Author: Michael

The Life of Water, Part 1

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Science

When I was a boy my elementary school science book offered a definition of life that was based on a collection of properties. It was like a checklist, and where there was the right sort of smoke, you could count on a certain fire. Life was marked by the ability to reproduce, the ability to move and/or respond to environmental stimuli, and the ability to maintain homeostasis. I don’t remember all of the characteristics now; […]

On Intellectual Unwillingness, the End, and the Beginning

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Christ / Course Ideas / Reflections / Science

When I began this series of posts I was frustrated by the particular combination of admiration and frustration I had been feeling—and still feel—listening to Sam Harris’s Waking Up podcast. While I appreciate Sam’s take on many things, what frustrated me was his unwillingness to engage with ideas about the nature of the universe that lay in the unexplored midlands between the polarities of fundamentalist theism and the same sort of scientific materialism. On multiple […]

On Intellectual Unwillingness, Part 4

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Reflections / Science

In an effort to simplify terms, I’m going to describe persons of religious affiliation as “Rafters” and persons of scientific/materialist affiliation as “Plancks.” Recognizing there is a broad spectrum of thought in both of these categories, I’m largely hoping to address certain fundamentalist, dogmatic positions that confound meaningful interaction between these two great pillars of human endeavor. These are the hardened geometries of thought that each side seems reluctant to soften in meaningful dialogue. I […]

On Intellectual Unwillingness, Part 3

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Course Ideas / Dialogues / Science

Genuine, transformative conversation hinges upon the willingness to understand and value the experiences and perspectives of another. An effort is made to take on board another’s ideas and listen for all the places where they intersect, both comfortably and uncomfortably, with our own. Where they don’t fit very well we have an opportunity for exploration, and for new understanding perhaps, but to explore this territory together we must resist the temptation to be rigid in […]

On Intellectual Unwillingness, Part 2

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Science

I’ve been reflecting on my previous post and thinking I’m not too happy about what I did there. I’ve been feeling a cocktail of embarrassment and shame actually. I felt strongly about the ideas I discussed—ideas that I love about water and the human body and how this universe works—but also I felt angry about the way some people have used their influence to progress certain ideas. While there is nothing wrong with anger in […]

On Intellectual Honesty, Part 1

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Science

One of the great things about blogging is the encounter of new ideas and voices—new, at least, in the sense that they were new to me, and I might not have found them otherwise. Recently I’ve been listening to Sam Harris’s podcast Waking Up, and been very much enjoying it. I’ve listened to about eight episodes now, and have begun to hear recurring themes and arguments, so I think I’ve started to grasp where Sam […]

On the Discovery of Everything…

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Book Reviews

I should give a warning here. Unless you’ve already read the book To Rise Again At a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris, after reading this post you’ll know a great deal more about it than you did before. I’ve tried not to give too much away, but of both joy and necessity I’ve said more than a little. I think regardless of what I’ve noted here, the wit and audacity of Ferris’s prose merits a read […]

Imagine That You Are Loved

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Poetry

We’re going to perform a thought experiment, Hafiz announces. What wonders to behold, I answer. (Why does he always assume that just because he wants to do experiments, I do as well?) (What irks me most is that I do, of course.) Hafiz bounces a rubber ball off of the wall and catches it with the same hand, without really even being aware that he’s done so, then holds it over his mouth like an […]

Entering the Dialogue, Part 3

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Course Ideas

I started this series of posts because I came to a realization: I was not being who I know myself to be in some way. It’s like watching yourself when you’re just coming under the influence, observing that what you’re doing is strangely inconsistent, and a little unexpected. It’s called dissembling. For me this came across in my attraction to discussions that in some sense were futile. We do this sometimes because we care. Because […]

Entering the Dialogue, Part 2

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Course Ideas

A quality of wholeheartedness is peace. There is a knowing of Creation’s completeness. We sense the unchanging center on which all things depend, and know it as our own center, too, as beings. We know it as the center of the bluebird on the branch, the center of a field covered with snow, the center of the Himalayan mountains, the center of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the center of the sun. When we are wholehearted, […]