Hazily or fuzzily a resolution for 2018: making fuller use of online learning programs incited me to sign up for a course in neuroeconomics offered through Coursera. So far, I am not regretting my mildly impulsive action. Having...Read More
Practice random kindness to others and commit senseless acts of beauty. Could this be the antidote to the spreading anger, intolerance, violence and cruelty that seems to be taking over our culture?Read More
A few weeks ago, I reconnected with a pottery studio on the other side of town because I had an urge to take up pottery again. The instructor I met there me that he also taught at my local Recreation Center, just down the street from my home. He urged me to enroll for his class there as I would find it much easier to access. After some thought, I decided to take up his suggestion: I tried to register for one of his nearby classes only to find them all already full. What a disappointment. Instead, I signed up for a class with a different instructor. On the first day of her class, I learned that there had been a snafoo in renewing the contract of my preferred instructor and that all his classes had been canceled. A flow of gratitude overcame me for having accepted my feeling of loss at the time of class registration as my “misfortune” now meant that I was still able to re-engage with pottery and its attendant hopes of becoming creative with clay and fire again. What had been an obstruction had opened a new pathway to the desired outcome. Something to think about: if you wish to be creative, don’t necessarily follow reason to conclusions. Here is a link to my related post which contains another example of adversity being the mother of gratification.Read More
Yesterday I was reading from Chapter 5 of Robert Jay Lifton’s recent book “The Climate Swerve: Reflections on Mind, Hope and Survival” (link), the chapter on Malignant Normality. What I took out of my reading was that most people are unable to realistically envisage the destruction of their culture and global environment. Drawing on US history, he found that when we were faced with the prospect of what later got to be named “mutually assured destruction” resulting from nuclear war, we tended to “normalize” what we felt powerless to change. As a result, we as an informed citizenry accepted as normal and sustainable some of the most artful but fundamentally unrealistic dodges that our leaders offered up. In my related blogpost, I relate some examples and offer my thoughts about themRead More
At the outbreak of the Iraq war, Chris Hedges, a graduate of the Harvard University Divinity School, wrote a book about his decades long experiences as war correspondent in Central America, the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning is a must read, even if a harrowing one. The linked post (click here) is a first in a series that I propose to share with you. Through these posts I hope to cast some light and provide some backdrop for grappling with issues that are coming to dominate our socio-cultural context, including nativism, nuclear war, global warming as well as multiple forms of terror being adopted and perpetrated in the name of salvation.