I needed a space for writing. This is it.

The true nature of existence is not fully knowable by a limited brain that cannot think to include or map the totality of existence (and it never could, unless it was identical with the totality of existence).

Our animal brains appear as matter in 3D space (at least ordinarily), but the neuronal network itself isn't operating as structurally 3 dimensional; that is, as it calculates or conceptualizes, it is not doing so in a neural network configuration resembling cartesian planes or even fields in higher dimensional space. I don't know if occassionally it operates the network along planar or field-like configurations (that would be one hell of a hack in terms of physically mapping Cartesian thinking in the literal space of the brain), but my bet is that even if that happens, it is only momentary, probably accidental, and is quickly violated. The network is a messy graph. So thought-as-network-activity bursts into and collapses out of high dimensionality often and very fluidly.

...which is not very practical for trading a cow for magic beans, or whatever you may be up to in any given moment.

Some significant network activity appears to be dedicated to reducing complexity, and presenting that to an orchestrator of decision making, and ordinarily this reduction is what appears in consciousness/self/self-awareness. The brain's full network activity, the messy graph, more closely resembles the nature of physical reality (whatever that is), not capturing the full essence of nature, but by virtue of being of common substance and pattern with it, expressing continuity and commonality with it.

This could suggest that some deeper capabilities of the brain inherently carry a kind of wisdom that aligns more closely with the true nature of physicality.

If you consider yourself a realist, I submit that this is closer to reality: the ordinary feeling of oneself as an operator of a separate body doesn't line up all that well with reality of continuity over time and space of the physical world, where bodies and brains appear. The experience of separateness is the world of reduced multi-dimensonality, centralized into a self-concept for operational convenience. I don't deny emergence, and this is not intending to suggest that somehow you only think you're experiencing a separate self. The orientation is more like: your experience of a separate self is contrived by a mind that resolves momentary feelings and thoughts, with the aid of memory, into a steady notion of self. That steady notion of self is the thing that is fabricated. With certain practices, it is possible to notice a kind of fluidity of that fabrication.

It is also probably worth saying the following: whatever you think this experience might be like is not it. You cannot think your way into it with concepts; conceptual thinking brings the illusion back.

Reiterating a prior point, I am very sensitive to some vulnerabilities present here. The idea of “changing the operating system” of your mind/awareness, at least momentarily, to forego ordinary critical analysis and conceptual thinking opens a door to manipulation that has been repeatedly exploited thoughout history. Two points here: (1) as a practitioner of meditation aiming for this, I find that snapping back to ordinary modes of thinking is almost too automatic, and (2) this underscores the importance of refusing all religious authority.

But given safeguards in place about authority, look at how often this has come up. Some examples: * In the opening of the Tao Te Ching: “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao; the name that can be named is not the eternal name.” (Laozi) suggesting that the modeler-of-the-world-as-concepts brain that wants to describe and name cannot grasp it. * From The Cloud of Unknowing He may well be loved, but not thought. By love He can be grasped and held, but by thought neither grasped nor held.” (Anonymous 14th c.) * In the Ashtavakra Gita, “I am pure awareness though through ignorance I have imagined myself to have additional attributes. By continually reflecting like this, my dwelling place is in the Unimagined.” Ch2 verse 17

The ideas are fascinating, and the experience of self as continuous with the universe is a liberating modality.

“Maybe” is a good place to leave this.

I need to talk to you sincerely and honestly. I promise to do my best to be kind and careful.

I know you that your vocation and ministry began deeply and first with a desire to lead people toward what is best. You really do wish to improve the lives of people. You have the long-term view in mind. You plan from this long-view in a manner that tries to place humanity on a path toward what is real and best in the longest run possible.

Full stop. No gotchas. I'm not trying to find a flaw here at all. In fact, I have no real agenda in mind right now at the start of this. I have some thoughts on how to begin, where to go, and where I want to end up. But the details are pretty hazy, and I'm willing to take my time to find a path. I am inviting you to come along. There will be no talking down to you. When it sounds like I am trying to tell you how things are, please try to frame the words like a conversation we're having as we're walking in a quiet place.

