The state of the world these days is enough to make you want to scream curses at the sky, throw a molotov cocktail through some institutional windows, and then snuggle up to a bottle of tequila for the remainder of the evening.
What do you do when everything you believe about the world crumbles to pieces around you? How do you rebuild a sense of hope, meaning, and truth? As a philosophy professor and coach, I've thought about these questions a lot, and I’ve learned some things. I gave a TEDx talk at TEDxPCC called, "What to do when you're worldview falls apart." Take a look.
How do we, as a society, take broad political action on issues like climate change or global poverty when we see ourselves as fractured groups, each with its own concerns?
In episode #29: The "I" in Us of my podcast Think Hard, I suggest that identity politics—organizing and motivating political action through features of your identity such as race, gender, class, nationality, religion, etc.—is insufficient for the type of collective action needed to solve some important global problems. My co-host José believes that all political action must necessarily begin with the interests, needs, and perspectives of identity. What do you think?
What do philosophers have to offer the public?
In the latest episode of my podcast Think Hard #28: Our Patron Saint welcome special guest Dr. Jack Russell Weinstein, Director of the Institute for Philosophy in Public Life at the University of North Dakota and host of the public radio show and podcast Why? Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life, to talk about public philosophy.
A philosophical perspective can help with almost any professional work, including veterinary medicine. Last week, I spoke with a group of professional veterinarians about how philosophical skills and thinking can help make their work more efficient, productive, purposeful, and fulfilling. Here are some of the tips and perspectives I gave them.
I'm teaming up with Curious Soul Philosophy this May to lead a workshop called Buddhist Wisdom for Everyday Living. If you are local to Portland, Oregon, join me to learn and discuss the foundational philosophical ideas of Buddhism and see how they may serve us in our everyday lives.
Suffering is perhaps one of the most informative and important parts of the human experience. Sitting with this pain—whether it be our own or someone else's—takes courage, strength, and compassion. It is extraordinarily difficult, but it allows us to get to the heart of what is really happening, both in society at large and in our personal inner lives.
For those who don’t believe in a benevolent, higher power, where do we look for hope and guidance when things are looking grim?
In the latest episode of Think Hard #23: Hope in a Godless World, we bring you the audio from a public lecture that I gave to Sunday Assembly Portland. Afterward, my co-host José gets a chance to ask questions and challenge some ideas. And as always, we end with recommendations in our What We're Thinking About segment.
Guatama Buddha's great teaching was how to become free from the cravings, fears, and ego-filled pride that keeps us all miserable. He offered a clear path for how to achieve this enlightened state. But he also said that no one can save us but ourselves. "We ourselves must walk the path," is the translation often given.
So maybe you're not aiming for nirvana, but the same is true for any kind of healing and self-actualization that you strive to do.
I'll be giving a TEDx talk at TEDx PCC, in Portland, OR, on April 19th!
The theme of the event is Collective Genius.
Tickets will be available February 19th at tedxpcc.com.
For 20th century French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, we humans have the power to determine who we are. Every moment, we are creating ourselves through our choices, both in actions we take and in the meaning that we ascribe to those actions. And no matter our circumstances, we are always free to choose differently—to choose new ideas, beliefs, thoughts, and actions.
I had a text exchange recently with a friend who was grew up with a conservative Christian upbringing, but has since left the church and stopped believing. She was reluctant to watch a video that her uncle gifted to her, (likely in a passive-aggressive attempt to bring her back into the fold), which ostensibly made a case for everything from the Biblical great flood to the Christian resurrection, based on archeological artifacts and other kinds of data.
"I struggle with that sort of thing," she said. "Like: what if that evidence was in any way legit or convincing? I'm not sure I could be convinced to revisit my conclusions at this point."
I'm reading What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen and reflecting on her point that motherhood and mothering is now described in language more so than ever before--in books and online rather than through nonverbal communication in multigenerational families, as it was in years past--and yet there is such a lack of both words and stories that communicate the activities of mothering.
As soon as I learned what an episiotomy was, I knew I didn't want one. For the uninitiated, an episiotomy is a procedure done to help make room for a baby during delivery, by making an incision in the perineum, the tissue between the vagina and the anus. Yeah, that's why I didn't want one. In fact, when I filled out the intake form on my childbirth class, I wrote it down as one of my biggest fears. But, in the immortal words of Mick Jagger, you can’t always get what you want.
Philosophy, the “love of wisdom,” can help us to live better, happier, and more fulfilling lives. As someone with a Ph.D. in philosophy, who has been reading and teaching philosophical texts on better living for over a decade, I have always wholeheartedly believed this claim—that is, until I went on a ten-day silent meditation retreat.