The fragmentation of everything

About 335 million years ago, all the major land masses on earth were combined into a single supercontinent we call Pangaea.1 Then 200 million years ago, they began to break up and drift apart. When humans arrived, they further subdivided the continents into kingdoms, principalities, and tribes. The modern age is one of great ideological… Continue reading The fragmentation of everything

Hugs and human rights violations

In René Spitz's infamous study on orphaned infants in the 1940s, extreme measures were taken to avoid the spread of germs. Sheets separated the cribs, employees wore masks and gloves, and caregivers rarely held the infants.1 Despite having adequate food and medical care, the infants did not develop properly and were likely to fall prey… Continue reading Hugs and human rights violations

The meaning of life in photos

Occasionally an image captures the worth and potential of humanity. I was recently a judge in a photo contest for images capturing selflessness. We were looking for photos of people engaged in selfless behaviors or demonstrating selfless intent toward people or animals. Willingness to help someone else is a recognition of that person’s value –… Continue reading The meaning of life in photos

Why ‘what they don’t know’ hurts everyone

Remember what it feels like to get away with something? To fool someone with a well-crafted lie? To take from another without notice or punishment? Is it a mixture of guilt and power? Perhaps it is a feeling of relief that you escaped the immediate consequences mixed with anxiety of a future reckoning. I once… Continue reading Why ‘what they don’t know’ hurts everyone

Spirituality and religious connection

#TaxTheChurches was trending on Twitter recently. Most of the comments were not balanced assessments of how church donations and government programs influence the world. They were more like what you would expect during an evening of troll karaoke: mockery, anger, and ugliness. Much of this resentment comes from an understandable place. When I hear about… Continue reading Spirituality and religious connection

How the laws we make for ourselves make us miserable

The movie begins five minutes from now, and the theater is 20 minutes away. I’m pacing by the front door. After looking at my watch, I rub my eyes with the palms of my hands. Then I look at my watch again. I call upstairs to my date, “Are you almost ready? It’s time to… Continue reading How the laws we make for ourselves make us miserable

When life is charmed but unsatisfactory

We take the children out for ice cream at Baskin Robbins every once and again. On a couple of occasions, one of the younger kids chose a clown-flavor – something like cotton candy, pink bubblegum, or rainbow sherbet. I tried to convince her that she was making a mistake. “What about Oreo or Rocky Road?… Continue reading When life is charmed but unsatisfactory

Self-reliance versus reliance on others

A group of friends once debated whether we should rely on ourselves or on others. One of them said, “If I don’t look out for myself, no one will. And I want to progress to the point where I am independent.” Then came the rebuttal. “No one on the planet has all the skills required… Continue reading Self-reliance versus reliance on others

What we are losing as a people

During a summer evening in 1948, a woman worked quietly in a paddy near Fukui Japan. She was likely checking that the water levels were adequate for the growing rice. Suddenly, a magnitude seven earthquake shook the muddy ground. According to reports, soldiers witnessed a four-foot-wide fissure open at the woman’s feet. She grasped at… Continue reading What we are losing as a people

For those who are not enough

An author and researcher I respect often says, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough!”1 What about the times when you are not enough though? What about when you are doing your best at school or work and still failing? Or when you are a less-than-adequate spouse or… Continue reading For those who are not enough