Secure in Delusion

One of the charming yet potentially devastating traits of our species is in the way we lose touch with what’s real, even preferring illusions to what’s right in front of our face. And yet, the condition of fully believing our illusions – called delusion – creeps over us so gradually that we actually have noContinue reading “Secure in Delusion”

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”

Seduction of the Mindless Life

The exact age at which we begin making intentional choices in life is up for debate, but there are good reasons for putting it somewhere between three and five. This is about the time when language acquisition has provided us with a lens for organizing the world around us, and with a mirror for reflectingContinue reading “Seduction of the Mindless Life”

Beyond Ourselves

Every human society has a moral order it expects its members to uphold and obey. Evolution pushed us as a species into group sizes large enough where animal instincts were no longer sufficient guidance for this new and emotionally complicated situation, and we needed something “from above” to govern our behavior with each other. WhileContinue reading “Beyond Ourselves”

Becoming Homo Sapiens

When modern science organized the taxonomy of living things on Earth, it placed our own species in position with an almost religious confidence, as the “wise one” (Latin homo sapiens) among all the creatures. At the time there seemed good reason for such high regard, as we clearly possessed traits and abilities that put usContinue reading “Becoming Homo Sapiens”

Four Burning Questions

Many are looking all around for the clues to understand our present predicament. They look on the stage of national and global politics. They look at the deteriorating conditions of Earth’s climate and habitats. They look upon the cracking infrastructures of civil society. They look out the window at their neighbors. They look everywhere exceptContinue reading “Four Burning Questions”

God and COVID-19

Times like these tend to bring out the best and the worst in religion. On the “worse” side are declarations to the effect that the challenge we face is an instrument of god’s will. It has been sent for the divine purpose of punishing sinners, testing the righteous, or maybe just as a demonstration ofContinue reading “God and COVID-19”

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”

The Force of Character

For the longest time the debate was between Nature and Nurture as to which shaping force was greater in determining human personality, behavior, and destiny. Genetic determinism or social engineering (aka behaviorism) each argued for the larger role, with pretty much everybody agreeing that both were somehow in the mix. Had anyone bothered to askContinue reading “The Force of Character”

The Mirror of Religion

If god is not “up there” and heaven is not “after this,” then why would anyone get involved with religion? One obvious answer might be to make money – speaking primarily on behalf of TV evangelists and other hucksters who exploit our fantasies of immortality and our craving for absolute answers. They hook us inContinue reading “The Mirror of Religion”