Grizzly’s Gamble — Part 1 of 8 (Repost)


Parts:  One — Two — Three — Four — Five — Six — Seven — Eight This is The Lie:Back in my hitchhiking adventure days, I stood one night under a streetlight on a deserted highway outside a city in West Texas, waiting for a car to stop and give me a ride. Waiting, actually, even for a car to come along. Eventually there in the dark, I hadn’t seen one for more than an hour.An overcast sky and the dirty air of civilization killed even the stars overhead. Surrounded by an ocean of … [Read more...]

Earth Day 2014: Thoughts Like Falling Leaves


[This is a repost of a piece I did several years ago, slightly edited for 2014. 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...]

Goodness and Guilt on the Dark Edge of Life


I’m thinking about guilt as a driving force of religion.If you treat somebody badly, and they later die before you have a chance to apologize or correct your action, you have no way to make it right with them. If you’re religious, though, you can regain balance both through the ceremonial forgiveness your religion offers and through the “knowledge” that you will either see them again and have the chance to make it right, or that they’re alive-after-death and able to see you, hear you, as you … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Fresh Crops in Failing Fields

mall 2

Thinking out loud here ...I've written about converting at least one closed church into a Beta Culture Nexus in every large city in America. But I have this slightly different idea for ... well, think about this:Look at this article about abandoned malls across the U.S.: Completely Surreal Photos of America's Abandoned Malls.Say you acquired an abandoned mall at a fire-sale price.You turn most of the shops inside into dwelling units, nice condos, plus maybe a small hotel. You … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Social Sharing, Social Shaping


Early on, I asked myself why anyone would want to join an artificially-created culture, which would, obviously, entail some sort of adherence or obedience to cultural norms. If you're going to be a member of the Water Buffaloes, you have to wear the Big Funny Hat, right? But what if you don't want to wear the Big Funny Hat?The answer is that people would join if they knew the culture would empower and protect them. If it made them BETTER people, healthier, smarter, more effective in the … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Forgotten Gods 2


Following up on my thesis that "remnant religion" still occupies us in ways simultaneously invisible and rampant, I've been thinking about movies, and science.Maybe a dozen times in my life, I've tossed out the general question: If you could live to be 200/500/forever (the question has varied with each asking), would you? I've been amazed each time, not so much at the quantity of negative answers (a huge majority), but at the INSTANTANEOUS negative answers. No thought required, people … [Read more...]