Herd Immunity: The Internet vs. Education

Rather than amplifying intelligence, I think the Internet and TV are taking the place of intelligence. Because information is available in instants, you don't have to actually learn things, to commit them to memory and have them become a part of your own thinking processes. A great deal of the time, for too many of us, we don't even have to THINK. We become less practiced at it. We become lazy data-tourists rather than farmers of knowledge.Of course we don't ALL become less practiced at … [Read more...]

The Book of Good Living: Tools 2

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Tools are under-appreciated by most of us officey types. Whether it’s a circular saw, a drill, a planer, an arc welder, or just a simple car jack, too many of us aren’t ready to get our hands dirty.It’s not the dirt, of course. It’s just that certain tools can be outside our bubble of competence, and it’s human nature to shy away from getting involved in something we probably, in the beginning, won’t be much good at.But here’s the really great thing about tools: If you have the right tool … [Read more...]

God, The Wet Blanket

One of the things I enjoy doing on my daily van trips -- I'm in transportation at an addiction recovery facility, and I drive every day a round trip between Schenectady, NY and New York City -- is play tourguide. Since the trip is close to three hours long each way, there's plenty of time to point out interesting details of the scenery along the way. I often see deer (today I saw a doe with a newborn fawn in the roadside grass), sometimes wild turkeys, occasionally great blue herons. There are … [Read more...]

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

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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...]