I am taking a moment right now to fully feel gratitude for your being as a way to honor you and as a token of my sincere respect and appreciation for a kind of person who really wants what is best. Please appreciate that I am not being disingenuous. This is not to be taken as groveling or deference. If this is what prayer looks like to you, I welcome you to take a moment with me. Let's feel gratitude together. Even better, let's figure out how to make this prayer of gratitude one of the ways in which our lives are the instruments of the sacred.

Shall we proceed?

I'd love to begin with what we know and don't know. We know we live in a quantum mechanical universe. We know that this universe is at least 13 billion years old. That is, there was a big bang and it has been at least 13 billion years since that happened.

The truth of this is pretty uncontroversial. The reason I say that is because the truth of those statements emerged from the scientific method, which is a process that has been refined over time that has “controls” to actively try to find inaccuracies. When science is uncorrupt, other forces, including politics and religion, don't interfere.

For example, I made a statement: the universe is at least 13 billion years old. If we do the process well, scientists are actually trying to prove a statement like this wrong. They're actively trying to find data that contradicts the statement. They're not looking to leaders to tell them the answer. They're actually looking for the answer, They're asking technical questions that have a basis in questions like these:

  • Does the math (that we have already subjected to this careful process for prior purposes and found that it has predictive power, e.g., the math says “expect to locate a black hole in space here” and we look and find it there) support or contradict the statement?
  • Is the statement completely inaccurate. Why?
  • Is the statement on the right track, but it got the details wrong?
  • Does the data support or refute this claim?
  • What other outcomes or implications should we expect to find evidence for if this claim is true? Do we find them?

Look at what those questions and their possible answers suggest about the nature of truth and certainty. In real science, I think it's fair to say we have discarded a notion of certainty. Everything is open to revison based on what we learn.

Maybe take a moment to reflect on how science really plays out in the world versus this ideal. I'm taking this moment myself right now. I'm looking for ways in which this notion of pure science is fundamentally flawed versus easily corrupted.

Some words from that moment of reflection: science is narrow. I said in a previous post something like “truth emerges in bands or clusters of likelihood”. Scientists need to practice saying “I don't know”, so that we can form a clear picture of what is really emerging from the process.

... so that we can make uncontroversial statements about the nature of the shared reality we inhabit.

Beyond “uncontroversial” lie some simply gorgeous speculations. I'm not talking about wild, unfounded ideas. I'm talking about real outcomes that are predicted by the math that are so counterintuitive that the best minds in the world can't and won't have a full intuition about their nature and implications for time and space. (There are already some uncontroversial outcomes from quantum mechanics that are very counterintuitive). These speculations are respectable and taken seriously because the math is careful in exactly the way I have been trying to spell out.

Why aren't these uncontroversial? Because sometimes they're hard or impossible to verify with measurement. Some scientists will say, if it's not possible to prove a statement wrong, it's not science. I disagree with this notion. Sometimes there are several (again very grounded in formal math) theories that each paint a different picture of reality. It is just the case that we don't currently possess the kinds of tools, reach, and mind that would be required to collect sufficient evidence to prove any of them wrong.

For the purpose of this discussion, let's allow the definition of science to include recognizing when we don't have enough evidence. Let's just allow science to say “I don't know” as part of the process, and still call that science. These maths are solid. We'll just have to wait to until we can measure. And we may never be capable of taking certain measurements.

Checking in. Has anyone already parted ways with me? If we were walking together in real life, I would have noticed, and taken a moment to listen and engage objections. I invite you to re-engage so that we can back up and begin together from where you are.

For many others, I know we're just walking together. Thank you for welcoming this slow and steady pace.

So I was trying to arrive at a place we could call “the end of certainty”. The scientific method is certain of nothing, but, as I tried to spell out, there's a lot more to keep in mind about degrees of likelihood that it would be foolish to disregard.

Now let's talk about the “spirit” of science in our lives. I submit that allowing the process as I described it to govern what we believe is a fine and legitimate spiritual foundation.

Spirituality can begin where “I don't know” leaves off. Please try to notice, emotionally, any reservations or associations the word “spirituality” may have in your experience. I'm trying anticipate something like this: people choose this word when they have left their faith, and they're off trying to justify a worldview where they get to have their cake and eat it too. I hear you. Let's talk about it. Please try to unencumber this word so that we can proceed for now. I promise to return to the root of this concern in the future, but maybe not this time.

