donald Trump’s supporters. It’s called ‘The Knife’.
I’ve just finished watching Trump’s Republican nomination acceptance speech. Am now starting to think the previously unthinkable; that he could win. From the message, to the delivery, to the background and staging, he is pushing all of the same buttons as were used to such devastating effect by Hitler and Mussolini.
Introduction & Dedication Here is a tiny sliver of Titus Lucretius’ epic poem ‘De Rerum Natura’ (‘The Nature of Things’): Fear holds dominion over mortality Only because, seeing in land and sky So much the cause whereof no wise they know, Men think Divinities are working there. Meantime, when once we know from nothing still Nothing can be create, we … Read More
This post is a follow-on to my previous post “Problem of the Commons“. It was originally written some months ago for the newsletter. — I’m writing this from the deck of my house on the Sea of Cortes’ Bay of Palms, with the sun rising over the water, small manta rays jumping, and a blue heron fishing at the surf’s … Read More
Our species now faces, for the first time in its history, a number of crucial decisions that can only be made at the global level. This is because they are all, substantially, ‘Problem of the Commons’ decisions. They’re about voluntarily reducing our environmental impact in ways that would at least slightly and temporarily disadvantage any nation-state or corporation that might … Read More
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