Life as it is

In his important work The Denial of Death (1973), Ernest Becker made a case for seeing much of Western culture as a series of “immortality projects,” where we have worked collectively to hide from ourselves (deny) the bald fact that one day we will die. Great and small people alike have invested themselves in projectsContinue reading “Life as it is”

What Do You Want? (The Pyramid of Human Desires)

Let me start with a bold declaration. Each of us – every human being – wants to be healthy, happy, and in harmonious relationships with others and the world around us. Of course, we pursue many other things, like sex, wealth, power, status, and immortality, but these are only derivative and secondary as compared toContinue reading “What Do You Want? (The Pyramid of Human Desires)”

Wisdom’s Long Journey

The spiritual wisdom traditions teach that every human being is somewhere in the process of waking up, that we are each emerging from a long, deep sleep. We’re not yet fully awake, most of us, but a new way of being – what Paul Tillich named the New Being – is even now available, andContinue reading “Wisdom’s Long Journey”

Out of Depression

The most significant accomplishment for any human being is to become fully human. That may sound redundant to some, and like a downgrade to others, but those who are most in touch with the human adventure have long insisted that we are still a long way from the evolutionary ideal of our species. And they’veContinue reading “Out of Depression”

Human Progress

In The Power of Myth Joseph Campbell says that “Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us.” He read the world’s mythologies as “magnified dreams” (ibid) projecting through metaphor and fiction the inner potentialities and evolutionary adventure of the human spirit. Even if the Hero of this journey typically returnsContinue reading “Human Progress”

Good and Evil

A picture is worth a thousand words. What is this picture saying? Donald Trump wanted it to say that he is God’s advocate for Law and Order in American society. The photo op was staged after peaceful protesters of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police were cleared out of the way with flash-bang grenades andContinue reading “Good and Evil”

A Sacred Place

Take a moment to reflect on the long journey that’s brought you here. So many twists and turns, so many ups and downs. It’s not been easy, and yet somehow you’ve managed to arrive right where you are. Your peculiar quirks and hangups, along with many endearing qualities and positive strengths, testify to an undeniableContinue reading “A Sacred Place”

One Song

An important challenge for contemporary cosmology – referring to our present-day theory and general picture of reality – involves finding a place for the higher mysteries of mind, ego, and spirit. Like Odysseus steering his ship between Scylla the six-headed dragon on one side, and Charybdis the crushing whirlpool on the other, we need toContinue reading “One Song”

The Story That Got You Here

Here’s what I already know about you, even if we’ve never met. You were conceived and developed in your mother’s womb, during which time you were physically attached to her by an umbilical cord that delivered the oxygen and nutrients you needed. That was your paradisal “garden of Eden,” where everything you required was instantlyContinue reading “The Story That Got You Here”

Getting Off

Humans have been seeking happiness ever since self-consciousness threw us out of the garden of simple need satisfaction and into the quest for personal fulfillment. Inside the garden, reality was experienced as a provident web of support. Outside, we are on our own – or so it feels. Our human condition – separate, self-conscious, andContinue reading “Getting Off”