October 1, 2015

On the first Thursday of the month, I usually do a meditation session with my karate students and give a little talk about our training. The sessions have a mix of adults and kids, so sometimes the tone of the talks is all over the place, and what I write beforehand doesn’t always reflect what gets said. But I thought some might find this of relevance. There was another random act of violence today, several people killed at Umpqua Community… Read more

October 1, 2015

The term carries inaccurate (or at least very questionable) assumptions about the specific cases involved, and using it causes us to take on those assumptions and so distorts our thinking. We’d be well-served to drop it and use only the more specific terms so that we can think more clearly about the issues involved. And that’s the idea at the heart of the post that launched a thousand social media shares. You may, of course, disagree in part or in whole with this conclusion. Read more

September 30, 2015

By the time you read this, despite two judges of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals finding that the evidence against him was flawed and tenuous, Richard Glossip will (barring a miracle) be dead, murdered by the government of Oklahoma. There is no rational reason for this. There is no sound argument that these occasional killings by the government make citizens safer or more free. It is nothing but a human sacrifice ritual, some atavistic hold-over from the worst-old-days of… Read more

September 29, 2015

If he believes that the Buddha was a good-looking guy, who used supernatural means to be born that way, and that this handsomeness helped the Buddha be loved by — and therefore listened to by — monks, nuns, laypeople, and even deities, then it would logically follow that any of His Holiness’s own future incarnations should follow that example and use their supposed supernatural abilities to make themselves pleasing to the eye. That would hold for a female incarnation just as much as for a male one. Read more

September 26, 2015

Laziness, dishonesty, plagiarism and — sometimes — disrespect are failings to be avoided. But copying ideas is not a failing. We have been copying from other groups for forever, probably since before we were human. Read more

September 23, 2015

I’ve been thinking of Prometheus, thief and teacher, trickster and benefactor of mankind. I’ve been thinking how he is a natural patron for “Makers”, a subculture that wasn’t really named until the 21st century but whose roots can be seen going back to the 1960s in the Whole Earth Catalog, in the DIY attitude of the punks of the 70s and 80s, and in the computer hobbyists of the 80s and 90s who assembled their own PCs, sometimes wiring up custom solutions. Read more

September 23, 2015

As reported at Lion’s Roar, Huston Smith, one of the most distinguished modern American scholars of religion, is in hospice care. His condition is described as “very weak” on his website. If you’ve never read his book The World’s Religions (originally titled The Religions of Man) you ought to put it at the top of your list. Read more

September 14, 2015

Now perhaps it’s jumping the gun to assume anyone will give a damn, that they won’t just dig a shallow hole and unceremoniously dump my corpus therein, without words or a marker. But if anyone cares, I don’t want some priest who I never even met to be talking about me. I don’t want any talk about how my “soul” left my body like a pilot ejecting from a doomed aircraft and is in some sort of paradise now or is getting ready for another mission. No naive afterlife BS. But in terms of ritual, I want someone to speak something like this: Read more

September 13, 2015

my heart, too, is irregular and worn broken and mended many times Read more

September 11, 2015

I don’t know if you’ve ever stood on a stage and been the focus of attention during a national emergency. It’s kind of intense. Read more

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