“There is only one God! He is omnipotent. But he only exists on Wednesdays.” That is one of the examples Pascal Boyer gives in Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought (2001) for a presumably unmemorable or unsuccessful religious idea (72). Another is “the gods are watching us and they notice everything we do! […]Read more "Religion Explained Explained"
“I had heard people say that when they looked at the stars too long they grew terrified by the sensation of being drawn away” -Gene Wolf, Sword and Citadel 1: Distant Stars The narrative device at the beginning of Olaf Stapledon’s The Starmaker is refreshingly unadorned. The first-person protagonist looks up at the stars from […]Read more "Far Futures, Distant Suns"
A dog reminds you that your existence is not discrete, but extrudes, panting, into the world. Life becomes less the places you stay, and more the walks you take. Rounds, routines, and sequences of scents. Since we got our cocker spaniel, I have been leaving the apartment more. Having a dog means you go for […]Read more "Dogs, Rivers, Tunnels"
“I had just seen, standing a little way back from the steep ridge over which we were passing, three trees, probably marking the entrance to a a shady avenue, which made a pattern at which I was looking now not for the first time; I could not succeed in reconstructing the place from which they […]Read more "Extinctions to Origins: Nuclear Bombs and Medicine Wheels"
The eyes of the ranger, when I shook his hand, struck me with a colorless intensity, pale and bright. Out of them, he saw the forest differently: riparian and woodland zones of varying soil composition, giving rise to stands of pin-oak, paw-paw, and sycamore. When we climbed onto his four-wheeler, it seemed impossible that it […]Read more "Telepathic Ecologies"
Yesterday I walked into class with a pack full of books, and emptied them onto the table. I’d selected them the night before: non-fiction, poetry, collections of essays and stories, volumes that were for whatever reason important to me, and that I now hoped might dent my student’s apathy and antipathy towards the written word. […]Read more "Horizontal Learning: Two Bags of Books"
There is no moon now in the sky, only a black and artificial harvest. August 27-30th, 2011, there was a sociology conference, the largest in the world, held in Ceasar’s Palace. Here is an article in which sociologists talk about the city, where the conference was moved after a labor dispute in Chicago forced their […]Read more "Vegas Sociology"