Kick the Dog, Pet the Dog—Off-Loading Anxiety

There’s two things we can do with suffering: we can kick the dog; or we can pet the dog. That’s really as complicated as it gets. We can kick the dog; or we can pet the dog. Or the cat. Or the parakeet. Or our partners or kids or co-workers or fellow citizens. Because, as [Read More…]

Mulligan Stew, Truth, and Worldviews 

In the early twentieth century the activist Rosa Luxemburg wrote, “The most revolutionary act is a clear view of the world as it really is.” As a Humanist, this is the idea I hold most dear. I don’t want placebos or half-truths, even if they feel warm and fuzzy. Nope. I want the truth. Even [Read More…]

Public Service Reminder

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard An invitation to think about how we are spending our days – for this is how we are spending our “one wild and precious life” ( A Summer Day by poet Mary Oliver).  [With gratitude to Berwick “Mahdi” Davenport of [Read More…]

The War of Positions and Communities of Resistance  

Antonio Gramsci was an early twentieth-century neo-Marxist who died in the 1930s as a result of imprisonment by the Italian Fascists. Gramsci described the inner-working of social systems as “the war of positions.” To simplify a bit, Gramsci thought that labels—cultural norms—create the positions oppressed groups must inhabit. These are the structures that keep certain [Read More…]

How Can You Say You Love Me?

The Rabbi Jeffrey Summit [of Tufts Hillel] tells a Hasidic story of the rabbi who watches two Russian peasants drinking together at an Inn. The first asks, “Boris, do you love me?” His friend replies, “Ivan, Do I love you, we’ve worked side by side on our farm for years. Of course I love you!” [Read More…]

The Mindfulness of Stoicism, Part Three  

Last week I continued a discussion of the seven Stoic methods of inner-discipline (what’s popularly called spiritual practice nowadays). http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uucollective/2016/08/stoic-mindfulness/ Number one is “Write and Reflect in the Morning.” The second is 2. Focus on Your Goals. The list continues: 3. Take the Long View and Practice Letting Go 4. Visualize Catastrophe and Practice Letting [Read More…]

Cosmopolitanism in a Time of Petty Nationalism 

To be Humanist is to say, with the philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, “My city is the world.” (In Greek the English word “world” is “kosmos.”) Humanists are necessarily cosmopolites, not because we are always leaping on jets touring the planet, but because we have realized that all perceived differences in humanity (homo sapiens sapiens) are [Read More…]

When Hope Seems Silly

The life that no longer trusts another human being and no longer forms ties to the political community is not a human life any longer. ~Martha Nussbaum This summer of 2016 has been a summer of tragedy. Many are mentioning the summer of 1968 as the last time so much bad news crowded a season. [Read More…]

Black Lives Matter more than White Fear

Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. In Louisiana In Minnesota In Texas Black Lives Matter. When we commit to undoing the systemic racism that sets black people up for harassed and penalized existence, that sets police up for fearful lives, that sets us all up to be dehumanized – only then can the news change. [Read More…]

You should start a meme, they said…

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