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Here is one of those little things – tiny on the scale of the vast tragedies unfolding on Earth today – that got under my skin. A family living on wild land in Oregon in tipis, raising their daughter, is now threatened with eviction because the owners are forced to sell the...
Most children in our society protest going to school. Am I telling you something new?  They protest in many ways—by feigning illness, by dragging their feet in the morning, by doing the least they can to meet the school's demands (or not doing even that), and by violating...
What we do in this generation will determine the trajectory of life on this planet for the next ten thousand years. But this is no time for despair. Because with great crisis, comes great opportunity.  Forget about solving climate change for a moment. Forget about all the...
Is it melancholy to think that a world that Robin Williams can’t live in must be broken? To tie this sad event to the overarching misery of our times? I’d been thinking about Robin Williams a bit recently. His manager Larry Bresner told me that when Robin was asked by a...
The following statement somehow showed up on my Twitter feed the other day: “Spontaneous reading happens for a few kids. The vast majority need (and all can benefit from) explicit instruction in phonics.”  This 127-character edict issued, as it turned out, from a young...
“Avoid socks. They are a fatal giveaway of a phony nonconformist.” “Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?,” James Thurber asked in the caption to a 1958 New Yorker cartoon depicting a woman fed up with her artist partner. It remains unknown whether the...
From the crises in the Middle East to mass shootings in U.S. schools to the reckless striving for wealth and world domination, there is one overarching theme that almost never gets media coverage—the sense of insignificance that drives destructive acts. As a depth...
Much has been written about the silencing of anti-war dissent in Israel by a populace almost universally supportive of military action in Gaza. Such support – inspired by feelings of vulnerability amidst rocket fire and informed by the country’s rightward shift – has made...
It is frightening, this transition between worlds, but it is also alluring. Have you ever gotten addicted to doom-and-gloom websites, logging on every day to read the latest evidence that collapse is coming soon, feeling almost let down when Peak Oil didn’t start in 2005, or...
FEAR, PLEASURE, SORROW, thought and violence are all interrelated. Most of us take pleasure in violence, in disliking somebody, hating a particular race or group of people, having antagonistic feelings towards others. But in a state of mind in which all violence has come to...
"What I can't understand is, why aren't people rioting in the streets?" I hear this, now and then, from people of wealthy and powerful backgrounds. There is a kind of incredulity. "After all," the subtext seems to read, "we scream bloody murder when anyone so much as...
Just ahead of the sixth episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” comedian John Oliver admitted on “CBS This Morning” that he and his crew are “still trying to work out what this is.” But Oliver seems to know what “Last Week” isn’t: “The Daily Show.” Oliver, of course, is a...
I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said: "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” I think this is true, and I think the consequences of it being true are as pervasive as they are...
Soccer (or football, as the rest of the world refers to it) is the most popular sport globally. But can you love the game while hating the World Cup?
People who diligently follow their horoscopes may claim that it's all just good fun. But on closer examination, this claim falls flat. Here's why astrology is potentially damaging to our understanding of science, relationships — and even our place in the universe...
Charles Eisenstein challenges our obsession with climate change at the expense of all other values. I’ve noticed some parallels among three defining institutions of our civilisation: money, war, and mainstream religion. All three demand, in one way or another, the sacrifice...
David Korten's new essay (available to read as a PDF) connects the work of finding a new sacred story with the effort to build a new economy. Those who follow my work are aware that I believe a viable human future depends on navigating a deep cultural and institutional...
We need to recognize we share the planet with millions of other life forms   Time to celebrate! Woo-hoo! It’s official: we humans have started a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene. Who’d have thought that just one species among millions might be capable of such an...
The peoples of earlier times prospered from the guidance of simple stories that offered answers to their deepest questions. We need those now more than ever. For people, generally, their story of the universe and the human role in the universe is their primary source of...
Having compassion leads to increased happiness, freedom from gender stereotypes, and better relationships with others. I remember being a very compassionate child. While watching "The Little House on the Prairie," I cried my eyes out when Laura couldn’t give Pa a Christmas...
So you’ve been to the playa, and you’ve seen the promised land – the promise of freedom, of self-expression, of immediacy and creativity and community.  The playa fed you, and it changed you.  It provided you opportunities for growth, you took advantage of those...
On Monday, January 13, two Fullerton, California police officers charged with the beating death of Kelly Thomas were acquitted, and the prosecutor announced his decision not to press charges against a third officer involved. Millions who had been following the story met the...
This is an image of a 19th century wood engraving called "Slaves in Brazil: The Terrible Torture of a Slave", from 'Journal des Voyages'. [3] It depicts a black slave being boiled alive above a huge cauldron. The film 12 Years a Slave was a Disney version of...
One might not expect a website called weedblog.eu to be particularly profound. However, in addition to posts about “the best weed you ever smoked” and “the latest cannabis discoveries that governments don’t want you to know,” the site recently posted a map that elegantly...
