Essays by Title

Talking Openly about Hierarchy

I sometimes think that at least half of the confusion we currently experience in our civil discourse stems from our inability to speak openly and honestly about the nature of hierarchy.

The Big Truth

As I write these words, the invasion of our US Capitol in DC is only a week behind us.

The Christmas SongIt would be hard to leave this one off of any list of holiday tunes. First of all, as it's named, this is “The Christmas Song.” Second of all, everyone has recorded a version of it – I have thirty different renditions of it in my own personal collection. Third, there's the classic story of the song's composition….
The Clown Coup

The invasion of our Capitol building on January 6th, 2021, and the accompanying disruption of the work of our duly elected members of Congress, was certainly an unprecedented and frightening addition to our American history books.

The Devastating Tragedy of our Vanishing Middle ClassYou're probably already familiar with much of the data and analysis concerning the decline of the American middle class. But let me remind you of some of the pertinent information, just in case you need a refresher.
The Era of Environmental Accommodation is OverWhen historians look at the long span of our human history, they try to make sense of our arc of cultural evolution by breaking it up into phases: the agrarian era, the industrial era, the digital era, and so forth. But of course, there are multiple perspectives we can use for this sort of exercise. Perhaps the most important perspective to consider is the relationship of our human population to the rest of our world.
The Four Quadrants of Human KnowledgeI first came across Ken Wilber's work late in the last century when a friend handed me a copy of A Brief History of Everything as a birthday present. Since then, Wilber's influence has been cited by figures as diverse as Bill Clinton and Deepak Chopra, which should give you some idea of how broadly his work can be applied.
The Importance of Mission

The dictionary on my Mac defines mission as “a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.”

The Little Drummer BoyThis is an odd little song, but an undeniable Christmas favorite. It was written in 1941 by the American classical composer Katherine Kennicott Davis, and was said to be based on a traditional Czech carol. Davis' interest in writing the song was to produce something that could be sung by amateur and girls' choirs. The original title was "Carol of the Drum."
The Nature of God

Human records indicate that some sort of belief in a God or collection of gods is a feature of almost all human culture. No matter what the continent or age, a belief in powerful, supernatural beings that somehow influence human existence is a near-constant.

The Rebel Jesus - Song by Jackson BrowneJackson Browne's Christmas song is everything one might hope for from a singer-songwriter whose career has combined political activism with a deeply personal romanticism.
The System is Working Very Well, Thank YouWe need to realize that the current system is, in fact, not broken. Instead, in truth, it is doing exactly what it was designed to do, which is: To continuously hoover up all the spare cash of those at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid and convey it to those at the very top, without the rest of us much noticing or caring.
The Systemic Era

We tend to divide up human history into relatively neat periods, and give them names like “The Agrarian Era,” “The Age of Industrialization” and “The Information Age.”

The Truth About CapitalismNo matter which way you lean politically, you probably have strong feelings about capitalism. It seems to me that there are a lot of odd ideas on this topic running around out there in today's world. Let me offer some thoughts about what seems true to me.
The Value of IndividualsAs computers become increasingly powerful, many observers allege that we are just bundles of algorithms, programmed by a combination of our inherited genetic material and our environment, simply responding to stimuli in predictable ways. I say that's a lot of hooey.
The Village Green Preservation Society

This is a rather amazing song by The Kinks, first released in 1968.

I loved this song from the moment I first heard it, but my appreciation for it has only grown over the years.


The WeightI recently came across the Playing for Change Song Around the World video of Robbie Robertson's composition “The Weight,” and it made me want to think – and write! – more deeply about how this song works, and what it means, and the timeless nature of its appeal.
The Written Word in the 21st Century

Whether we are talking about the King James Bible, The Catcher in the Rye, On the Origin of Species, or Wikipedia, we can recognize that writing things down is an important means of preserving human knowledge and wisdom, and that both writing and reading are in

Understanding Human History

When I was in school, history was one of my least favorite subjects: It just seemed like a bunch of arbitrary names and dates and events that I had to memorize.

Undoing Trumpism

Even if we are fortunate enough to defeat Donald Trump in 2020, that won't mean the end of Trumpism.