It’s a wonderful life, but not for Ebenezer Scrooge

With all the crises and stress in our family and in the world, we decided to spend a good part of Christmas day watching old Christmas movies. First, we watched the 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart, which I had not seen in decades. Then we watched the 1984 version of “A … More It’s a wonderful life, but not for Ebenezer Scrooge

Past Perfect, Present Imperfect, and Future Extreme

Yes, we do live in interesting times, which does not mean that we understand very well our place on time’s arrow. We pine for an idyllic past, misinterpret what is going on right now, and imagine a utopian future that cannot be. If only the experts will come up with impossible new technologies and materials … More Past Perfect, Present Imperfect, and Future Extreme

The Mobility Illusion

Mobiliy, it would seem, is king. I have always loved to ride, drive, fly, and travel. Early on, racing my bicycle around the neighborhood or taking a longer trip through the orange groves in the foothills sufficed. Soon enough I wanted more. Those Boy Scout camping trips in the mountains and deserts of Southern California … More The Mobility Illusion

No New Normal Now

I hear a lot of talk these days of “returning to normal,” after “this coronavirus thing blows over,”—as if nothing else has changed. We will not return to normal; what we thought of as normal is gone, if it ever existed. Nor will we arrive at some “new normal,” either bad or good. Change is … More No New Normal Now

Tyranny vs Leadership: Authoritarian Exploitation or Mutual Aid for Survival

How to manage a societal crisis: that is the question. Or, is it a question at all? Why is it so difficult for a society of ostensibly free people to work together to make life better? To be accurate, we humans are in quite a pickle these days. With looming climate chaos before us, we … More Tyranny vs Leadership: Authoritarian Exploitation or Mutual Aid for Survival

Public Health, Personal Liberty. and the Scourge of Interdependence

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced to the surface some very peculiar ideas about American values. Those values have changed significantly since the explosive century of industrial consumerism. As industrial extraction, production, and consumption expanded through the twentieth century, right up until the pandemic, economic change has transformed the character of the old “rugged individualism” as … More Public Health, Personal Liberty. and the Scourge of Interdependence

The Ideology of Utopian Dreams Confronts the Looming Dystopian Future

Ideologies defend the status quo; utopias propose perfect futures to replace the difficulties of life in the present. Strangely, sometimes the two get all mixed up together. That is the case today. The corporatist culture frames a utopian future as its ideology used to justify “staying the course” of the present globalized economy of endless … More The Ideology of Utopian Dreams Confronts the Looming Dystopian Future