Jung: A Very Short Introduction (1994) by Anthony Stevens

Categories: 1994, Books, and Non-Fiction.

When I was a teenager, some adult told me about Jung’s collective unconscious. I didn’t read a thing about it, but took whatever they told me and created my own elaborate theory about our thoughts influencing others (which has nothing to do with Jung). Ultimately, that theory was a responsible for a lot of mental stress on my part. Years later, it feels like a lot of wasted energy. Read More

The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011) by Steven Pinker

Categories: 2011, Books, and Non-Fiction.

If you watch the news today, you will be told the world is awful. Even if, like me, you do not have cable, you can still get enough news of the awfulness of the world from your antenna or the internet. The news is an endless barrage of controversy and tragedy; controversy over the supposedly awful things that people do to each other, and the tragedy of yet another series of deaths, caused by human beings or natural disasters. Even if you’re a bit of an optimist, as I am, it’s hard to resist the conclusion that the world is Read More

We do not want to know what we do not want to know

Categories: 2016, Psychology, and Society.

People say we’re rational. Human beings may be animals, but we are animals who have overcome our animal natures to make calculated decisions about our choices. I mean, look at all we’ve accomplished with our big brains. We tell each other we think rationally, even logically. And we  want rational explanations for what is happening in the world. We want to know why things happen. But every person who believes this is wrong to a degree. Human beings are not entirely rational. We may be able to think rationally or even logically about certain select things but, usually, we’re driving Read More

The belief in Justice is probably the breeding ground for injustice

Categories: Philosophy, Politics, Religion, and Society.

I have long identified myself as an atheist (even though I’m an agnostic) in religion, an existentialist in philosophy and “anti-apocalyptic” or “anti-ideological” person in politics (i.e. a pragmatist). I have long struggled with this last definition, not because I don’t know what I am – I know exactly what I am, politically – but rather because I have trouble encapsulating it in one word. Politically, I am a centrist or, as I used to jokingly describe myself: a libertarian social democrat with a conservative streak. But I’m not a centrist because of a lack of conviction; I cannot pick Read More

Proposal for Improved Voter Turnout

Categories: Politics, Psychology, and Society.

The Proposal A number of years ago, a friend of mine proposed an interesting idea for promoting voter turnout in Canada: turn it into a lottery. The idea is relatively simple: each ballot cast is also a ticket for Canada’s largest lottery. Every voter is only allowed one ticket but if you don’t vote, you are not entered in the lottery. The winning voter would be entitled to something like $100,000,000 (a large sum for us Canadian lottery players). Read More

You pissed me off, it's your fault!

Categories: 2012, Movies, Politics, Psychology, Religion, and Society.

Human beings are sensitive creatures. It’s interesting that this is so because, as a species, we have survived for an unimaginable length of time and more threats to our existence than we could count (none worse than ourselves). So it is always somewhat entertaining (or sad, depending on your point of view) to see how sensitive we humans get about minor things when we have any level of physical need satisfaction. The moment we don’t have to worry about where we will get our next meal, or where we will sleep next, we get ready to get pissed off about Read More

On the sanity of living with another human being

Categories: Personal and Psychology.

I have vivid dreams. I mean: really, really vivid. Sometimes they are so vivid I am convinced I am living them, until I wake up. Sometimes they are so vivid they take the place of my memories and I occasionally get confused about whether or not something realistic that happened in a dream actually happened in real life. This doesn’t happen often, but it happens occasionally. One of the problems with vivid dreams is they tend to affect you emotionally…a lot. I’m not talking about nightmares. I do get nightmares but nightmares just cause me to wake up suddenly, often Read More

Grey Gardens (1975, Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer)

Categories: 1975 and Movies.

