Rite of Passage

The Cherokee have a rite of passage for their youth. Whether the rite is still practiced I have no idea, but I hope it is. Apparently a father takes his boy into the wilderness, blindfolds him, and has him sit alone on a stump. The boy is to remain on the stump throughout the night…

Nostalgia for the Savage Life

I often find myself wishing I were living the savage life. I use savage in the old sense to mean pre-civilized man. The savage had many advantages that modern man will likely never have, or even conceive of. For example, the ability to see the full night sky. Modern lighting has made this spectacle nearly…

Novocaine for Nihilism

Nihilism is a tricky mode of existence. How does one continue existing, in an existence one finds thoroughly meaningless, when one’s very being demands love and relationship with others to survive? Dostoevsky has a scene in the Brother’s Karamazov where a man, an elder of an Orthodox monastery, explains how the more he “loves humanity…

Presentness

“The present contains nothing but the past,” says the great Henri Bergson, “and what is found in the effect was already present in the cause.” Is this true of the human psyche? Is our present state of mind merely an aggregate of our total experiences and affects from birth to the present? It may be…