Category Archives: Philosophy

Who Are We?

Calvin stood motionless as he observed the magnificent beast walk past him, just a few feet away. Apparently, the unicorn did not see Calvin. Otherwise, the animal would have bolted. Instead, it was the picture of serenity as it grazed … Continue reading

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Wabi-sabi

Two years ago today, I read an article entitled The Art of the Mistake, by Alice Driver. The article moved me to tears. I doubt others would be moved to tears the way I was. But the ideas offered in … Continue reading

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All Things in Moderation

The purposes of our trip to Oklahoma and Kansas were twofold: 1) take a long-delayed road trip, with the intent of “chilling” a bit; and 2) gather material from and become familiar with Kansas—Manhattan in particular—as a resource for a novel … Continue reading

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Aha

I’m late in writing this morning because I’ve been thinking, the kind of thinking with which writing would interfere. Most of the time, writing propels my thoughts, but some thoughts require me to abandon writing for a while so I … Continue reading

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In Disgusted Defense of Ann Coulter’s Right to Speak

As I read news of the cancellation, reinstatement, and subsequent cancellation of Anne Coulter’s speech at the University of California at Berkeley, I question the intelligence of the people who violently oppose the her speech. Do those people not understand … Continue reading

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Psycholinguistic Musings

Sinew. That word can evoke, for me, images of sturdy steel bands, thick in the middle but narrowing almost to points on the ends; ribbons of metallic lies constrained at either end by truth. It’s as if truth confines the streamer of … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Philosophy, Ruminations, Writing | 1 Comment

Ethiopian Food and Human Decency

I’ve discovered that my wife and I are not the only people around Hot Springs who enjoy Ethiopian food. Recently, I posted a query, to a Facebook group dedicated to Hot Springs area restaurant reviews, about whether my unsuccessful efforts to find … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, Food, Philosophy, Politics, Serenity, Stereotypes | 2 Comments

Broken Promises

I did it again. I sat outside on the deck, staring up at the sky. The stars and planets, again, transfixed me and held me in a state bordering between awe and confusion and deep appreciation for mysteries beyond my capacity … Continue reading

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Renaissance

The opportunity exists, in the midst of a Trump-incited plunge toward base vulgarity, for a renaissance of decency and decorum. The opportunity exists for a return to standards of behavior that value humanity and compassion. Key to seizing that opportunity is … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, Hope, Philosophy, Wisdom | Leave a comment

Servitude

I spent part of the day yesterday viewing a decrepit old plantation house and some of the grounds and outbuildings of a 3000 acre plantation. As I toured the grounds, I compared in my mind the home built for the … Continue reading

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Sudden Changes

Sudden shifts in my plans are nothing, not when those shifts are launched in response to massive dislocations in others’ lives. My wife and I had spent a very restive night at the Best Western Premier in Bryan, Texas, thanks … Continue reading

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Ritual

When I awaken these days, I understand more clearly than in the not-so-distant past the solace in ritual. Ritual offers comfort. Carefully practiced ritual grants predictability and uniformity in times of chaos. Ritual provides at least a temporary protective shelter from one’s sense … Continue reading

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A Roundabout Tribute to Maggie Roche

I’m a fervent admirer of a handful of musicians. People who know me may understand the depth of my admiration for Leonard Cohen, whose deeply meaningful poetry set to music moves me beyond anyone else’s art. Yet, even in the … Continue reading

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Reflecting on What’s to Come

Let me preface my comments with these words: I absolutely despise Donald Trump; I believe he is a despicable human being whose rise to the Presidency cannot be explained entirely with logic. How a madman with the capacity to undermine … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, Compassion, Education, Empathy, Philosophy, Politics, Wisdom | 2 Comments

A Sad Day

Today is a sad day for the United States of America. After eight years of a President who is arguably the most poised, dignified, decent, and respectful person to have ever held the office, the position will be assumed by … Continue reading

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Control

I find it helpful, on occasion, to gently remind myself of the many things over which I have control. The results of that tender reminder are two-fold: 1) I expose my negativity as an obstacle to happiness; and 2) my outlook on the … Continue reading

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On Racism: I Will Miss the Obamas

A white person—especially a white man—in the United States today, try as he may, is unlikely to be capable of eliminating racism from his thought processes. Our history and the institutional racism upon which this country was built and on … Continue reading

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Taking Shortcuts to Mediocrity

Last night, I adapted a tried-and-true (if overly simple and insufficiently spicy) recipe for Shrimp Fra Diavolo. I adapted the recipe in several ways, the two most obvious deviations being the substitution of cod for shrimp and cauliflower for rice. … Continue reading

Posted in Art, Creativity, Food, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Justification

We think the world owes us an explanation. It doesn’t. We owe it one. We owe the universe substantive  justification for why we should be allowed to remain here; an argument validating our existence. If there’s purpose, it is not some external “thing.” Purpose … Continue reading

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Minimal

For years, I’ve been drawn to the concept of a minimalist lifestyle.  Several years ago, I stumbled across an online video created by a young guy who designed and built tiny houses and who had created an online video series … Continue reading

Posted in Greed, Happiness, Materialism, Philosophy, Self-discipline | Leave a comment

Observations on Animal Instinct

Despite its many bungling attempts to protect us (e.g.,  the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends an absolutely natural response if one confronts an active shooter or other such attack on one’s person (i.e., … Continue reading

Posted in Fear, Frustration, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Prelude

We’ve reached it. The final day of 2016, the day on which we can put this year to rest and, for many of us for many good reasons, say “good riddance!” Yet, without this year, we would not have reached … Continue reading

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Assigning Worth

It seems to me that people who need help to escape poverty generally do not need, nor want, handouts. They need a break. They need a chance to demonstrate their worth in a world in which value is too often measured … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, Empathy, Philosophy, Poverty | Leave a comment

Beginners

Beginners are forgiven their mistakes, because they do not have sufficient experience to warrant adverse judgment of their ineptitude. Being a beginner opens up an entire world of possibilities; virtually every aspect of an experience is a fresh opportunity for involvement for … Continue reading

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The Propriety of Cash Gifts

Just over three years ago, I wrote an essay to explore the appropriateness of giving money as a gift. I waffled to the conclusion that the practice is, at best, questionable. The piece drew some interesting and thought-provoking responses from a couple … Continue reading

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