All of the above has been an attempt at building a foundation from which to explore some concerns I have about Christianity as it appears to me in the world today.

I feel in the most honest depths of my being, that there really is an important message to hear from Christianity. When we talk about the example of Jesus Christ, we're almost always looking at the ways he was purported to have lived his life, so that we can emulate those ways. The pursuit of understanding the words in this way is honorable.

I'm pausing right now to acknowledge and notice some objections that come to mind.

Some concerns from a wider audience might be that, while we'll just go ahead and grant that the words and actions as written were all well intentioned, attempting to emulate his example might not always lead to outcomes that are actually good for the long-term well being of people or of this planet. I acknowledge you. I need to think about it, but this isn't the main point right now. Let's flag this for further exploration later.

So there's this leading by example aspect of interpretation of the message. And sincere mainstream Christianity tends to put a ton of effort into enacting this with infrastructure and sometimes legislation. (Another flag planted, but proceeding.)

All of this and we still haven't gotten to the message I'm trying to suggest. I submit that the “example” of Jesus was that he was trying to point to something that words cannot say. This is not merely “He was directing our attention to God”. While true, it's not quite the meaning I'm after. It might be true that Luke 14:26's harsh words (you can't be my disciple unless you hate everyone) is more like a koan than entry criteria. The point of a koan is often not to convince you of some truth or demand that you do any particular thing, it's trying to help you notice something. Here's interpreting this verse in terms of something to notice: “Look for the emotional aspect of your being that reacts to the notion of giving up everyone and everything that you love to do what is truly right. Just notice it. Did you find it? Stay with the noticing and don't stop.”

This is where my mind goes: first there's a spiral to the bottom. Essentially, “fuck no”. Allowing this to remain so that I can see what it is about. Inhabiting “fuck no”. When the defensiveness settles, asking why. Because love. Possessions and comfort are easier. This is what solid camping is good for. You just learn that you don't really need much stuff. When you throw all of that off the boat, what is left is who you love. Asking “why would he demand this?”. Being confused about how this demand should really be applied to my life. I then notice that some of the most honorable people that have ever lived, lived by this. They really were ready to give up everything to do what they believe is truly right. The best kind of soldier has this attitude. I become grateful for people who risk their lives every day to do what is right.

I then settle and spend time with love and look around at what's here. I have stopped intellectualizing, and have begun observing. If I keep looking very carefully, “self” isn't here. Self is utterly absent. The beginning of a miracle is right here. The world is exactly as it ever was, but my experience is deeply continuous with it. The thing I thought was myself was deep identification with a cluster of emotions and/or a complex of thought. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). I have just wandered into an experience of “myself” that understands the contours of when I would completely give up my life to do what is right because of love.

I then worry about how noble intentions are vulnerable to exploitation. This is evil. We who are not on these kinds of “front-lines”, where the reality of dying at any moment to do what is right is present and real, have a duty to ensure that those who are deployed to some purpose greater than themselves are not being used and discarded.

It is not out of the question that the Good News is this actually available re-orientation to reality that allows one to feel less self-important, that the message of Christ is how to be in the world and be in contact with the sacred in this way. You may notice a connection to transcendental meditation with this feeling of selflessness (at least I do).

I long for you to grant the legitimacy of an interpretation of the message like this. The space for attempts with language to end, and this practice of allowing direct sacred presence to unfold. I don't need everyone to see it my way; I only ask for the space for this to be a bona fide approach to faith.

Here's what I personally need from Christianity in order for it to have any place of serious regard in my life and in the world. I'm going to address Christianity directly:

Spending all of your energy on a common-denominator, do-what-I-say-or-else mentality is good for just under an 8-year old's mind. More than that, you need to come to terms with the world around you. There are millions of sincere and serious people with a worldview near the one I'm describing here. We need to know that you can come to the table and be serious. Your certainties are no good here. Can you show up and be an active member of the community that is trying to figure out how to steward this planet carefully? We don't assume there is somewhere better to be. We assume that we have to make decisions that matter for a very long time. Our aim is reduce suffering in the world and for conscious creatures to flourish. Please notice that I am not, with these words, recommending any particular course of action or agenda, other than, we have to take responsibility for our actions in the world.

