I recently awakened to discover that a plant thief had raided my succulent garden at the front of our house, snipping off cuttings and pulling out some plants entirely by their roots. Having poured years into developing my garden, I felt shocked, angered and violated. Before long, paranoia set in, and… Read the rest
When Sigmund Freud authored Civilization and Its Discontents in 1929, the world was in the throes of social, economic and political upheaval. The 1920s brought with it a post-WW1 era of explicit sexuality, financial excess then collapse, and world politics riven by domination, resistance and revolt.… Read the rest
We like to think of ourselves as rational beings, the animal that thinks. However, the common characteristic of complex animal life is hunger, a primal force so powerful that it alone provides sufficient explanation for the development of human civilization.
If you’ve ever watched bird hatchlings… Read the rest
Ever since the largest trees in my neighborhood were cut down, including a Red Mahogany Eucalyptus topping out at one-hundred feet tall, habits of the wildlife in my yard have changed. Squirrels, for one, disappeared entirely for several months. There had been a crew of three or four digging holes, … Read the rest
There’s nothing that says civilization better then concrete, the perfect word and substance to encapsulate the evolution of human society.
Humanity’s Paleolithic experience, perhaps 500,000 years long, was fluidic – sensorily and intellectually in harmony with nature’s analogical cycles… Read the rest
The essence of animate life is movement, both interior and exterior. The movement of animals exposes them to a range of objects and prompts an intimate interaction with the physical world. Through this interaction, each animal learns about its environment, making distinctions between what’s favorable… Read the rest
Our planet’s major religion is a materialist ideology that’s quickly bringing civilization to its ultimate crisis: consumerism. Having transformed humankind into Homo economicus, consumerism has invaded and replaced virtually all indigenous cultures, producing a homogeneous world civilization… Read the rest
Only rarely has a political ideology been tagged to an individual politician. Argentina’s autocratic leader Juan Peron engendered Peronism, but until Donald Trump, his was among the very few cases of politico-ideological cultism. Autocrats around the world have achieved cult status, such as North… Read the rest
Andrew Cuomo is just the latest high-profile man to become ensnared in the #me too movement. By today’s count four women have come forward with complaints about his flirtatious sexual advances, and in my experience, where there are four, there are forty. Men like Cuomo can’t stop; they suffer from what… Read the rest
When the likes of Marjory Taylor Green, the newly elected representative from Georgia, starts spouting her QAnon nonsense about Jewish space lasers and baby-eating democrats, it’s easy to dismiss her as simply “looney” (as Mitch McConnell did) or a shameless publicity-seeker. Either or both of … Read the rest
Our sensory perception is of things in the present, and that perception is often of just the immediate surface layer. Walking down the sidewalk seems ordinary, as does the concrete beneath our feet, but nothing is ordinary. Behind every thing there is an immensely long story stretching back in time … Read the rest
What in earlier times might be a minor dispute between folks explodes into full-out verbal warfare, shaming, and humiliation, attracting the attention of potentially thousands of strangers eager to get in on the action. Like a viral pandemic, outrage on the internet spreads from local neighborhoods… Read the rest
I’ve spent the past five days glued to the impeachment hearings, an event with an obvious conclusion before it ever began. It’s no surprise that Donald Trump was found not guilty by the Senate; for me what was the most significant moment happened after the vote, namely the concluding speech by Minority… Read the rest
I’m unhappy about the number of times I hear the word “fight” invoked in political discourse from representatives on both sides of the aisle. “I will fight for you” has become standard fare for politicians seeking public support, along with “fighting for legislation,” “fighting for your rights,” … Read the rest
In the midst of America’s “red scare” of the 1950s, Hollywood responded with films like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the horror flick that generated the meme of “pod people.” In the film, a psychiatrist is visited by a growing number of people who claim their family members are not the same as they… Read the rest
In describing Adolph Eichmann, a Nazi officer who dutifully accounted for the genocide of nearly uncountable victims of Hitler’s Nazi terror and extermination, author Hannah Arendt famously coined the phrase “the banality of evil”. In Arendt’s evaluation, Eichmann was not an enthusiastic Nazi… Read the rest
I was fascinated the other day, while watching interviews with a few of the insurrectionists during the siege of the Capitol building on January 6th, at their inability to explain why they were there and what they hoped to accomplish. One middle-aged gentleman, if I may be permitted to call him that, … Read the rest
It’s worthwhile remembering that America has not always been a “one person – one vote” democracy; our founders offered voting privileges to white, male property owners only, and it remained that way for generations. It was only until the 20th century that women secured the right to vote, along… Read the rest
The honest answer is “no.” What we’ve seen this past week is part of who we are: complicated, confused, misinformed and violent. Of all of these, by far the most significant is complicated; it’s not possible to reduce human thought and behavior to a simple formula, particularly in a democracy.
The inclination… Read the rest