Race and Culture Again: Bessie and Lois

Jim Crow

Here's a chunk of memory that bubbled up when Facebook friend Dre Morell posted on The Old Jim Crow Etiquette.In 1950s Texas, when and where I was born, pretty much all of the Jim Crow stuff was in effect. Of course what you'll read in the linked article was in addition to the separate white and colored drinking fountains, separate white and colored restrooms, the No Negroes policies at "white" swimming pools and schools. I remember several conversations among adults where a black teenager … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Seeing The Brackets

Bracket copy

Look at the illo attached to this post.You'll notice two main things. One is the pair of brackets with "My Thing" inside them. The other is a large space filled with other stuff, such as "data, info, facts, details, research, opinions, views, past experience, science."Imagine that the large space on the graphic, both inside and outside the brackets, is the universe of all possible information on some subject. Imagine further that the small space inside the brackets is that specific small … [Read more...]

A Short, Short Post on the Idea of Souls


I kinda wonder how broadly the idea of ensoulment affects what we consider is acceptable to think and do. For instance, it occurs to me that war and the death penalty are easier to contemplate in a social matrix of soul-belief. Sure you're killing people's BODIES, but you're not affecting their real selves.Likewise I wonder if our rather casual approach to drug use is somehow a result of that same idea. If you think your brain is YOU, that any change or damage to it is a direct assault on … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: ‘Yeah, We’re Fucked.’ Now What?

I'll tell you about one of my sort-of-hidden motivations behind my thoughts about the necessity of Beta Culture.I've told this anecdote at least once here, but I'll repeat it: I was in New York City a few years back, specifically to meet PZ Myers at a Seed Magazine event, and I got to meet a climatologist at the same time. Drink in hand, and jokingly, one of the first things I said was "Tell me the truth. Are we fucked?" Dead seriously, he replied "Yeah. We're fucked."Some years before … [Read more...]

The Book of Good Living: Just Say No

Looking back over my life, one of the skills that would have saved me a lot of anguish, annoyance and wasted time is the skill of saying No.If I'd been taught to say No, just no -- without anger, or guilt, or any sort of emotional spin -- oh boy my life would have been different. I would have spent a great deal less time getting roped into doing things I didn't really want to do. My life would have been more MINE -- which I strongly suspect would have better allowed me to say Yes in the ways … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: A Third Approach to Gender Equality

Unequal copy

I’ve been thinking about feminism for a couple of years, and I’ve actually felt a certain amount of dread when I attempted to relate it to my conceptual work on Beta Culture. It’s completely obvious that Beta can’t work without a healthy respect for the needs of women, something better than what our western society has now, but I couldn’t see how ‘feminism’ – not the thing I want feminism to be, but the thing that it presently is – could be integrated into it without overwhelming the welcoming, i … [Read more...]