If showing up to the table in this way is possible, here's my next request: bring this back to the church with you. The character trait I'm requesting is humility. Science tells us nothing about why there's even a lived experience, why we feel and perceive, why we're here. Let's admit together what we don't know certainly, and then let's use the wisdom of our traditions to guide our hands. This is going to have to include critical thinking about the very words we don't ordinarily question.

Please be this kind of Christianity. This is the place in which I want my faith to flourish. I am not using the word “faith” as a pointer to a belief system that I should just assume and take on. This is faith in the sense of “allowing the sacred to unfold without concepts.” Let's go ahead and call it listening to God.

Thank you for coming along for this journey with me so far. If we parted ways, thank you for coming along as you did. I am happy to pick it up from wherever you left off. Let's talk.

I think this part is going to be hard to hear. I'll do my best to be careful.

For me, as a male in this world, there has been pressure to be dominant. Not merely physically dominant, but to actually regard myself as a master over my wife and my children and my land. In some sense, to be a king and have a kingdom. Let's try to imagine the most honorable king of this sort. Let's just begin with: he doesn't own slaves or allow slavery. He is deeply benevolent. He doesn't regard his wife, children, or subjects as resources. They are not a means to an end, but an end to themselves. So his whole endeavor is to protect and care for all under his pervue and to truly do what is best for them.

There is a world outside of his kingdom. It is harsh and deadly. He has seen it and done battle in it. He tries to make the kingdom self-sustaining so that there are as few needs as possible to leave the walls of the kingdom, but sometimes it is necessary.

Occassionally, the kingdom is attacked, so naturally he does what is necessary to protect it.

What else would you add to paint a picture of the most benevolent (human-only) king?

We just made a myth together! You should name him and and his kingdom! It's fantasy and fantasy is rad! (But not real.)

What's wrong with such a king? Does anything come to mind for you?

Maybe there's nothing wrong with such a king. Let's put him and his kingdom in a US state. Feel free to take your time and think about how he got there. Let’s go ahead and add that he is a man of sincere Christian faith who is bringing all of the lessons of the compassionate Christ to bear on his life. As you develop this in your thought experiment, don’t spare any details about how his ancestors applied the same benevolence reliably that he can be counted on to apply during his own lifetime. Does this king live in the America you're familiar with?

What is missing?

What kinds of enemies did he/does he have to fight? Who are those other people and what treatment do they deserve? How are they treated?

How often are your answers justifications for his difficult but necessary actions? Did I lose you? Are we still carefully considering this together? If not, what made you stop? Are there things that you believe shouldn't be thought about? If so, what about this makes it one of those things? Maybe you made it this far, but stopped trusting my intentions. I acknowledge you. Consider taking a moment to understand why you are reacting to these words as you are.


Let’s consider the kind of world where king and kingdom are the optimal answer to how to arrange a culture. This is a world with real enemies. There are bad people in this world, irredeemably bad people. Do irredeemably bad people deserve our compassion? What did Jesus say about this? What makes a person irredeemable? How sure do you feel about your answer? What makes you feel this certainty? If you do feel this certainty, what ways of treating other humans become justified?

I’m not raising these questions because I have some specific conclusions that I'm expecting you'll come to. I'm raising these questions because I'm noticing the contours of a possible contradiction, a place where something doesn't look like it quite fits. I can't really know if a contradiction is present unless I actually try to find out by exploring it. I am trying to cultivate a state of mind where we can look with honesty at some core drivers.

Also, I am trying to explore something that I think is interesting about culture as shared reality-making. Culture starts with an image of what the world should be like. So right away, it has something “in mind” about the way the world is, and how people should fit into it. It doesn't start from perception to build a world view from scratch. It is more like an evolving virtual reality that we then expect real life to adhere to.

