Browsing All Posts filed under »philosophy«

There Are No Perfect Songs

July 28, 2013


I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as the perfect song.  Perfection means you need go no further.  No other work is needed.  Stop now.  The job is done. There are no songs like that. Let’s move past the strong objection that nothing could be perfect anyway and just get […]

Earaches, Loneliness & the Health Benefits of Kindness

December 4, 2012


The science and reality of psychological pain I was recently reading an article about emotional pain.  It put a scientific gloss on what was clear to me already, that emotional pain is real pain.  But it added a few other surprising insights on top of that. Of course emotional pain is real pain.  Loneliness has […]

The Generation That Didn’t Go to the Moon

August 26, 2012


I grew up on science fiction.  Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, HG Wells, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison.  Etc. The entire history of human space exploration has happened within my lifetime, within the lifetime of Baby Boomers like me.  From Sputnik in 1957, through the moon landings in the ‘60s […]

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

January 18, 2012


I reprint this famous essay on the occasion of it being banned in Arizona.   (Arizona also banned Shakespeare’s “Tempest.”  Get your copy soon.)  On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau [1849] I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted […]

John Donne – No man is an island, entire of itself

December 15, 2011


 No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: […]

Onions Brooms Questions

September 2, 2011


You can never really know anything, but you can have knowledge which has been well-questioned. You need questions to sort through knowledge, because you can’t rely on experience alone.  For instance, if you and I walk down the street, and I look left and you look right, whose experience of the street is the correct […]

If you hate…

July 26, 2011


If you hate, if you let your hate tell you what to do, then you have become one of the people our parents taught us to fear. If you arm yourself for military action against an enemy, you declare yourself an enemy—against the public peace. If finally the innocent die at your hands, the purity […]


August 28, 2010


I’m an introvert. Everybody—except sociopaths and psychopaths—is an introvert to some extent.  That’s the part of you which pays attention to your effect on others. Extroverts don’t care that much.  They assume that their own acceptance in society is enough to wipe away any missteps.  They’re right, because as humans we’re programmed to deal with […]

The North Wind and the Sun

August 13, 2010


I remember encountering this story in elementary school, probably in grade one.  Even the illustrations seem the same.  The story has stuck with me, I think, because the moral rings true. – a fable from Aesop The North Wind and the Sun disputed which was the more powerful, and agreed that he should be declared […]

Doing Evil to Create Good, cont.

June 18, 2010


I wrote before  that doing evil to create good has an inherent flaw:  the certainty of the evil has to be balanced against the uncertainty of the good. I realize now that I left out the greatest flaw.  If we accept evil as a means to good, we validate evil.  And to validate evil is […]