Away for a Few Weeks

I would like to say I am running away from everything that is going on in Washington and our political system, in general. I can see that very little, if anything, positive is going to come out of the impeachment process. I hope I am wrong. The Constitution needs a little help these days to recover what I believe was the dream of the founders of the US. But the truth is that my wife and I are heading tomorrow for southern Africa and a few weeks in the bush hoping to spot the many wondrous birds and animals that… Read More

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Thomas Kuhn, Iain McGilchrist, and the Divided-Brain

I am always looking for examples of dichotomous situations that add to the credibility of McGilchrist’s divided-brain model. The more instances that it explains something important, the more likely it will be accepted as a new, paradigmatic design model for attacking those “big,” persistent problems in our individual and cultural lives we are struggling to overcome. Last night, as I was in bed, trying to quiet my thoughts, one really good one popped up. I have been reading a series of essays by Richard Rorty, collected in his book, Philosophy and Social Hope (great read). One is devoted to a… Read More

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Thoughts for the New Decade

  As I wrote last year, I will be posting my poems occasionally. Two Cheers for 2020 The New Year is off with a thud. Forest fires hit the daily news. Oceans poisoned with plastic crud. Our Patriots are doomed to lose. The Pres. is tempting fate and more By launching drones in foreign lands. He’s stirring up the winds of war. The future rests in parlous hands. Our governance system is broke. Enriching few through lies and stealth. Hardly the way the founders spoke; They served the Nation’s commonwealth. —-I think positive, and cross my fingers, —-But my inner… Read More

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Sufficiency, Caring, and the Right-brain

One of my colleagues, after a look at my new book, suggested that I had omitted an important concept, sufficiency. True, the word does not appear anywhere in the text, but the idea lingers in the background. Sufficient must take its meaning from some reference state or quality, as the amount of something just enough to achieve or attain that stage or quality. In particular, the concern raised is triggered by the impending collapse of the Earth’s life support system. The global consumption of energy and goods is destabilizing the Earth’s capacity to maintain human and other living creatures’ habitats.… Read More

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We Are Too Many to Fit in Noah’s Ark

The first likely climate change refugees from the continental US were featured in an article in the NYTimes today. With the headline, “Florida Keys Deliver a Hard Message: As Seas Rise, Some Places Can’t Be Saved,” the article showed the painful cost of delay in confronting this threat. A new study done for the Florida Keys showed that the cost of protecting a three-mile stretch of road serving about two dozen homes would be so much that it could not be justified. Given present estimates of ocean rise, the cost of raising this short stretch would be about $75 million… Read More

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Emotional Intelligence

In my daily ramblings through my email and on the web, I often spot something worth commenting on in my blog. Thinking back to when I started blogging about 11 years ago, I divided my posts between ones about my books and somethings about politics or the state of the world. I cannot do much with the latter topics these days. it’s just too depressing. But I still can try to tie my own work to the larger picture, and that’s what follows in this post I was reading a post from one of my regular weekly bloggers and found… Read More

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An Old Poet’s Warning

I have been writing poetry for a while. I put something on my blog earlier this month. A number of the poems have a political theme and won’t stand the test of time or literary chops, so i might as well expose them now. I will be adding more from time to time. Here’s a sonnet, written about a year ago. An Old Poet’s Warning “The centre cannot hold”–Yeats’s sharp line Seems to be on the verge of coming true. His “second coming” is blocking my view And I feel shivers moving up my spine. His slouching “rough beast” has… Read More

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Right v. Rights

I have been doing some computer and files housekeeping, and uncovered an older article from the NYTimes “The Stone” column (about philosophy), that merits comment. The article, “What We Owe to Others: Simone Weil’s Radical Reminder,” by Robert Zaretsky recalls that her “reflections on the nature of obligation offer a bracing dose of sanity in our perplexing and polarizing times.” It’s a great article and deserves to be read in its entirety. Zaretsky focuses on Weil’s concern about the focus on one’s rights, a personal concern versus what is morally right, an impersonal, universal concept. The problem, for Weil, with… Read More

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My Safety Valve

I think I may have posted a few of my poems on this blog before. I have been writing poetry fairly seriously for the last couple of years. Mostly sonnets, but a few old-fashioned, structured poems like villanelles, sestinas, and pantoums. Here is a villanelle I wrote around Election Day, 2018. I find writing verse is a good way to relieve the tightness that I find pervades every part of me these days. Villanelles repeat the 1st and 3rd lines of the first stanza in an ordered way through the rest of the poem. Where I stand on the political… Read More

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Upside-down Economics

We now have, thanks to Kate Raworth, donut economics. Herman Daly gave us steady-state economics. Regular professionals gave us micro- and macroeconomics. And so on. Today, I am announcing a completely new type of economics: upside-down economics. It is the science of too much. From Adam Smith onward, economics has been largely about how to manage scarcity. But today, while scarcity is still a real issue for much of the world’s population, here in the US and other rich countries, the issue has been turned on its head; we have too much of a lot of things. It is important… Read More

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