While on my daily walk I happened upon a box of free books and sitting atop the stack was a paperback copy of George Orwell’s 1943 Animal Farm. I first read Animal Farm in the mid-sixties while in high school and remember it fondly. In the form of a fairytale, it tells a story about animals on a farm in England… Read the rest
The word “privileged” is used to connote something akin to an honor bestowed upon a person due to their status or accomplishments, but today “privileged” is deployed as an insult. Ethnicity, gender, economic success, even age are now suspect, relegating… Read the rest
My granddaughter is thirteen, a full-fledged teenager of the twenty-first century. Look Accordingly, as a devoted grandfather, I make an effort to understand her world so that we can compare notes; this means I’ve spent a fair amount of time exploring the world of TikTok.
For those of you unfamiliar… Read the rest
In his observations of America during the latter part of the 20th century, social and media critic professor Marshall McLuhan observed a curious effect of electronic media, what he called the increasing “tribalization” of culture. In effect, the tribalization he noted was a re-tribalization –… Read the rest
I woke up this morning. Usually, waking up seems nothing special, but my older brother Jeffrey won’t be waking up anymore; he died this past week after succumbing to brain cancer.
My brother and I were not particularly close; he’s lived in Connecticut for the past thirty years, a long way from California.… Read the rest
Wearing badges and carrying guns on their hips does not entitle police officers to commit murder, yet this happens all across America. Despite training, use-of-force standards, and policies governing when a weapon should be used, case after case of shooting deaths appear on the news weekly. And in… Read the rest
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