What If Ignorance is Love’s Only Obstacle?
I’ve got a short enemies list. If I whittle it down as far as it can go, I think it contains one item: ignorance. But it wasn’t until today that it struck me directly that this relates very specifically to the one thing I could whittle my list of unimpeachably good things down to: love. […]
The Spirituality of Softening
The only religions I find worth anything are those that soften people. This is a thing I’d felt for a while, and something I’m sure someone else has put into words before, but when it finally occurred to me it was something of a revelation. The Christianities I’ve seen in America that turn me off […]
What Do Your Thoughts Mean?
One of the subtler but more important things that has changed in my life is that I’ve stopped believing my thoughts. It’s not that I can’t think. No, I’m not saying I’m no longer able to productively puzzle through hard problems — if anything I’ve gotten better at that. What I mean is that I’m much […]
The Bliss of Blamelessness and the Golden Rule
If we cede all moral theory, any notion of spiritual or religious rewards or justifications, or any through-going vision of philosophy, is there a rational case to be made for something like the Golden Rule, most often rendered in English as: “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you”? The obvious answer is, […]
Living in Retrospect
“In retrospect, it was a bad idea.” “One day we’ll look back at this and laugh.” We all understand that our views on things are not fixed forever. That looking back on things with some critical distance from our actions we’ll likely see more clearly what was going on and what the wiser course of […]
Retroview: Happiness: A Guide
Matthieu Ricard’s Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill is probably the most important book in my life. No work has ever influenced so many aspects of my life or caused me to see the world so differently. Were there only one book that I could take with my to a desert island, […]
The Triviality of Difference
Everywhere you look, especially as a teenager, the world is full of others. Of people “not like me.” And though teenagers feel this most intensely, few do not feel it regularly. Just look at the latent antipathy that exists in this country toward Iranians. Or Arabs. Or Mexicans. Or even the French. Surely these people […]