How many of us seek out a relationship, want to find companionship with someone because we are afraid of loneliness? How many of us think that we could be with anyone we want but are, in moments of doubt, afraid that no one will love us? How many women fear the image of one...
Is Facebook flirting with fascism? The question might prove difficult to answer with a resounding “yes or no,” but, to those who have been keeping track of its recent censorship practices, the answer appears to lean heavily toward the affirmative. Yesterday, on 9 January...
Deciding to Offer Web Design in a Gift Economy Changed My Life. Here’s How. Last weekend, someone who is very important to me wrote something kind about me on Facebook, and since then many people have tried to get in touch with me. Like, a lot of people. From...
The vague cultural concept doesn't translate easily into English, but it has helped Denmark become the 'happiest country on Earth' despite long, dark winters. Denmark is the happiest country on Earth, according to the United Nations, which may seem odd for a small, subarctic...
Things are getting better and better and worse and worse faster and faster simultaneously.” – Tom Atlee Was the year 2013 a cause for hope or a cause for despair? Were the positive developments signs that the world is turning the corner? Or were they delusionary exceptions...
That they are crass, brash and trashy goes without saying. But there is something in the pictures posted on Rich Kids of Instagram (and highlighted by the Guardian last week(1)) that inspires more than the usual revulsion towards crude displays of opulence. There is a shadow...
If we cede our power to shape our collective stories to others, the stories designed to keep us powerless will prevail. Let’s call it the cultural commons: public space for meaning and beauty that enables us to learn who we are, envision a livable future, and work together...
Sometimes I feel nostalgic for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the super Bowl was important, in which America was bringing democracy to the world, in which the doctor could fix you, in which science was...
Many countries in the world see the U.S. as the single greatest external threat to their societies. During the latest episode of the Washington farce that has astonished a bemused world, a Chinese commentator wrote that if the United States cannot be a responsible member...
“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist Alexander Berkman
Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months of traveling. Because I had been living quite a different lifestyle while I was away, this sudden...
To this day, a philosophical debate rages on as to the true nature of humanity. Is humanity at its core good or evil? Does the human species amount to no more than a parasite on the planet as Agent Smith says in The Matrix, “a cancer”, intent on devouring every last...
“The rich are different from us,” F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have remarked to Ernest Hemingway, to which Hemingway allegedly replied, “Yes, they have more money.” The exchange, although it never actually took place, sums up a wisdom Fitzgerald had that eluded...
TED is a powerful and paradigm shattering initiative that brands itself with the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.” At this point, we have probably all heard of TED and the short talks given by inspiring people from all around the world to audiences at different conferences...
In my unending search for just the right vintage images for our articles, I have looked through thousands of photographs of men from the last century or so. One of the things that I have found most fascinating about many of these images, is the ease, familiarity...
If she's twerking on it, maybe we'll pay attention.
If you think you’re hearing the word “empathy” everywhere, you’re right. It’s now on the lips of scientists and business leaders, education experts and political activists. But there is a vital question that few people ask: How can I expand my own empathic potential?...
When the Ben Swann team has conference calls we certainly do not discuss pop culture. However, after watching the Miley Cyrus video pop up in my Facebook news-feed multiple times I said to myself, “What the hell, watch it.” After regaining composure from the visceral...
Over the years, CNN.com has become a news website that many people turn to for top-notch reporting. Every day it is visited by millions of people, all of whom rely on “The Worldwide Leader in News”—that’s our slogan—for the most crucial, up-to-date information on current...
Neighbors in Conover Commons in Redmond, Washington, share an open field as their community gathering spot. This photo originally appeared in Jay Walljasper's book, How to Design Our World for Happiness. When we share our yards, sidewalks, and other common spaces, we find...
What can we do to help young men respect women, recognize consent, and have healthy sexual relationships? Teach them kindness to others—and the courage to go against the crowd.   When Max was just a few months old, I sat cross-legged on the floor with him in a circle of...
There’s no class in high school on how to not be a shitty boyfriend or girlfriend. Sure, they teach us the biology of sex, the legality of marriage, and maybe read a few obscure love stories from the 19th century on how not to be. But when it comes down to actually handling...
Things are getting real. Entertainment, specifically. And by "real" I don't mean serious, or imminent, or even necessarily honest -- but real, as in pushed to the limit of what we perceive as real, and even further, until it's so real we can't distinguish what's real and...
"I wasn't worried about freedom. I was worried about people being turned into morons by TV." -- Ray Bradbury in 2001 talking about his book Fahrenheit 451 Is television actually making us stupid? After all, this is a device nicknamed "the boob tube" and "the idiot box."...
Here it is: Power. Now, quick, before reading further, close your eyes. What associations come to mind? If your list is full words like coercion, force, guns, oppression, domination, money, you could be in big trouble. Turns out, our very idea of power can rob us of it...
As parents begin to seek a more gentle method of discipline, they often start by dropping the obvious