Contrast king and kingdom with the following: I tend to build muscle mass more readily than my spouse, so I am able to lift more weight as a consequence of the hormones produced by my body, among lots of other variables. These are simply the reality of the conditions of our bodies. This difference could flip. Maybe I get injured, maybe my spouse sets and achieves different fitness goals. In any case, as partners, we love, help, protect, and care for each other by engaging our strengths (of all kinds, including physical) to the benefit of our relationship. This is the nature of a sincere and loving relationship. Any well cultivated relationship is unique and balanced in its own way, based on the real conditions and dispositions of the humans in it. The myth or model might help us think about how to arrange things, but let's not confuse the map with the territory. This is what it means to build a world view from scratch. We start with what is real.

Back to our myth, here’s a question: who is this king’s wife? What is her role and responsibility in this arrangement? There’s a pattern from certain Christianity that it would like to impose here. As I'm sure you have noticed, I'm not a fan of allowing others to do the thinking on my behalf and accepting it as truth, so accepting that imposition isn't going to happen here.

What is the value of the feminine? Do answers come to mind? Who is answering? What claim on reality does this answerer have that gives it authority to provide an answer? Who and what are you? Have you ever actually experienced femininity personally? How would you know if you had? Would it only be recognizable to you as an outsider who has seen women in the world before?

Maybe you have experienced femininity in yourself and it frightened you because it was something way outside of cultural expectations. Are we still being honest with ourselves? These words are not here to condemn any way you may have honestly answered. “I have never experienced this” is perfectly fine. But if that's really the case and you had answers for “what is the value of the feminine?” or “What is the king's wife's role and responsibility?” I want to suggest taking a moment for humility. We who don't know this experience directly are not in the best position to exclusively shape a world with femininity in it. It is hard not to notice how masculinity has tended to be placed in the foreground of our society. We need to look carefully at what the effect of this dominance has been, especially when it is out of balance.

I have stopped to consider the many ways that women and other feminine-feeling people have been compelled to accept a masculine foreground, and sometimes come to the defense of it. I'm worrying about these common ways: defeat, acceptance of the notion as part of a larger (religion-mandated) framework of “truth”.

At this moment, I am concerned that some readers might be experiencing defensiveness and anger. This is sincerely not intended to evoke those emotions. I am still attempting to walk a path carefully to spell out a thought process that maybe you don't agree with, but follow. So, being redundant again, please tell me where we parted ways and let's see what we can learn from each other. We have come a long way together and I am grateful that you are still here, walking with me.

I really want to hear the perspectives of people with femininity in their souls, especially those who have genuinely struggled to come to terms with a male-dominated world, and who have found their voice in it. There is another myth-making exercise that would be so important to hear as a follow-up to the king and kingdom myth, but this isn't for me to do. I want to hear it from those of you with direct experience. What cultural paradigms compel you to act in certain ways? What paradigms can you invent? The point probably isn't to replace king and kingdom with another myth. It's just to build the myth and explore it, to find its strengths and weaknesses, to see where it makes contact with reality and doesn't. The real value of this myth making is to exercise our imaginations, so that we have several paradigms with which to work as we shape real human culture.

There is an analogous exercise for religions & spiritual perspectives.

For this, I'm going to indicate a definition of “Myth” as follows:

A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society.

Myth. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th ed., American Heritage

The value of myth in this sense should be a springboard for thoughtful exploration. I view this as the best orientation toward ancient texts. Let's not take them as unquestionable prescriptions for behavior (we don't anyway; we're not ordinarily in the habit of sacricing animals to please God anymore) or literal descriptions of the nature of reality, but as humans in their finer (and sometimes not so fine) moments. I don't know if there is any truth to the idea that these texts display moments of contact with something divine, but at minimum they point to depths of our unconscious selves, and we should learn from this. For understanding the nature of the physical world, we need to come to terms with the fact that these texts haven't ever pointed out, miraculously early, a physical truth that had to wait thousands of years for science to catch up and verify. The texts are just not reliable for this purpose.

The destination I was hoping to reach is this: I don't want to throw out any babies with bathwater. Let's make a world with space for spirituality. There is so much we don't know, and the mystery is beautiful. When our texts (sometimes harshly) demand we keep holy the Sabbath, let's understand that to mean that we should hold space for cultivating wisdom on the regular. Our minds are limited, and it's really important to choose where our attention lands. Whatever the truest nature of reality is, we just can't fully know or understand it. Let's begin with admitting this, and approach the project of this life together with humility and compassion.

