Essays by Title

8 Big Lessons We Can Learn from the Pandemic

Suffering through a pandemic is a terrible way to have to learn a lesson or two about the nature of humanity.

But it's what we have, so we may as well make use of it.

A Broadcast ConsciousnessLet me take you on a little journey of thought exploring some hitherto unconsidered aspects of our common cultural evolution.
A Practopian Approach to Gun Issues in the USThe big ideas at The Practical Utopian may seem very broad and general, but I'd like to illustrate how they can be usefully employed in a specific debate such as this one.
An Integral ApproachAt its most basic, taking an integral approach simply means that people can see things from different perspectives, and that often no one way of seeing something is the “right” or only way.
Apollo 11 - 2019 film

No matter what your age or orientation (political or otherwise), it's hard to gainsay the significance of humankind's first trip through space to set foot on a celestial body other than our birth planet.

Art and the Eye of the BeholderI've noticed that Big Thinkers tend to get confused about art and why it matters. Unable to find a neat place for it in their developmental models, they end up describing it as an entirely subjective experience. Of course, I've never run across an actual artist who sees things this way.
Building a Case for the Detective Story

Over the many years since the receipt of my Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan, I have probably spent more rewarding hours reading detective stories than any other form of fiction.

Calling for a US Sustainability Initiative

Looking back over the history of the United States, it's easy to see in hindsight a series of events and actions that have either united or divided us.

Can the US Become a Truly Egalitarian Society?As with many of us, I've been thinking deeply lately about the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor, and so many other people of color, and wondering how and why these atrocities continue to occur in my country, and what we can do to turn things around. I've concluded that there are basically two types of human societies, with very different ways of thinking about themselves.
Citizen Kane vs. Citizen BaileyI've often considered Citizen Kane and It's A Wonderful Life to be complementary works, much like cinematic twins separated at birth.
Cooperation, Competition and CoercionWhen we contemplate the society in which we live, we often tend to frame our disagreements in terms of cooperation vs. competition: Are we working together collaboratively with others, or are we competing with them?
Core Design Principles for TeamsLet's talk about the fundamental organizational principles that make for effective cooperation within groups of humans.
Cultural EvolutionLet's talk a bit about cultural evolution to find out why this idea is so important.
DemocracyDemocracy is a means of governance over a society that places the reins of power in the hands of the people being governed.
Dethroning the False God of User Experience DesignBack in 1990, Jobs pointed out that what a human needed to beat a condor in a race was a bicycle; today, the human might have a better chance if he gave the condor an iPhone and downloaded a few apps for him – the condor would never even make it off the couch.
Developmental Levels

A number of authors and systems of thought espouse one or another series of developmental levels, in fields of study as diverse as psychology, sociology, economics and organizational development.

Developmental Levels as Evolving Social StructuresAs human society has evolved over the centuries, we have developed different types of social structures. None of the later structures replace earlier ones, yet each new structure has been devised in order to confer some new sort of evolutionary advantage to our species – in other words, to help us survive and thrive more effectively.
Diving Back Into Our American Muddle

I came across a story in The Washington Post recently about a nurse in South Dakota haunted by memories of patients who were dying from Covid-19.

Evolution and Its ImplicationsA belief in evolution means quite a bit more than simply a denial of creationism. We also mean to imply that we believe in natural selection as a process for improving things, including human culture.
FruitcakesI've always considered “Fruitcakes” to be Jimmy Buffet's masterwork. The musical backing is infectious, swaying and danceable, and the background vocals add depth. The words are cleverly crafted, and perfectly suited to Buffett's conversational, wisecracking delivery.