Our conceptions of joy, love, companionship, creativity, aesthetics and the like are the stuff of human culture, highly meaningful to people but of no particular consequence to nature. If we ruthlessly consider the fundamental role of animal life on earth, we quickly arrive at one inexorable conclusion:… Read the rest
Put people together and you’re sure to find trouble. Families, husbands and wives, siblings, cousins, politicians; no matter how you find them, people always have trouble getting along. Human society reflects just how terribly difficult … Read the rest
Much is being made at present about the effects of screen time, particularly on children. Screen time, of course, refers to the time spent engaged with one’s smart phone, iPad or laptop, which by all accounts has skyrocketed to epidemic proportions. Issues of attention deficits and addictive… Read the rest
When the Greek city states of Athens and Sparta found themselves allied against the massive armies of the Persian king Darius and his son Xerxes (Circa 460 BC), they established a narrative about the “Barbarian” people threatening Greek society. Later, the very same narrative was adopted… Read the rest
I’m old enough to have been right in the middle of the cultural, political and social turmoil of the nineteen sixties, and amidst the world’s current upheavals I sometimes feel as if history is repeating itself.
It’s not difficult to make comparisons about then and now; racial and… Read the rest
The decision by a community to commit itself to historic preservation is a commitment to enforcing rules. Unless rules are created that define what contributes to historic preservation and what does not, the entire effort becomes impossible.
Here in Sonoma we… Read the rest
“Climate’s capacity to inflict misery rises steeply when imperial arrogance and ideology hinder a society’s adjustments to extreme weather.”
Eugene Linden – The Winds of Change
Four years into persistent drought, California is now being told an El Niño is forming… Read the rest
Countries have used a variety of excuses to go to war. Some cite the need for protection of people who speak their language, like Vladimir Putin is doing in the Ukraine or Adolph Hitler did before annexing the “Low Countries” adjacent to Germany in the 1930’s. Others, like the United… Read the rest
Beginning with painting on rocks and writing code for binary computers, the records of what we know have variously been kept. Between these two extremes are found language, hieroglyphics, cuneiform markings in clay, pictograms, alphabets, printing… Read the rest
For nearly 10,000 years human beings have lived in a land of milk and honey. Milk and its derivatives are used ubiquitously as food, and the importance of cattle made them one of society’s first forms of money. Old African tribes like the Maasai still measure wealth by number of cattle and notably, the … Read the rest
Roughly 500 years ago, Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable type and the modern book was born. Gutenberg hoped that his invention would make the Bible more available and help sustain and enlarge the Catholic faith, but ironically… Read the rest
For most of modern history, wars were fought between nations – France against Germany, Italy against Austria, England against France, Japan against China, America against Germany, Japan, North Vietnam, and so on. While the nature and character of each war differed, what they all had in common… Read the rest