It was not an easy thing to turn my back on Christianity at nearly 60 years of age. Since my childhood, church had been the hub of social life for me. Prayer had started every meal, and Christian ritual had solemnized the sacred moments and transition points of life. Many of my mentors and advisors had been ministers of one denomination or another.
What’s more, the congregations I had joined were filled with joyful, caring people, people trying to live good and healthy lives, folks I could respect. …
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things . . .
-From “Ulysses” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
“Retiring” is an adjective that’s never been applied to me, and if anyone’s about to start, it won’t be in my hearing. I came late to the insight that I cannot be contented long without some…
A comment on one of my recent articles caught my attention. A young man expressed appreciation for my advice about letting friendship grow before deciding whether to explore a sexual connection.
The problem was, he said, sometimes women he went out with were ready for sex before he was.
Now, I can’t say I’ve wrestled with that problem. When I was that man’s age (half a lifetime back), I would have laughed at such a statement, maybe even asked him, “Are you bragging or complaining?”
Not that I have never turned down sex. But the times that I was propositioned…
In a recent article, (The Most Dangerous Belief in the World | by Edward Robson, PhD | ILLUMINATION-Curated | Jun, 2021 | Medium), I argued that the most dangerous belief in the world was the belief that life is fair. Somewhat to my surprise, the article garnered a fair number of views and comments.
Unfortunately, many of the respondents took my thesis as, “Life is unfair.” Which wasn’t what I meant at all.
My point was that life, the universe, and the Cosmic Metaphor are utterly indifferent to our human notions of what is or isn’t fair. Which means that…
[I first heard this story years ago, a whimsical tale in which the mighty Hanuman of many Hindu myths visits the Buddha.]
It is commonly said by Westerners, and especially by Western-hemisphere Christians, that the Hindu people of India believe in thousands of gods. They say this, of course, because they want to feel superior to the people of a culture they do not understand. And like most statements of that sort, this one misses the point, for the truth is far more complicated.
Now, it certainly is fair to say the Hindus have a lot of gods. Indeed, of…
Congratulations! on completing your 45th trip around the sun. Approximately 1,500,000,000 miles through space while constantly traveling 1000mph on the surface of this spinning top. Are you tired yet?
A bit of birthday wisdom I heard once on NPR, from a girl on her 10th birthday. She said her 9-year-old self was still there, just as she was the day before, but now with a 10-year-old layer on her surface. And the 8- and 7- and 6-year-old girls she used to be, she still was. We don't stop being who we've always been.
I feel increasingly certain someone much like…
I wondered if I’d heard her right.
“Butt-wipe.” That was what this woman had just called her preteen daughter, annoyed at her for getting injured on the playground.
Convinced my ears were functioning correctly, I turned quickly on my heel and left the room. I knew I should confront this flagrantly abusive language, but I also knew that I was likely just to aggravate the situation by allowing my own anger and disgust to be apparent, so I gave myself a moment to calm down before I sought the woman’s husband and attempted to explain the problem.
“Butt-wipe.” That was…
So you went and wrote a poem. Good for you. Pat yourself on the back.
But before you submit it to a poetry journal or upload it here on Medium, you owe it to your readers and yourself to see how you can make it better.
After all, as Ernest Hemingway famously said, “The first draft of anything is crap.” And I don’t believe he meant, unless your name is Ernest Hemingway. Nearly everything that anybody writes can be improved. Perfection is not possible.
Poetry is no exception. It may feel inspired, but it’s still writing. And if you plan…
… to a particular world view called materialism. Fairness lies in the notion of attaining happiness. Regardless of our living condition and suffering, happiness is always attainable although temporarily it can be obfuscated by the circumstances we are in. Similarly, we don't have happiness even when we are the two richest men in the world divorcing our …
Chuan Hiang Teng
Thank you, Chuan Hiang Teng, for this thoughtful comment. I encourage you to publish it as an article, rather than only showing it to me.
I understand your point, that materialism is not the only way that fairness or justice may be measured. Many philosophies have been created by great teachers, from Lao Tsu to the Buddhas to the Stoics of ancient Greece and Rome, all encouraging us to look for happiness within ourselves rather than seeking pleasure in our surroundings. That is good advice.
We may find a kind of justice in our opportunity to rise above our circumstances…
Call your broker. Right now. Tell him, sell your whole portfolio. Wall Street’s going to go into a tailspin when it gets the news. They need to find a new can’t-miss commodity, because sex isn’t trending anymore.
Japan, faced with aging and declining population numbers, is begging people to get frisky, but instead their men (a few of them, at least) are marrying computer programs and anime dolls, neither of which is likely to complain about the hours they put in at the office or the gym. …