The Sciences

More on Blake and Default Mode Networks

Yes. I know. Tis a strange pairing in the title. But it fits so far with my reading of the Higgs bio. I’m struck by the idea of the development of the Self, which parallels the development of those Default Mode Networks, and the virtual impossibility of Being One with the All when the DMN/Self […]

William Blake vs the World, by John Higgs

Just beginning this already intriguing biography of the visionary poet and artist, William Blake (1757-1827) . Higgs wastes little time moving from basic facts about Blake, to adding a unique angle to the story: he brings in neuroscience to help explain Blake’s spectacular visions. Unlike most artists and poets who depict the otherworldly, William Blake […]

God: an Anatomy, and Other Recent Readings

Francesca Stavrakopoulou, in her most recent book, God: an Anatomy, presents a vivid portrait of Yahweh, primarily as seen by his ancient devotees. She takes us on a journey throughout the Levant and Mesopotamia, covering thousands of years, multiple empires, and dozens of gods and goddesses. It’s rigorously researched throughout, and she (literally) gives us […]

Jason Hickel’s Less is More

Animism versus Dualism. Mother Earth versus Descartes. Seeing ourselves and the world around us as continuous, interconnected, and interdependent, versus Subject/object/Master/slave. Seeing the world like a shaman or a bulldozer. We can’t keep doing this anymore. We can’t keep treating the earth like a trash heap, like we own it, control it, and owe it […]

Amitav Ghosh: The Great Derangement

The frightening thing about this important book from 2016 is that its, at times, terribly dire assessment of our environmental trajectory seems positively sunny in comparison with 2022’s outlook. As in, despite its warnings and vivid depictions of Mother Nature as of 2016 and beyond, She has gotten a good deal angrier since then. And […]

Helgoland: Quantum islands in the storm

One could quip, “I must have missed that day,” when it comes to a subject or two during high school. Senior year, especially. I was absent physically more than was wise, and even when I did attend math and science classes, my thoughts were often somewhere else. With the sun, the waves, the girls on […]

Rutger Bregman’s Humankind

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that much of what we’ve been taught about “human nature” is nonsense. We’ve been told for far too long that we’re naturally selfish, greedy, and violent, and there’s just no point in trying to change the world around us. Suggest a better system, one structured to encourage cooperation, sharing, […]

The Earth Also Rises

 Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was one of the heroes of my youth. Anyone who can run rings around authority gets my vote, especially when that authority is cruel, oppressive, backward, and consistently stands in the way of progress. If I later learned that he did not battle the Inquisition quite as I had imagined, his heroism […]

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