How did we get here?
There are several factors that have brought the United States to its current situation, none of which will be resolved completely by a Biden win of the White House. All of these factors have been sweltering in the country for many years, if not decades. In fact, even the Civil War can be described as a root cause of our current crisis.
Shorter-term, I would trace 9/11 as the beginning of the end for politics as usual in the United States — if such politics ever existed. Once the US committed to wars in Iraq…
Thom Hartmann at one point hosted a show on cable that I very much admired, titled ‘The Big Picture.’ In the show, Thom explained larger trends and movements within society that drove current events — an explanatory route more often than not ignored by those who comment on social issues, and to our detriment.
The Big Picture thinkers of the past, including the likes of Marx and Hobbes, led to wide political movements and economic theories that in turn determined the course of whole nations. Today, anyone pretending to create or promote any new program for world progress is pretty…
A positive spin on sometimes depressing thoughts
Beauty is fleeting, youth is fleeting. When we are young, we don’t ponder this, but as we get older the thought inevitably occurs that there are fewer days ahead of us than behind us. In other words, life is impermanent.
Artist Tyrone Wright (AKA ‘Rone’) expressed this idea in an art project he called ‘Empty.’ Essentially, Rone painted large portraits of beautiful women in old buildings that were falling apart, reminding us that beauty and life are fleeting and doing so in a very provocative way.
The need for a common truth
One of the tenets of postmodernist philosophy is that it proposes the relative nature of truth; in other words, that no truth is absolute. While after World War II postmodernism was a healthy response to fascism, postmodern attitudes toward the truth have spread into mainstream society in unforeseen, simplistic and unwelcome ways, not the least of which is an increasingly nihilistic, anything-goes attitude in politics shown in stark relief through the current occupant of the White House.
What is the postmodern attitude toward truth? Playwright Harold Pinter summed it up this way:
It may not be as hard as we think
It seems to me that much of the debate surrounding the perils of socialism completely misses that mark by not taking into consideration that a huge segment of the US economy is already socialized: the US military. We just need to convince conservatives this is the case and that they can, therefore, support other worthy social projects that use the military as their model.
The military reflects socialism in many ways. First and foremost, it is a jobs program. According to the Watson Institute, approximately 6.7 trillion US dollars is necessary…
Some reflections on Buddhist Refuge
If you follow Buddhism and try to study its many aspects, you very quickly come across the term ‘to take refuge.’ According to Buddhist scholars and teachers (and Wikipedia), the three elements of refuge are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Buddha being the historical Buddha — Gautama Buddha — who lived in India some 500 years before Christ. The Dharma being the teachings of the Buddha, and the Sangha being the community of like-minded people that come together to practice Buddhism.
To ‘take refuge’ in these ‘three jewels’ is a basic tenant…
A brief survey of dominant world views
When looking at the cultural and media landscape of the United States it strikes me that there is little or no discussion of the cultural Zeitgeists — more specifically, the viewpoints and mindsets that continually compete for our attention, usually in order to convince us that a particular viewpoint is superior to another, and that a particular worldview should prevail. Some, it seems, assault us with their apparent dominance.
These Zeitgeists show up in our films, our media, our social discourse, on Facebook posts, in television shows, in the news, and in discussions…