December 2, 2016

Toynbee’s paradigm, that the collapse of a civilization begins when the creative minority is replaced by a dominant minority, applies to the current situation in our country. The dominant minority in this case consists of straight white males who claim to be Christian, but whose only value is selfishness. Their domination can be ended if the vast majority—women, genuine Christians, practicing members of all religions, people of any color other than white, people who believe in and practice compassion—ally with… Read more

November 13, 2016

The normal human living group throughout all history, from hunting and gathering societies to the eighteenth century, was the extended family, about two dozen people. The Industrial Revolution created the “nuclear family” of husband, wife, and kids, so that workers could be moved to where factories had to be built. Such movement is no longer needed. Rather than be homeless, combine your household with that of relatives or friends who share your values, who you know you can live with…. Read more

November 9, 2016

Melinda was thinking about this; I suggested the name. Obviously we are dealing with a “dominant minority” that consists of straight, white, “Christian” men, those who, decades ago, were the majority. The problem is not with every one of them, of course, just a great many of them. The idea is to work for a coalition of ALL the people whom the egregious Mr. Trump appears to hate. Equally obviously, “business as usual” is over. Politics as usual is also… Read more

November 3, 2016

Let’s look at what IQ means. It is not an innate, unchangeable trait. It is a measurement. If a kid at age 10 knows what a typical 15-year-old knows, then he has an IQ of 150; that is, he learns 50% faster than the average kid.  IQ is a measurement of speed of learning, and that speed can change. Further, the measurement is keyed to the educational system. It uses a standardized curriculum as the milestones. Hence, IQ cannot be… Read more

October 14, 2016

George Gurdjieff, among others, pointed out that the vast majority of humans live in a state of delusion, being ignorant of their own nature, of the nature of consciousness, and of the nature of physical reality. Are you one of the deluded? The deluded, of course, never know that they are deluded. The existence of the state of delusion is obvious if one is Awakened. “Awakening” is the term the Gnostics used for their experience, and what they “knew” was… Read more

August 21, 2016

Yes, I am all three of those; how I define them makes them compatible. That is no stranger than Alan Watts’ being both an Anglican mystic and a Buddhist. I will discuss them one at a time. Agnosticism is philosophical. It consists of having to admit that there are important questions to which one can never know the answer, here defining knowledge as what can be learned by applying the scientific method. Science is not the accumulated products of that… Read more

August 19, 2016

John, I very much appreciate your calm and well-informed response to my earlier blog entitled “The Gospels Are Inherently Anti-Semitic: Deal with It.”  That title is inflammatory, but accurate. The underlying social issue is what should be done, and by whom, about the problem. You and I know and agree that the Greek hoi Iudaioi means and should be translated as “the Judeans.” Then it would refer merely to the citizens of a particular kingdom a long time ago. Who… Read more

August 15, 2016

Two blocks from our house on Pine Bluff. Found by accident. Gravestones dated in the eighteen hundreds, not overgrown with weeds, protected by city law, maintained like a park as if to assuage a conscience.   There are no Jews in Paris now. Surrounded by Stars of David, I wondered if I’m Jewish enough to help create a minyan.   We moved to Paris, where Frank James retired after Jesse was shot— Melinda’s mother was Lois James— thinking we had… Read more

August 2, 2016

When my Ethics class was about to get to the unit on Virtue Ethics, I began wondering what the interface or overlap with “Divine Commandment” theory might be. After all, both present a set of statements about what one should or should not do. The Jewish concept of “commandments” is that they are a gift to humankind, in being a set of instructions that enable one to live the best possible life, despite its usual difficulties. The commandments are thus… Read more

August 1, 2016

I spend about as much time as any other well-informed person being concerned about the problems America is facing and, like everyone else, not having a clue about what I can do to help ameliorate the situation. I feel that I should be doing whatever I can. I certainly agree with Edmund Burke’s observation that evil can triumph only if good people do nothing. But evil has no objective, ontological existence. It consists entirely of the absence of the good,… Read more

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