Category Archives: Philosophy

Keepers of Private Notebooks

Yesterday, I read parts of something Joan Didion wrote in 1968, entitled, “On Keeping a Notebook.”  One excerpt in particular struck a chord with me: Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, … Continue reading

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On Time

Days race by, behaving as if the clock hurries to complete its tasks quickly, lest time render the hands of the clock unable to accurately measure the duration of the unfolding of experience. There will come a moment, or perhaps it … Continue reading

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Adequately Altruistic or Acquisitive

Among other difficulties with wealth redistribution programs is the problem that involves reaching agreement on the definitions of two adjectives: “enough” and “too much.” If we could achieve collective accord on what constitutes enough and how much is too much, … Continue reading

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Exploring an Empty Barrel

I spent part of the last hour of this morning reading bits and pieces of about six months’ worth of newsletters from the Lake Chapala Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. I’m not sure just why I found my way there. I started … Continue reading

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Learning Something Every Day

I spent much of the day yesterday in tourist-host mode, first accompanying a visiting friend to bathhouse row in Hot Springs, followed by a short stroll along Central Avenue, popping into a few shops and otherwise behaving as a tourist … Continue reading

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Compensatory Existence

I compensate for my shortcomings. If I can. And it’s not always possible. Sometimes, my shortcomings are so extensive, so overwhelming, that it’s simply impossible to overcome them. It feels like I’m trying to perform an appendectomy on an uncooperative … Continue reading

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My Children

Until last night, I’d never thought of what my child might have been like, had I fathered children. I’d never even thought about the “what if” before. Whether a daughter or a son, I’d never considered another human being carrying … Continue reading

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Intellectual Refraction

My college sociology classes exposed me to concepts of social deviance I had never encountered in the “real world.” Once exposed to those concepts, I looked at the world through a different set of eyes. No longer could behaviors be … Continue reading

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When Is It Wrong to Ask Questions and Express Opinions?

A dust-up occurred earlier this year among certain people of influence in the loosely-woven halls of power of a minor religious denomination that I choose not to name. The brouhaha erupted over publication of an essay that recounted a woman’s … Continue reading

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Certainty

Once a mind is made up, irrevocably, it becomes unbending and brittle. It becomes subject to irreversible rupture when irrefutable, contrary facts present themselves. When evidence—that an immutable decision was based on fallacy—is impossible to ignore, the mind shatters into  … Continue reading

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Incompatible with Life

Thinking deeply about matters thought cannot change constitutes either wasted energy or vital mental exercise or both. Yet even the assertion that thought cannot bring about change induces change. The contention that any thought is wasted spurs the mind to … Continue reading

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State of Flux

You know who I was, not who I am. I am in a state of flux, a man engaged in constant mutation from one form to another. Every breath I take in leaves a different person’s mouth. The change takes … Continue reading

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Ćevapčići

Last night’s dinner consisted of ćevapčići (pronounced, as best as I can determine, “chevopcheche”), sliced purple onion, and sliced tomatoes. I made the ćevapčići from a pound of 80/20 ground beef, one-third of a cup of lukewarm water, and a … Continue reading

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Compassion for Monsters

Feeling compassion for people whose ill will and animosity shine like beacons of hate is not easy. But it may be necessary. If we are to have any hope of healing the divisions that have brought the world to the … Continue reading

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Time is Money

Time is money. That apothegm means, to most of us, that time is a valuable resource and, as such, it is better to do things as quickly as possible. But I also see it from another perspective. That is, one … Continue reading

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The Appeal of Doubt and Uncertainty

Yesterday morning, after the regular church service, I watched and listened to a TED Talk entitled “The Gospel of Doubt,” delivered by Casey Gerald. Hearing Gerald’s words was like listening in on my own thoughts. But I have nothing in … Continue reading

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Someone Else

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? I came upon this pithy aphorism-in-the-form-of-a-question while I was searching for the words of a common platitude that admonishes us to refrain from comparing ourselves … Continue reading

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Drenched in Thought

In mid-November 2012 (and many other times, before and after) I wrote a little about why I find Buddhism refreshing. Among my thoughts seven years ago was this one: It (Buddhism) is a refreshing perspective,  far more appealing to me … Continue reading

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In the Absence of Proof

In the absence of proof there is no truth. Lacking incontrovertible evidence, every experience is a lie, every memory is created in a cracked vacuum suddenly filled with biased fiction. Evidence cannot prove an event never occurred, so whether it … Continue reading

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Darkness

Darkness. I go to sleep in darkness and I awaken in darkness. But it’s not total darkness. It’s near-darkness, punctuated by pinpoints of light. The thermostat, the kitchen stove, the bedside alarm clock, the modem, and other devices that alert … Continue reading

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Programmed Oblivion

No matter how hard we attempt to position humanity as a special gift to the universe, we’re sometimes forced to remember we’re eventually all forgotten. Regardless how noble or ignoble our acts, no matter what damage we do or what … Continue reading

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Architectural Emotions in a Mid-Century Mind

Yesterday, after an email from Dwell prompted me to view photos of a restored and updated Joseph L. Eichler mid-century modern house in the San Francisco Bay area, I fell in love with the architectural style all over again. That … Continue reading

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Philosophizing in a Cold Room

Recently, I was thinking about good and evil (I use both words advisedly, as I do not attribute to them any religious significance) in humankind. I wondered why, when we as humans generally agree that good is the preferable of … Continue reading

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Still Walking Each Other Home

A quote from Ram Dass is on my mind this morning. “After all, we’re just walking each other home.” Those words often find their way to my consciousness, but I never seem to be able to fathom precisely why they … Continue reading

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Friends versus Acquaintances

Last night, the concepts of “friend” versus “acquaintance” spun through my mind. I won’t try to explain why, because I think the explanation would only serve to erroneously paint me as a depressed skeptic. I’d rather think of myself as … Continue reading

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