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End of the Road

Thanks to my husband’s regular reminders, I’m aware of the phenomenon whereby we selectively register information that reinforces our existing views. Perhaps I am guilty of that. I’m the first to admit that I am skeptical of gadgets and the way that our over-reliance on technology distorts our experience. Given those disclaimers, I find myself wanting to share the news story about the man who drove off an abandoned freeway, inadvertently killing his wife, because he was apparently paying more...

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On Outdoor Re-creation

I’ve always enjoyed exploring the wilderness. I have never understood why more people don’t do it, though perhaps deep down I’m grateful not to have hordes of other humans out there.  It’s like this ridiculously well-kept secret. Why? This piece on the death of backpacking asks the same question. The author believes backpacking in particular is not popular “because younger people are leery of the unglamorous labor required for stepping off pavement, and too occupied with the easiness of TV,...

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When I Grow Up…

  A couple of recent conversations have reminded me how I have long been uncomfortable with the emphasis our society places on career as the basis of identity. It’s in the ritual question we ask a stranger: So what do you do? It is generally assumed that what is most relevant and interesting to others is the particular way in which we have been able to monetize ourselves. The consensus is that this defines us. And this shapes assessments about our relative success, worthiness, potential,...

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Everything is Not OK

  The tendency to see spirituality as separate from other domains, like economics, politics, and culture, is the very thing that keeps it neutered and inauthentic. To speak of spiritual concerns (i.e. matters of deep and ultimate meaning) in a truthful way, it’s necessary to get into these other messy areas of human activity. For society is where and how our collective fears and desires are expressed. What this inevitably generates is a critique, because all is not well with our way of...

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On Culture and Meat

I found it sad and disturbing to learn that the noted philosopher and animal rights activist Peter Singer is all for cultured meat. (This is animal tissue produced in vitro for the purpose of human consumption.) For the record, I think cultured meat is appalling. To me it’s a remarkable indicator of how far humans have journeyed away from the rest of nature. From ourselves. It’s as though we inhabit a desolate parallel universe occupied by our fears and desires and nothing else. That we can...

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