Where to Begin?

It has been such a long time since I posted my last real entry that I hardly know where to restart. I have two main streams of attention going on right now: getting my book done and the mess the US is in. They are closely tied together. For those who have followed my blog previously, you might have seen a bunch of entries about Iain McGilchrist and his divided brain theory. Rather than recapitulate his work, my understanding of it is available in a series of posts starting in June 2017 listed under the archives menu. His basic finding is that the each hemisphere of the brain presents a… Read More

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Surprise

Welcome to my newly redesigned blog. After relying on my son-in-law, Tim Swan, to keep me out of trouble since my blog started just about 10 years ago, I have set out on my own. But not without his help in getting me through the transition. This move has involved a switch in the platform I use to run the website and a major overhaul of the appearance of the blog. The older posts, prior to July 28, 2017 are still available on the site archive, although the format may be a bit messy due to losses in translation. The last 10 posts have been re-formatted. The major change, other… Read More

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A New Trumpian and Congressional Vocabulary

The level of behavior in Washington has gotten to such a low level that the usual language of politics and government is no longer very useful. There’s little or no point throwing in words like liberal or conservative; certainly not progressive. Fairness, justice, or equality causes nothing but blank stares. Service simply raises an image of the huge tip left on the table by the donor that Paul Ryan had lunch with last week. Constitutional is limited to talk about the morning’s workout. Harassment is what the media are creating with their fake news. The following seven words have been forbidden in CDC documents: vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based”… Read More

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It’s Time to Return.

It’s time to return. I noticed a flurry of activity on the blog yesterday, but don’t know why. In any case, I see this as a signal to return in earnest. The timing is right. I can see the end of my book rewrite in sight. What started as an exercise I thought would take a matter of weeks has stretched into half a year. I am pleased with the results so far. I think it is going to be very good, but I am not quite sure. I gave about half of the book to my wife to read and keep hearing strange, ominous sounds as she is going… Read More

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Empathy and Politics

It’s Saturday. The sun is out. It’s early and my malaise hasn’t yet caught up with me, so I will try to post something. Ever since I “retired” from my active role as an academic researcher and teacher, I have been on a quest to discover what makes me and the world work the way they do. I put me first because I think I need to figure myself out before I can do the same for the world. Toward this end, I even taught a course on the history of the “self” at my life-long learning institute. My last few posts signal that I have come upon a powerful… Read More

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Some Advice to Our Political Leaders, But Not the Usual Kind

The Trump election and Presidency have exposed some serious flaws in the system of morality and laws that underpin our country. Both of these foundations are pretty good, but not good enough to maintain a fair and just order in these modern times. My recent exposure to the divided brain model of McGilchrist keeps me awake at nights with new insights about the world and myself. Since, other than news about Harvey and Irma and other tragedies, there is little to read in the news except the present follies in Washington. I do see our political system these days more and more as folly. I do not read anything that… Read More

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More Politics and the Brain

I’m stuck in my thinking about the brain as my posts surely are showing. I can’t help seeing its separate hemispheres in people’s actions and personalities. At the same time, I cannot get over how powerful this model is in coming up with cogent explanations for what I see. Most people I know directly or observe through the media seem to have relatively balanced brains with the right and left acting together to avoid dominant extreme behavior. As McGilchrist takes great pains to point out in his book, The Master and His Emissary, both hemispheres need to be engaged into order to act effectively over the long run. It’s critical… Read More

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A Few Things

It’s getting harder and harder to find anything good to write about. New situations do show up most of the days, but what is getting written about them is usually the same old same old. What is most bothersome is what is not being written about. The President, even though he is expert at getting the headlines, is not the whole story. I even wonder sometimes whether there is some strategy here. “Keep the limelight on me while the destruction goes on mostly unnoticed. I can get attention to my executive orders, allowing my people at the helms of the Departments to clean house.” The newish slogan of the Washington… Read More

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Attention, the Brain, and the President

“Attention” has been in the news more than usual lately. Among the many mental features of President Trump written about every day is his short attention span. Besides the obvious issue in taking in the necessary inputs to confront the complex problems that merit his action, inability to pay attention is a sign of how his brain works. Attention is name for the complex processes by which the brain takes in and processes inputs from the senses. Attention determines what kind of world shows up and, consequently, how we act and the kind of person we are seen to be. According to Iain McGilchrist in The Master and his Emissary:… Read More

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The Problem of Labels (Especially Political Ones)

I have been tuning into the latest misadventure of our President with more horror than usual. His reading of the events in Charlotteville is plain and simply wrong. His being our President makes the wrongness even more egregious. Once the painful response to the wrongness of his position settled down, I turned to all the comments about the situation coming from the media of all stripes. that is from “both sides.” What I see is more evidence of the unreality of public (and probably much of private) life in America today. The reality of Charlottesville is that Nazism is absolutely not acceptable. Nazism was an aberration of humanity that was… Read More

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