Objective reality; prove it to me! What seems obvious is strange; proving objective reality can only be accomplished subjectively. It’s like the old saw about whether a tree falls in the forest if nobody’s there to hear it; without a subjective observer, objective reality may not exist.
When you have a 70-foot Black Walnut in the yard, you have a lot of squirrels. Right now, a clutch of four are scampering around its branches, making a last-ditch effort to find any nuts that have not fallen and grab them before they’re gone. The competition is fierce and includes high speed chases through… Read the rest
We think of living things in biological terms, but it is also possible to consider life from chemical, physical, and even economic perspectives. However we define life, both chemistry and physics are embedded in it deeply, and together form the economy of living systems. Although we easily place life… Read the rest
I know it sounds like the title of a 1940’s one-reel 3-Stooges movie, but America’s flirtation with Fascism ain’t no slapstick comedy. At the mention of Fascism nowadays, most people flash on Hitler and Swastikas and concentration camps, which is too bad, because Fascism is so much more than that.
I ran into an old friend at the market the other day, and when I asked him how he’s doing, he replied, “Still an asshole, and you?” We both laughed. We had a nice chat and after he departed I began to think about the mystery of who we are and the persistence of self.
Len carries Pierre’s lifeless body to the garden. He knew this day would come and is prepared. A grave in a corner of the walled garden awaits Pierre’s burial; a large pile of dirt next to it is topped by a shovel. Lying on the ground is flat piece of stone about two by three feet in size, and four inches… Read the rest
Yes, I know adaptablist is not a real word, that is to say, one you’ll find in the dictionary. However, it is an excellent analogy about the truth of survival; in Darwinian terms, the most adaptable are the fittest. Like the adaptability of language, the adaptability of people has spread us across the … Read the rest
The encampment of the young ones on the banks of the river is abuzz with colorful excitement. Shorter days, which usually meant traveling to the other side of the valley, now means that dusk comes earlier and dawn later. Rather than prompting early dormancy, the family of young botanicus responds… Read the rest
Aristotle thought so, and his ideas dominated for many thousands of years. Both living and non-living matter, he believed, were purpose-driven, carried forth by an initiating force towards a goal in a process he named Telos, what we today call teleology.
The lights in the Gittleman library flicker, and then go out. Despite their best efforts to maintain the home’s systems, each passing decade has taken its toll. Parts that once were available are no longer made. Old circuits and relays reach the end of their effective… Read the rest
One could easily conclude that mankind is warlike; some would even argue that warfare is a natural, even beneficial activity, an opinion shared by Homer, General George Patton, and today’s bevy of nationalistic leaders. War and its competitive derivatives – economic, cultural, and religious… Read the rest
Something altogether different happens; the younger members of the botanicus family decide to remain at their current encampment rather than accompanying the older members across the valley. It is not the result of conflict or discord, nor the reflection of any estrangement or alienation… Read the rest
When I took high school algebra in 1963 it was taught as Set Theory, an element of New Math. Forced to teach New Math, Miss Lewis, who was nearing the end of her long career, had as little understanding of what she was teaching as we students had of what was being taught. What previously had been the straightforward… Read the rest
The life of Pierre Gittleman, it turns out, was and is of no concern to the aged, remaining residents of Halifax. The past decade, hallmarked by the slow erosion of the systems and infrastructure created to sustain its population, has doomed Halifax to history’s footnotes, along with most… Read the rest
Whether scientifically based or values-based, progress describes a path forward and indicates improvement over time. Using a scientifically based, statistical evaluation of progress is easy, but is not without its own downsides. Ultimately, any evaluation of human progress is beset by how it … Read the rest
The season passes quickly, and the botanicus clan along with their Sus pig companions, prepares to make the day-long trek across to the other side of valley. Despite the death of Karma, the activities of gathering, decorating, and assembling small stones continues, but has taken on new meaning,… Read the rest
“Well,” announces Pierre, “as my father used to say, ‘the cat’s out of the bag.’” He and Len are sitting in the library. “I’ve read about cats, father,” Len replies, not entirely understanding Pierre’s point. “As I recall,” Len goes on, “Panthera tigris and other species of large cats were … Read the rest
Between awareness of climate change, an Internet filled with disturbing images, cultural shifts about identity, and extreme political division, things seem terribly complicated and difficult right now. It’s tempting for those of us born in the 1940s or 50s to feel that life was once simpler and more… Read the rest