Earth Day 2015: Thoughts Like Falling Leaves

[This is a repost of a piece I did several years ago, slightly edited for 2015. 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...]

Rumination on Death, and Love, and Life

Three years and a bit later, I don't dwell on the death of my Cowboy Dad all the time. When I do dwell on him, I can have these surges of sorrow, missing him with painful intensity. But it's not all the time now.The loss of him is kind of fading into the background of my daily life. He's passing into a sort of history in my mind. And I hate that. But I'm sort of okay with it too.I've said many times: "When you lose someone you truly love, it should break you forever." That's the … [Read more...]

A Little Ditty About Recent Events

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I became an atheist, and joined in with others, because I wanted to belong to a Community of Reason. This current (and lengthy past!) shit I see going on with the flaming, mob targeting, jargon-slinging, code-wording, character assassination, labeling and pigeonholing -- I hate being even on the edges of it, because the people doing it are as stupid and evil in their own way as the righty-religious community I escaped from. Waaaaay too many of the people I once thought were members of my … [Read more...]

Agency: The Myth at the Heart of Mysticism

Mountain Lion copy

I lived in mountain lion country for more than 20 years. Never saw a single one. A more skeptical man might have doubted they even existed, but even if you never see a mountain lion, you can know they're out there because -- like every terrestrial animal -- they leave tracks.Tracks are probably not something an animal ever intends to leave, nor are they in any way useful to the creature that makes them. They are a side effect of just being there, the visible, undeniable evidence of a … [Read more...]

The Book of Good Living: The Social Minimum

I've struggled for a long time to figure out the simplest way to say this, and never gotten it down to a short formulation. But here it is at last, I think:It's not your job to cater to others. But you DO have to live your life in such a way that they're not forced to cater to you.Unpacking this brings out a lot of little specific rules such as:Don't pee on the toilet seat, forcing the next guy to wipe it off before he can sit there. Don't park in the supermarket entryway, forcing … [Read more...]

Death & Dying, Unbeliever Style

Comforting-Thoughts

I'm late to the party, but Greta Christina has a new book on death and dying as it relates to unbelievers. So far available only in audiobook and digital versions, ordering links to Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God are listed on her blog.An earlier post on Alternet covers the ground on  what to say as a bystander to someone dealing with death -- When It's Not God's Plan: 8 Things to Say to Grieving Nonbelievers.Finally, one of my own thoughts on the … [Read more...]


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