Starbucks, Part Deux: Chasing the Red Dot

Watch the video.The cats are you and I. The guy holding the laser is the media. The red dot is the Starbucks coffee cup story.I'm going to call them Red Dot Stories from now on.They don't mean anything. They're not significant in any way. And yet we still leap excitedly to follow and talk about them. Just like cats, we allow ourselves to be jerked around by that irresistible fascination with the red dot. … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Beyond Veterans Day

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I confess to mixed feelings about November 11.I have a number of fairly conservative friends, and you can count on Veterans Day to kick off a massed booming v0lley of flag-wavery -- heartfelt prayers, cheers, and best wishes for the men and women in uniform, those gallant, selfless warriors willing to give their lives for our freedom.I can never join in with such fervent abandon. I mean, I GET Veterans Day. But still, considering some of the things the U.S. military has done ... mixed … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: The Poison of Stories

I'm having this idea. Haven't worked it out completely, but … here's the main part.First, let's go back to earlier in the year and look at this post: Beta Culture: Seeing the Brackets. (Its illo is just to the right here.)This is a sister post to that one, and to me clarifies and expands what I was really getting at back then. So:A great deal of what we humans do in day-to-day living is creating stories to live by.Some of them might be stories of personal identity – Faithful Bel … [Read more...]

Musings on the Nature of Mind


Anyone paying attention in the last few decades of life on Earth can't help but think there's something wrong in the human world. It's something that doesn't and, I suspect, can't work.I've thought many times this unworkable bit is our own understanding of ourselves. As in: We think we are one way, we expect ourselves and our fellows to be this one way, and yet we are very different from it. Which means a great deal of what we think of as the “should be” of human life is wrong. We get right a … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Dealing With Conservatives

Had a little epiphany today about the sense of humor, and why ultra-conservatives don't seem to have much of it.Humor requires a certain flexibility of mind, a capacity to quickly change mental directions. The lead-in to a joke sets up a certain expectation, then the punchline forces a radical departure from that expectation. The unexpectedness makes us laugh. A Hasidic Jew walks into a New York City bar with a frog on his shoulder. The bartender says "Where the heck did you get THAT?" The … [Read more...]

Insight Into A World Without Gods

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Today I located the Facebook pages of a handful of old friends, some from my cowboy years, some from my Texas years. None of them know me on Facebook, because I've kept that account secret from most of them.Part of it is because I don't like people looking over my shoulder as I engage in an ongoing freestyle quest to figure out this thing I'm trying to figure out -- you know, Life. Part of it is ... I know if they see who I am now, the kinds of things I think and say, we can't be friends … [Read more...]