Monday, December 11, 2017

Animal Consciousness


If you’re an animal lover, you might want to pick up a copy of the current Time magazine Special called The Animal Mind.  The photographs are worth the price, and the written account by Jeffrey Kluger is excellent.  The title of the edition suggests a new idea for science: the idea that your cats and your dogs, as well as the birds and squirrels in your backyard, have minds.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Levity and Levitation

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In his closely observed life, Joseph of Copertino proved himself a mystic known for his frequent ecstasies and startling phenomena such as levitation. The friar appears as a giant counter-example to the one-dimensional metaphysics of physicalism.

But now for a moment let us shift the perspective and decon­struct the idea of levitation. There are less literal ways of looking at the phenomenon that also seem to speak to us. Surely there’s some­thing here of significance, beyond admiration and wonder. But what exactly? Are there threads of wisdom from Joseph’s otherworldly career we can weave into the mix of mundane life?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Deconstructing American Holidays



I recall when I was a boy living in Astoria, Queens, a day when my father took me to witness the unveiling of a new statue of Christopher Columbus--the hero that sailed the Ocean Blue and “discovered” America. This was all I knew about the meaning of the new statue.

 I had no idea that one day I would read a book by David Stannard, American Holocaust (1992), which details the destruction of the native peoples of the Americas, a destruction whose effects we still witness today, all of it a sequel of Columbus’s “discovery” of America.  And so it has been suggested that we rename the Columbus “holiday” Indigenous People’s Day.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Facing a Global Near-Death Experience

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While I was writing The Millennium Myth (1995), I got tired of recording dates for all the predictions of when the world was supposed to end.  Doomsday was regularly announced as imminent, but the doomsayers didn’t know what they were talking about.

But by 2017 something uncanny had happened.  It now appears that there are several global trends, all gaining momentum, which clearly point to a coming disaster of unprecedented proportions.  All these trends are the result of what human beings have done, are, as they say, anthropogenic.   

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