Beta Culture: Earthman’s Journey – Part 2 of 8


[ Part 1 — 2 — 3— 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ] Cowboyin' The early end of the beef industry involves a lot of labor at identifying and altering young bovines from their original, mint-condition wholeness to something more in line with human designs, as they make their first transition from free beasties to hamburger-on-the-hoof. The work can be done in sheer industrial efficiency, with metal chutes and shock prods and unconcerned hourly workers, or it can be done by working cowboys, in tune with a roman … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Earthman’s Journey – Part 1 of 8


[ Part 1 — 2 — 3— 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ]Somewhere above all this, all the roiling newness of the growing atheist and progressive community, there’s an overview. I’ve tried very hard to see it.It may be that there are plenty of people smarter than me, more educated, innately broader of understanding, who already know what it is we’re all working towards. But I have yet to read their books or hear their talks.I look out and see ... pieces. A chopped salad of efforts and understanding that … [Read more...]

Well, This Is Disturbing.


Before I started A Citizen of Earth, I blogged as The Blue Collar Atheist.The name was mostly intended to underline my lack of a college degree, or any great amount of advanced education, to make the point that giving up religion, become an agnostic or atheist, is not something you need a Ph.D. to do. You can be a complete doofus and still reason yourself free of it.Speaking of which, even *I* can see the gaping holes in some of the stuff from this site (hat tip to commenter Chris for … [Read more...]

Shoving Orphans Away From the Table

How many times have you seen it? Someone convenes a panel of talking heads to discuss morals, justice, or any of the other “goodness” issues, and the speaker’s table is filled with a priest, a minister and a rabbi (and here lately, to prove our generous and inclusionary nature, an imam).As far as the organizer is concerned, and large swaths of the audience, atheists don’t exist. Because we don’t know anything about morals, you see, or deep human convictions, or even feelings. We can’t speak w … [Read more...]

Earth Day 2013: Thoughts Like Falling Leaves


[This is a repost of a piece I did several years ago, slightly edited for 2013. This essay is also part of the conceptual force driving my thoughts on the need for Beta Culture.]Leaf OneCon games and sleight-of-hand magic work because, one, we humans only have so much attention to spare at any one moment, and two, they direct that attention deliberately in one direction. If you look at where the finger points, you miss … well, everything else.Like the movie teen backing through a d … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Bonsai Civilization and the Future of Humanity


Initial conditions show up in the final product.I’ve often thought about bonsai trees in relation to child-rearing.In my own case, there were many brighter possible futures I might have enjoyed. In my few years of college, I was a genetics major, aimed at medical or veterinary school. But I ended up, here and now, as a sort of junior-grade bus driver.I was wounded from an early age by ... well, call it less-than-optimal parenting. By the time I reached my senior year in high school, I … [Read more...]