It’s time to reclaim the mantle of “Progress” for progressives. By falsely tethering the concept of progress to free market economics and centrist values, Steven Pinker has tried to appropriate a great idea for which he has no rightful claim. In Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, published earlier this year, … Continue reading Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why.
Published in Open Democracy | Transformation, March 20, 2018. It’s time to build a new worldview around a deeper sense of connectedness. What do all these ideas have in common—a tax on carbon, big investments in renewable energy, a livable minimum wage, and freely accessible healthcare? The answer is that we need all of them, … Continue reading Culture Shift: Redirecting Humanity’s Path to a Flourishing Future
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, affirms an ecological vision that is in line with progressive environmental thought. Is it mere rhetoric or does it have a deeper resonance within Chinese culture? The answer may ultimately have a profound effect on humanity’s future. Imagine a newly elected President of the United States calling in his inaugural speech … Continue reading What Does China’s “Ecological Civilization” Mean for Humanity’s Future?
George Monbiot, acclaimed Guardian columnist and environmental thought leader, wrote this piece today about The Patterning Instinct. I’m republishing it here verbatim. An astonishing new field of enquiry explores the deep changes that could avert a planetary disaster By George Monbiot, published on monbiot.com, 31st January 2018 We know where we’re going. For many years, scientists have … Continue reading Stepping Back from the Brink
The cover article of New Scientist this week asks “Is Western civilization on the brink of collapse?” I’m glad they’re raising this question, but their discussion was extremely disappointing. First, as George Monbiot points out in a follow-up article, the article fails to distinguish between Western and global civilization, conflating two very different issues: 1.) … Continue reading “The collapse of our civilization is not a political issue.” Really??
Fifteen thousand scientists have issued a dire warning to humanity about impending collapse but virtually no-one takes notice. Ultimately, our global systems, which are designed for perpetual growth, need to be fundamentally restructured to avoid the worst-case outcome. For a moment, the most important news in the entire world flashed across the media like a … Continue reading What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse?
Futurists warning about the threats of AI are looking in the wrong place. Humanity is already facing an existential threat from an artificial intelligence we created hundreds of years ago. It’s called the Corporation. Some of the leading thinkers of our time are unleashing a stream of warnings about the threat of artificial intelligence taking … Continue reading AI Has Already Taken Over. It’s Called the Corporation
[Article published in Common Dreams, AlterNet, Resilience, and CounterPunch] Our egalitarian hunter-gatherer ancestors developed sophisticated social technologies for keeping upstarts in check. What can the popular resistance movement learn from them in confronting the worst excesses of Donald Trump? The recent election results in Virginia and elsewhere suggest that the tide may be turning away … Continue reading Resisting Trump? Five Tips from the Hunter-Gatherer Playbook
Contrary to common sense, we could experience booming GDP and stock market valuations all the way to society’s imminent collapse. As we reel from one natural disaster after another—hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, wildfires in California—climate scientists explain how they’re not really “natural” at all. They’re the anticipated consequence of a breakdown in the world’s climate, … Continue reading The Cruel, Topsy-Turvy Economics of Collapse
There’s probably no more contentious Federal holiday than Columbus Day. Increasingly, municipalities across the country are renaming it to Indigenous Peoples Day, to honor those who were decimated by the European conquest. Meanwhile, every year, apologists for the dominant neoliberal worldview publish op-ed pieces to defend the status quo. Their arguments, unfortunately, only demonstrate the … Continue reading The Great Columbus Day Debate
Reprint of my article first published in Berkeleyside, on Thursday, September 21, 2017 Next week, right wing extremists plan another invasion of Berkeley, with some of their most notorious mouthpieces—Steve Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, among others—scheduled to speak in what they speciously call a “Free Speech” week. Their obvious desire is to provoke, in … Continue reading Rejecting Violent Political Tactics Is a Moral Choice
Imagine you’re driving your shiny new car too fast along a wet, curvy road. You turn a corner and realize you’re heading straight for a crowd of pedestrians. If you slam on your brakes, you’d probably skid and damage your car. So you keep your foot on the accelerator, heading straight for the crowd, knowing … Continue reading The Climate Catastrophe We’re All Ignoring
On Friday, August 4, I published an article in AlterNet entitled “The Dangerous Delusions of Richard Dawkins.” The response was flabbergasting. The article, which was quickly picked up by both Raw Story and Salon, has been shared on Facebook over ten thousand times in less than a week. It has also elicited a storm of … Continue reading Beyond Reductionism? An Open Letter in Response to Jerry Coyne
It seems like a body blow to the very possibility of saving humanity’s future. A “brutal act,” as described by Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel. The Paris Agreement is itself limited in scope, and insufficient in its goals, but at least it amounts to the single best step the world has taken to try to limit the effects of … Continue reading Is the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement the wake-up call the world needs?
Published online in Tikkun, May 19, 2017 Imagine living in a home with structural flaws in the foundations. At first, you might not notice too much. Every now and then, some cracks might appear in the walls. If they got too bad, you might apply a new coat of paint, and things would … Continue reading A House on Shaky Foundations
I had a dream. I fell asleep to a nightmare, and woke up with a dream. The nightmare is one we all share. It’s called the Presidential inauguration of a man fueled by hatred and anger, an unbalanced narcissist invested with the power to destroy all life on earth on a whim. But it’s the … Continue reading I had a dream
“In the heart of darkness, a light still shines.” Every day, the news seems only to get worse. Trump’s Cabinet appointments are brazenly turning the U.S. into a kleptocracy – a land where those who have gained unprecedented wealth and power by cynically manipulating the rules now get to rewrite the rules for their own exclusive benefit. … Continue reading Towards the Tipping Point: Understanding Trump in a larger historical context
I’m delighted to announce that my book, The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning, is now available for pre-order online. The Patterning Instinct explores the way humans have made meaning from the cosmos from hunter-gatherer times to the present day. It reveals the hidden foundations of our unsustainable civilization, and offers a potential … Continue reading The Patterning Instinct available for pre-order
I watched with horror last night, like millions of others, as the election began pointing to a Trump victory. It felt like the world slipping into a bottomless abyss. And now we’re in it, spiraling downwards. Which leaves the gut wrenching question, awful to contemplate: how bad will it get? There are already a large … Continue reading How Bad Will It Get? What Can We Do About It?