Interesting conversation with a musician friend of mine last night. He expressed the view that playing music is an end-in-itself. It’s all about the sheer joy of playing. Who needs an audience?
I could appreciate the sentiment, but I couldn’t agree.
Continue reading Do Artists Really Need an Audience?
I know it’s hard.
You’ve had the “achievement/goals” credo shoved down your throat since you were a little kid. Even if your parents were free-wheeling hippies it’s still ubiquitous in the culture. Your employers believe in it. Your peers believe it. Your friends believe it. You believe it.
But ask yourself: is it making any of us happier?
Continue reading Happiness Without Attachment to Outcomes
George R.R. Martin recently weighed in on allowing Syrian refugees into the country, and he did a fine job of stating the moral case for doing so, but I thought I’d just add a few thoughts of my own (on immigration in general, not just the Syrians): Continue reading The Case for (Completely) Open Immigration
“There’s a lot of scary stuff going on right now.”
Yep. I’ve heard some version of that from friends, colleagues, and family members pretty much my whole adult life.
Hey, they’re not wrong. Fanatical terrorism, genocidal wars, every Western government in the world going bankrupt (seemingly at once), the banking system and stock market on the verge of collapse, the spread of super-diseases, the industrialization and poisoning of the food supply, loopy fascist maniacs on the verge of being elected…
Here’s what’s certain: the world will look very different in ten years. Maybe sooner.
Does that mean we should just curl into a ball and wait for the end?
But let’s consider a few things first, shall we? Continue reading Should We Fear the Future? The Case Against Cowering
I’ve had many religious friends over the years and many of them seem extraordinarily happy. The ones I’ve stayed close to don’t push their religion on me. But they do encourage me to join their way of thinking, if only so I can join in all the good feelings.
Here’s the problem…
To a freethinker, religion is like poking out your eyes because you think you’ve seen enough.
It is like pouring concrete into your ears because you think you’ve heard enough.
It is like lobotomizing yourself because you think you know enough.
You’ve read all the books you need ever read–namely, one.
You’ve got all the answers you’ll ever need.
You are happy.
I understand this. There is immense comfort in a feeling of certainty. Even joy. The joy of letting go. Of surrendering. And of belonging–of knowing others think the way you do. Continue reading Sure, Religion is Comforting. But So What?