This is the third in a series on the pandemic, featuring three intersecting foci: the spread of COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter confrontation with racism, and the presidential campaign leading up to a decision on election day, the third of November, 2020. Their explosive intersection has turned crazy!
Preface This is the second of three reflections on the coronavirus pandemic. The first, published a month ago, was named Pandemic Ramble. This one, more wistful, is named Pandemic Shamble. It addresses also the pandemic of racism. Since the future may be messy and confusing, I’ve tentatively chosen the name of Pandemic Scramble for the... Continue Reading →
Introduction This could have been a diary, but I didn’t write daily, or record the dates. I just made occasional notes on the pandemic, as they came to mind, and kept going until now. It’s a long and loose ramble! It hopefully contains some interesting observations. It’s probably best read in short passages over several... Continue Reading →
While a creator god lacks a past, could an aspirational deity have a future? If we succeed over time in actualizing our finest attributes, would a god fashioned on our late example be worthy of its divinity? Would it be so terrible if human perfection someday attains the distinction of divinity in the minds of successor life forms when we go extinct?
Introduction I’ve begun attending monthly meetings of Socrates Café at the South Portland Library. Socrates Café is a gathering of citizens who get together by choice to discuss the big questions of life. Methods drawn from the book, Socrates Café, written by the program’s founder, Christopher Phillips, are used to guide discussion. The example of... Continue Reading →
Introduction In a dramatic display of family fealty and mathematical incompetence, a trailer load of daughter Catherine’s belongings took control of our Jeep as Bev and I were transporting her stuff back to Maine from Pittsburgh. This was in the winter of 1991. Catherine was on her way to Brazil. We had just left the... Continue Reading →
In a quiet professional manner, the psychiatrist bent slightly toward the patient reclined before him and asked the difficult question that promised insight into the man's character and many problems. Would you be willing to reflect on the interesting surmise my secretary has formed as to the source of your maladies? I will, certainly, what... Continue Reading →
Pardon me for taking the part of a latter-day Thomas Malthus, a party pooper if there ever was one. Let’s play one more time the "most urgent book to read" game. Construct your most devastating characterization of the perils of our times, then ask: what one book should you take with you to the proverbial... Continue Reading →
Introduction The outcome of the 2016 Presidential election still rankles and puzzles. How did Donald J. Trump get elected? How could anyone vote for him? How could that many people vote for him, the sixty-two or so million people who actually did? I don’t know the answer. Perhaps no one does. Because the times are... Continue Reading →
Background Stanley Cavell, the American philosopher and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Harvard University, died recently at the age of 91. Coming to philosophy by way of music and film, he authored a diverse assortment of philosophical texts including The Claim of Reason, Must We Mean What We Say?, Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of... Continue Reading →