This is a real shocker. It’s actually sort of hard to watch (as it hits me a little too close to home, but I can’t elaborate). It is utterly incredible what happens when people – whether they are rich or poor – seclude themselves from society. As Plato (or someone) said, you are either a beast or a god. Though it is hard to watch, there really isn’t much like it. It was probably the first film (at least it’s the first one I know of) that broke down stereotypes of this kind of thing that we now would associate Read More

Why is metaphysics dangerous in the hands of those who govern us?

Categories: Philosophy and Society.

All people generally think alike and don’t think alike at the same time. We have some things in common and other things which aren’t in common. But the claim there is a class, a coherent, self-contained ruling elite, that is distinctly different from the average joe, has no basis in fact; its basis is in the desire of some to believe that they are being directed by powers greater than themselves (which is, incidentally, a form of metaphysics). How did we get back on this again? C. Wright Mills, for example, has been totally utterly refuted. There are other examples Read More

Why is metaphysics dangerous in the hands of those who govern us?

Categories: Philosophy, Politics, and Society.

Metaphysics, i.e the study of “things” outside of physical reality, is incredibly dangerous for politics. But first, why do we use metaphysics? For some reason or other, human beings need to use abstracts to express themselves. We cannot always refer our ideas to concrete things. There is a whole field of philosophy that studies this and related issues but I have no time for it. I am concerned with reality and politics, so philosophical disagreements over why we need abstracts are of no interest. But basically we need concepts that are not physically real in order to communicate. So, metaphysics Read More

Milk

Categories: 2010 and Personal.

My family has some odd traditions, like any family. One of them is this: Though my step-dad buys groceries nearly every Saturday morning without fail (except in the summer time), he does not buy milk when he shops. We have always bought our milk from the local convenience store, ever since we moved into their current house. This has continued to this day. It used to be my brother’s and my chore to buy the milk. My step-dad didn’t want to have to make that trip too, understandably, and my mom did lots of other things. They reasoned, fairly enough, Read More

Phones make people crazy

Categories: Psychology and Society.

I understand that losing something is annoying and maybe even saddening (depending on what it is). But it should hardly be the catalyst for a breakdown, especially when that thing is a phone, bought and paid for by work. It’s hardly the end of the world. I operate without one and I seem to do okay. We are becoming way too tied to these devices. They aren’t people and you can get hold of the people that matter to you in other ways. But more importantly, any person can indeed function without one. We managed to for tens of thousands Read More

Americans Are Crazy

Categories: 2009, Politics, Psychology, and Society.

http://www.the912project.com/ I try not to be anti-American, I really do. Especially since my relatives are American. But this is fucking crazy…I love how on one of these pages I guy thinks he’s writing an open letter to the government and it begins with name-calling and “???”s. That’s how you get politicians to pay attention to you, definitely. Read More

Best Books of the 20th Century – Non-Fiction

Categories: Books and Non-Fiction.

I find it a lot harder to pick non-fiction. That’s why this list is shorter. I’ve also read lots of silly non-fiction over the years, that really isn’t very good. Hannah Arendt: The Human Condition; The Origins of Totalitarianism Albert Camus: The Rebel Jared Diamond: Guns, Germs, and Steel Victor Frankl: Man’s Search for Meaning Leszek Kolakowski: Main Currents of Marxism Runners-up: Hannah Arendt: On Revolution William Barrett: Irrational Man Bruce Chatwin: The Songlines Northrop Frye: The Educated Imagination Tony Horwitz: Confederates in the Attic Stanley Karnow: Vietnam Leszek Kolakowski: Modernity on Endless Trial Raymond B. Lech: All the Drowned Read More

American Movie (1999, Chris Smith) & Me

Categories: 1999 and Movies.

My dad keeps telling me I have a remarkably strong sense of self and that I’m very patient. He asked me yesterday if I ever get rattled. I used a whole tank of gas in two days. I was doing lots of chauffeuring. I just watched American Movie and as much as it was very funny it made me realize that I haven’t done anything with my life and my dreams are pretty much all empty, just like Mark’s dreams (Mark being the star of the film). Well, I’m just not driven enough to achieve any of mine, as far Read More