I am deeply grateful that you have given your time to reading this, and I look forward to continuing sincere and careful conversations with you.

Here is an incomplete list of materials that deserve acknowledgment for helping me think carefully about these ideas, that I found helpful, or inspiring: * The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr. * The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist. * Wisdom and Insecurity by Alan Watts. * The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley * The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James * Orlando by Virginia Woolf. * Writing found on Civilization Emerging: by Daniel Schmachtenberger * Material by Britt Hartley of * The Psychological Drivers of the Metacrisis. YouTube. John Vervaeke, Iain McGilchrist, & Daniel Schmachtenberger.

And a final note to a wider audience than to whom this was addressed: I really struggled with choosing words when talking about gender issues. I was trying to strike a balance of avoiding “hot button” words while honoring the reality of the experience of all people. I am a novice in this area. If anything needs to be adjusted, please reach out. Thank you.


One could also ask: what is evil?

I tend to think about what needs correction in the world in terms of the totality of suffering: what can we do to eliminate needless suffering of conscious creatures? It is easy and careless to answer nihilistically. Remove consciousness from the world and you're done, right? As I write, I am sincerely wondering how much effort you really need me to put into spelling the absurdity of this out.

Let's do just a little. One doesn't consider a question like this in isolation. It is brought to the foreground of attention amid a larger backdrop of theory of existence, or purpose of existence, if you like. This isn't purpose in the sense of “utility”. When people get lost in the ultimate pointlessness of existence, I think it's because they're looking for utility. Or, if you're persuaded by literal interpretations of, say, Christianity or Islam, the purpose just becomes, “do what I have to do to save myself and people I love from suffering eternally.”

So purpose as utility, absent fear of eternal punishment, can leave one with mere pointlessness.

Here is the kind of purpose I mean: I reject the notion of the world/the universe/all existence as less than sacred, that whatever the source of being is is something outside of or away from the field of existence. If you are committed to any of mainstream Christianity, believe in a personal god or gods, or are an atheist, there's a good chance the meaning of the prior sentence was lost on you. You might struggle with reconciling the appearance of evil in the world with this notion of the unbound sacred. Atrocities may come to mind. I don't, for a moment, deny the existence of the reality of all of the terror that humans have inflicted upon each other.

Instead, I regard concept of self as separate from the universe as incorrect, a mistake, or an illusion; I view this mistake as a driver for what is wrong. We act according to our concepts, and when we mis-conceptualize self as separate, we act accordingly. Artificial boundaries create resource management anxieties that drive behaviors to collect and hoard. Maybe for our million-years-ago ancestors, this was necessary. I don't have an answer on-hand as to whether it had been necessary, but this is an exploration I will save for a different conversation.

What this doesn't mean is that there aren't separate entities. There is a discrete body sitting here right now typing these words. But ordinarily, that body appears to have volition, even to me, the very person suggesting these ideas. That feeling of volition might be the thing to practice noticing more often.

For now, and for this entry, I only want to suggest this to you: it is possible to experience reality in the way I am describing, and it might be worth our trouble to orient to the world in this way.

Here is an attempted account of what changes in me when I can hold this perspective: physically, very little changes. Needs and desires are present, but anxieties about fulfilling them fall away. I orient toward concern for what is best. I don't automatically have an answer for what is best, but I become curious and passionate about finding the answer.

What's really curious is that something like religion or spirituality can come back online for me in this state. I continue to reject the belief systems entirely, and yet understand a possible deeper meaning in Christian Communion as an invitation to oneness with God. See Matthew 16:25, paraphrasing, whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. I'd love to dive deeply into “for me”, but this too will have to wait for another time. The reverence for the name of God in Jewish tradition, YHWY as the unpronounceable whisper, the unknowable and unsayable, is fascinating. It is not out of the question that all of the cruft of rules and admonitions that appear in these texts hide the deeper, more important truth, and the real corruption of the true message is by people using the power of religion as a tool for control.

