Friday, December 21, 2018

Awakening Our Higher Mental Powers



I’ve been tracking what I call human singularities—people who embody rare and extraordinary talents—like Joseph of Copertino, or Arigo, or Lurancy Vennum, etc.. I’m trying to paint a composite picture of what I believe is our latent super-humanity. All the strange manifestations must have some purpose, some meaning.

There is reason to doubt that we--as a species--have reached the climax of our full evolutionary potential. Far from it!  Look around at the world—the greed, the violence, and the stupidity spreading havoc and mayhem everywhere. The growing dangers of social instability, risk of nuclear war and oncoming eco-catastrophe cry out for sweeping change.  

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Change Your Vocabulary and Change Your Reality



We underestimate how words can change our sense of reality. Words can corner and confine us; they can also open doors and free us. Nowadays we often hear people say that they are spiritual but not religious.  What that usually means is something like this: I no longer attend religious services nor do I accept as absolutely true any of the major claims of the basic religions.  Still, I have spiritual needs, interests, and inclinations. I just don’t rely on organized religion to explore and satisfy these needs. Religion is associated with established doctrines, rules, and social organization; spirituality, with search, personal practice, and experience.  


Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Death of Higher Education in America



The other day I heard a report on NPR about a festival of the book and of art and music in Mosul, a city in Iraq coming back to life from being under the heel of Isis terrorists. Under the previous regime, reading books, listening to music and making art were forbidden on pain of death.  I was moved by the sound of Iraqi music and by the story of a man who learned English by means of a book he hid in his house during the terror. He spoke of the joy of his humanity restored through being able to walk through the streets with a book in his hand and music in the air. 

This story reminded  me of an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Eric Hayot, titled “The Imminent Death of the Humanities” (July 6, 2018). Fewer students are majoring in the humanities these days and so are jobs for Ph.D.s in the humanities fewer. “The humanities are institutionally more alone and more vulnerable than ever before, “ writes Hayot, “more at the mercy of a university’s financial decisions or a new dean’s desire to prove his or her toughness by consolidating departments or reducing faculty size.” The doomsday clock is apparently striking midnight for higher education in America.

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