Post-Teen Guilty, Middle-Aged Goddy

COE Square

I have friends in Texas who did some pretty questionable stuff in their wild teen years -- we're talking lying, stealing, animal cruelty, just plain meanness to each other, and yes, a certain amount of socially-unapproved sex -- who have become extremely religious as they've gotten older. I often suspect there's a direct mechanism that makes this happen. Here's how I imagine it working:Inevitably when you're younger and you have a childish sense of right and wrong, a childish sense of other … [Read more...]

A Dark Tide in Human Affairs

Dark Tide copy

I was thinking today about large-scale social motion in a negative direction. Not as some sort of accident, but as the result of some deeper human sociological/psychological tides.I think of bikers and biker culture. The skull motif so penetrates biker culture that it makes its way onto everything -- bikes, t-shirts, leather jackets, bandanas, helmets, face masks, even tattoos. It's interesting to me that this nihilistic image is of such unquestionable importance, and has no … [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...]

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...]

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...]

Beta Culture: Being Grownups on Planet Earth

Cowboy Dad

For most of the years I knew him, I unconsciously thought of my Cowboy Dad as “the grownup” in my life. Since he died, I’ve realized there were several side-effects of thinking that. One is that I cheated him out of all the years of ME being a grownup, so that we could be ... well, friendly equals, fellow MEN together. The other is that I cheated myself out of all those years of me being a grownup. All the endeavors and relationships in my life were approached in some degree of a child … [Read more...]


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