For what it's worth, I don't put any particular texts on a pedestal. If there is any truth to these ideas, I would expect similar patterns to emerge from multiple sources. And I think they do. For certainty about how to operate in our shared reality, (good) science is the best answer. But certainty appears in narrow bands. It is good for us to have the humility to recognize what we can be reasonably certain about, and to admit when something is not knowable, or at least not certain.

I haven't exactly landed on “this is the true, final nature of reality”, but I find this perspective at least useful, and I do think it carries some larger truth, and can help us have insight when we wonder what is wrong in the world.

This topic isn’t finished, but the post is. Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts!


What is this?

I needed a space for writing. This is it.

This is a space for thinking carefully about being intentional with my life. I hope that we can have a conversation. Let's carefully explore some topics.

I am an adult male with a beautiful family that I love and am committed to caring for with my whole being for the rest of my life. If I can do this well, it reaches beyond the nuclear to the community, and into the soil of all things for which a person should take responsibility. I was tempted to begin instead like this “This mind is a locus of experience and control, the steward of, for all practical purposes, a cis-gendered appearance/body/identity...”. It is both more accurate and more awkwardly worded. There is so much to unpack. Let's get into it.

Speaking of “getting into it”, my intent with this space is simply thinking-out-loud or learning-out-loud. I may sometimes write statements that sound like firmly held beliefs. Please regard anything of the sort as a kind of shorthand. It is something like the way I started the above paragraph vs. how I was tempted to begin. I'm not going to waste characters on qualifying every statement with “emotion X happened as impetus for thought Y” so that you can be assured of my capacity for paradigm flexibility. I'm just going to say the thought, and explore it.

I promise to do my best to listen to and try to understand diverse perspectives (it's the whole point here, really), and to be respectful in my interactions. I am not easily offended, but I won't tolerate carelessness. Don't engage if you can't be respectful, sincere, careful, and honest. If you are experiencing strong emotions, I want you to know that I deeply honor the legitimacy of your lived and felt experience. Please understand the word “honor” here not as servile, but as regarding the thing most valuable about existence: the fact that we experience it at all. Our felt experience is what is real, which is not the same thing as saying it is factually accurate. Factual accuracy and lived experience are intertwined. Both are legitimate and important. Let's talk about it.

I am not a professional writer. Please be kind. Tell me how I can improve when a change would increase precison, elegance, sensitivity, etc. I believe ignorance is already addressed, but so it's clear, the whole point is to uncover ignorance. I welcome corrections of all of these kinds.

Administrative Horseshit

The reality of a social/web community compels me to spell some things out that one can hope would not need be made explicit. But here we are.

Whatever you can learn about my identity by what's apparent in this profile and by what I write is what I wish you to know. I have other social media accounts, but I choose to use them sparingly to preserve my mental health. My profession is software. I know you can dig and learn more about who I am.

Among other protections, my house has ordinary locks. Those ordinary locks are not really expected to be unbreakable barriers; there are plenty of people who know how to bypass them. They are a convention we use to indicate our intent. Cory Doctorow has written about this in his books or blog, but I couldn't find it. If the topic is interesting, maybe see The point is, I ask for your courtesy with regard to privacy. If you do happen to know or learn something about who I am IRL personally, professionally, or otherwise, I also ask that you don't reveal any such facts in conversation. Thank you, again, for this courtesy.

There are plenty of games one can play to try to increase views of a post. I won't be playing any games like that here. Please don't interact with this space in a way that plays these games. Sharing links to this content is fine, of course, and I may cross-post elsewhere. No attention manipulation, attempts to monetize, taking my words out of context; opinions expressed herein are my thoughts and don't represent those of my employer, etc.

This space is provisional. Maybe I didn't set it up correctly. If the space has to move, and I want you to know where it went, you'll know.

A final bit of necessary horseshit: if you can't be cool, I'll do what is necessary (i.e. just enough action or force to eliminate a threat). Don't fuck with me and don't be a dick. (No bro energy intended, but how does this land for you? It remains while I try to figure out how to create clear boundaries in real-time. Please help me do better.)

I am deeply grateful that you are reading this sentence and that you are here.


Enter your email to subscribe to updates.