Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

FOR A SELLER OF BOOKS AND MUSIC PRODUCTS, IT SEEMED LIKE THE MOTHER LODE, AND STILL DOES. BUT IT ALSO TURNED OUT TO BE A REMARKABLE WINDOW ON A GIFTED AND DISTURBED MIND

It started as purely a business transaction—a business coup, it seemed then and still does. Seventy-two moving boxes (12×13×16 inches in size), each packed like a sardine tin with books, CDs, audio tapes or photograph records. We bid $1,000 and got the lot. It took a rental trailer and a pick-up truck (and my brother-in-law’s [...]

YOU CAN CALL ME A CONSERVATIVE-LIBERAL-SOCIALIST, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, AND ALL AT THE SAME TIME, IF YOU WISH … AND HERE’S WHY

Thanks to invaluable assistance from the late Polish philosopher, Leszek Kołakowski, who taught at All Souls College, Oxford, after being exiled from Poland in 1968, I think I’ve figured out what my real political orientation is. I am a Conservative-Liberal-Socialist with the following views (all borrowed, most liberally and described most conservatively, in a very [...]

TWO DIFFERENT “TRIUNE” BRAIN THEORIES BUT THE SAME CRUCIAL CONCLUSION: WE ARE MAKESHIFT ENTITIES STILL UNDER DEVELOPMENT, AND THAT CAN CREATES SERIOUS PROBLEMS FOR US

I do not remember exactly the first time that I heard about pioneering neuroscientist Paul MacLean’s concept of the triune brain. The idea of a neocortex sitting atop a primordial cortex sitting atop the brain stem. The brain of a human sitting atop the brain of a horse sitting atop the brain of a reptile, [...]

IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHAT I HAVE AGAINST “MOTIVATIONAL EXPERTS,” I’M GLAD YOU BROUGHT THE SUBJECT UP

Four of the most egregiously unfair and misused words in this language are “You can do it.” And I’m guilty at abusing them, too.
Because in using those words to urge our children or employees or students or anyone else forward in the performance of a task they’ve not done before or at which they are [...]

IF EVERYTHING IS PROGRESSING LIKE THE IDEA OF PROGRESS SUGGESTS IT SHOULD BE, WHY DOES IT FEEL LIKE THINGS ARE GOING WELL FOR ONLY A FEW?

One week a few years ago, I chanced upon two mostly forgotten books, and probably would not have spent much time with either had not both mentioned—on the very first page—an event that itself has been mostly long forgotten: the Century of Progress Exposition that the city of Chicago staged in 1933-34 to commemorate the [...]

HERE’S A BOOK THAT SUPPORTS “THE BEST GUESS I’VE EVER HAD”: THAT NO ONE REALLY HAS MUCH OF A CLUE ABOUT WHAT’S SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPENING HERE; THAT EVERYONE IS GUESSING

Anyone—and it might be anytwo, or at best anyfive or anysix—who has been paying attention to the progressive content of my thinking through the years understands that I’ve been on some sort of journey.
It is my belief that it is not all that remote from a journey that most all who have ever lived participate [...]

SO FAR, THE SINGULARITY VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPT. HAS BEEN SOUNDING TEN ALARMS WHILE RUSHING AROUND TRYING TO FIND SMOKE

I don’t often experience writer’s block. Sleeping on a topic overnight is nearly always enough to return a free flow of ideas and images. But it was not working that way with this thing called The Singularity. For days, I tried without success to tie a literary bow around a supposition that had fast become [...]

WHEN YOU GET AROUND TO ORGANIZING THE DINNER PARTY OF THE AGES, I’D LIKE TO BE SEATED BETWEEN MR. SHAKESPEARE AND MR. JESUS, IF YOU DON’T MIND

I always seek to break the news gently, but it can be disconcerting to some folks when I reveal that the two brains in history intriguing me most are Shakespeare’s and Jesus Christ’s, in that order.
Neither choice is by any means unique, and the subject of Jesus’s brain is probably the most enigmatic. What can [...]

IF YOU ARE WONDERING WHY WE HAVEN’T REACHED A POINT OF AUTOCATALYSIS SUFFICIENT TO MAKE UP FOR ALL THE ENTRENCHED STUPIDITY, HERE’S SOME ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES TRYING TO FIND THE ANSWER

A long-time friend and colleague valued for many reasons, not the least of which is the expansive range of his scholarly interests, writes:
“I often get lost in the soup of new economic titles that try to capture the behavioral side of economics, an area that has languished until recently. Books on neuroeconomics, behavioral economics, economic [...]

JUST WHEN I WAS READY TO DISCUSS WHAT WE COULD DO TO ENCOURAGE NEW THINKING SKILLS IN A SEMINAR AT HER EMPLOYER, I GET THIS QUESTION ABOUT BELIEVING IN GOD

I am accustomed to being questioned by prospective business clients on all kinds of issues. What I’m not accustomed to is having them ask me, unexpectedly and point-blank, as happened over dinner not long ago, “Do you believe in God?”
But it happened, and I replied immediately, “I don’t believe in your God.”
I think that’s the [...]