Manifest Destiny was the early settlers’ idea that God himself favored the culturally and racially superior “White” Americans, which demanded that they subdue, convert and/or dispatch “savages” of all other colors and creeds, then take their rightful place as overlords of the world, and the people in it.
Historian David Dorado Romo, a descendent of Mexican origins, told The Atlantic in the latest issue that “we have deep amnesia in this country,” citing his shock at the discovery that his Mexican migrant forebears were forced to wear Zyklon B-soaked clothing and be sprayed in the face with now-banned DDT, while…
Wikipedia defines the Precautionary Principle as “a broad epistemological, philosophical and legal approach to [ideas] with potential for causing harm when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. It emphasizes caution, pausing and review before leaping into new [behaviors] that may prove disastrous. Critics argue that it is vague, self-cancelling, unscientific and an obstacle to progress.”
Its opposing counterpart, according to an article published this week in The Atlantic, “is something like Epistemic Optimism: We don’t know enough, and we should always try to learn more.”
I have spent the entire pandemic traveling more than most, taking planes, trains and automobiles nearly every other week without fail since it began, ostensibly so that I could continue to be both “dad” and “husband” undiminished within a family split by national borders. During this interim, I have observed life on the ground in Florida, California, New York, Connecticut, Quebec and Ontario — each one multiple times, and some of them bi-weekly.
Throughout, because of the risks I knew I was taking, I voraciously read everything I could about infection and mortality rates, demographics, human physiognomy, medicine, pathology, air…
A year ago, I embarked on a mission to write 365 thought pieces in a process of self-discovery. I had a vague plan: unearth, explore, test and debate anything and everything I could find, related to the human psyche, with the hopes of ultimately distilling insights from our dizzying complexity.
The idea came to me after experiencing the alchemy of Burning Man for the first time. In Black Rock City, I encountered a 75,000-strong community of unconnected individuals, but for their unusual degree of curiosity, bravery, generosity, electricity and creativity. I’d never seen anything like it. …
In life, there are neither truths nor falsehoods; no absolutes that explain, contravene or declaratively prove — with detached corroborative infallibility — one’s beliefs in what “is”.
There is only relativity, as Einstein theorized cosmically, but which applies equally, to the human condition.
Our time on Earth exists — in my view — for one reason above all others. It is to discover ourselves — our authentic nature — so that we may create a framework for living that flows from that self, and allows it to flourish, “fit for purpose.”
This nature — one’s truths — are as different…
Before the pandemic began, I already had deep admiration and respect for my wife, by every possible metric. Not only has she been an exceptional mother, always showing up for the children she raised on her own for a decade before I arrived — after she lost her husband when they were toddlers. Throughout, she has also remained as competent and dedicated an executive as I’ve ever met, shouldering increasing amounts of responsibility in the healthcare industry, as more and more of her employers’ sprawling portfolios came under her capable leadership.
She is a master juggler.
I get it. You have COVID ennui. I do, too, but as long as we have our health and our jobs, both 2020 and 2021 deserve nothing but to be met with gratitude.
Not everyone is as lucky.
The truth is, until last year sent us hiding, we were all running at full tilt with our default lives, scarcely stopping to smell the flowers, or survey the garden. And no matter how good our lives may be, personally, we’d be hard-pressed not to see that a lot of our systems are showing some pretty enormous stress fractures. …
We love to define things in binary terms. It’s easier that way, for two reasons. First, black/white, safe/dangerous, good/bad labels use up less brain power. “Close enough is good enough” in most cases, after which many of us allow ourselves to stop thinking about them. Second, we can’t help but judge everything we experience, and a binary system of labels allows us to do just that, efficiently.
Just witness our confusion, and visceral reactions, to issues of race or sexuality.
Until the majority of humans fell to the transformative impacts of the Machine Age some hundred or so years ago, when power generation, electricity, the automobile, factories, and telecommunications all conspired to dramatically alter how we lived and interacted, a common set of governing principles underpinned life on Earth for more than ten thousand years.
Unless you were a noble.
Chief among these was the fact that life required immense personal effort. Most of us made our own homes from trees we cut down, and we also made everything in them. We raised animals and planted gardens. We made our…