Earth Day 2015: Thoughts Like Falling Leaves

[This is a repost of a piece I did several years ago, slightly edited for 2015. This essay is also part of the conceptual force driving my thoughts on the need for Beta Culture.]Leaf OneCon games and sleight-of-hand magic work because, one, we humans only have so much attention to spare at any one moment, and two, they direct that attention deliberately in one direction. If you look at where the finger points, you miss … well, everything else.Like the movie teen backing through a d … [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...]

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...]

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...]

Grizzly’s Gamble — Part 8 of 8 (Repost)


Parts:  One — Two — Three — Four — Five — Six — Seven — Eight This is the Truth:In my hunting days, I was headwaiter at a seafood restaurant in a little resort town in the California’s Eastern Sierra mountains. Hunting season had opened several days before, but I’d had to work every day. This was my last evening shift before I had a couple of days off, and I was ready to go.I had my new Ruger .30-06 rifle with a 7-power scope. I had my pack and my sleeping bag and two days wo … [Read more...]