A Short, Short Post on the Idea of Souls

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...]

Book of Good Living: The Risk Rule

My approach to risk is tuned toward the more sensitive end of the spectrum. (We're not counting the bull riding, which was a 20-something macho-guy one-off.)As I said in my last post, I've gotten to the age of 62 without a stitch, a broken bone, or a major accident of any sort. I've done it by following a rough rule for dealing with risks.So here's my Risk Rule. (Note that this applies mainly to physical dangers, and not to existential hazards such as being turned down when asking … [Read more...]

Book of Good Living: The 5 Second Rule

5 seconds

No, this has nothing to do with dropping food on the floor. This is about the OTHER 5 seconds, the one that gives you a cushion of safety in everyday life.The simplest statement of the rule might be: “Look 5 seconds ahead ... in every direction.”Every person who drives is familiar with the concept of looking ahead. Some of us do it badly, and end up in rear-end collisions, or even pileups. Some of us do it well and see cops on the side of the highway a half mile or so in advance, so we ca … [Read more...]


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