“The People Cheering for Humanity’s End”

Adam Kirsch writes for The Atlantic, comparing and contrasting transhumanism with Anthropocene anti-humanism: The apocalyptic predictions of today’s transhumanist and anti-humanist thinkers are of a very different nature, but they too may be highly significant even if they don’t come to pass. Profound civilizational changes begin with a revolution in how people think about themselves … Read more“The People Cheering for Humanity’s End”

“… with hope that this assemblage of rubble would become a shrine …”

My new article for OnlySky Media is a memoir of my year-long experiment in public art/memorial: In 2015 I moved to Rogers Park, and during the Summer Solstice of 2021 was inspired to join the Artists of the Wall project. I painted my roughly four-foot section of the wall a midnight blue, and upon that field … Read more“… with hope that this assemblage of rubble would become a shrine …”

The “Radical Ritual” Series

In 2017, Burning Man’s theme was “Radical Ritual,” and the Burning Man Philosophical Center project produced a series of essays and interviews exploring the place of ritual in modern society. Here’s a section from Larry Harvey’s introductory essay: Is Burning Man a Religion? “The practical needs and experiences of religion seem to me sufficiently met … Read moreThe “Radical Ritual” Series

“One life: imagining a radical acceptance of death”

My new article for OnlySky explores the philosophy of radical death acceptance via the nontheistic religion of Cavesword imagined in Gore Vidal’s 1954 novel Messiah, tracing the concept back to the garden-school of Epicurus and then to the bohemian counter-culture surrounding the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: The humanist point of view is centered on the … Read more“One life: imagining a radical acceptance of death”

“Will I Go Gentle?”

Dale McGowan writes for OnlySky, the new secular/Humanist multimedia platform, on the vexing question of “what is it like to die?”: There are ways to diminish the fear of death and dying. Epicurus may have been the first to formally note that our existence is bounded by symmetrical eternities. We fear the eternity of nonexistence … Read more“Will I Go Gentle?”

“Inventing Farewell: Poetry as a Mortuary Practice”

I taught a course last semester, at Brandeis University, on elegy and contemporary death practices. This humanities practicum was entitled “Inventing Farewell” because every modern generation must re-invent its relations to the dead. It was a pedagogical experiment. The students in this workshop read contemporary poems to discover what they have to offer a modern … Read more“Inventing Farewell: Poetry as a Mortuary Practice”

“Carnival Cosmology” by Gary Warne (1977)

The world is a midway; cities are its sideshows. The only difference between children and adults is that there is no one to take care of us. When we left home it meant we were lost on the midway and, unlike God, the carny boss will only let us ride as long as we pay. … Read more“Carnival Cosmology” by Gary Warne (1977)

“How to not fear your death”

Aeon editor Sam Dresser offers the Epicurean perspective on life in relation to mortality: Key points – How to not fear your death * The end of your existence is inevitable. The question is whether or not you should fear it.* Epicurus, and many others besides, have argued that there are reasons not to fear … Read more“How to not fear your death”

“Annihilation and the Meaningfulness of Life Beyond Death”

Philosophical perspective courtesy of Floris Tomasini: The notion that death should be “nothing to us”, as Epicurus puts it, is difficult to reconcile with desires that give meaning to our lives beyond our sense of self-satisfaction. That the meaningfulness of life extends beyond death is testified by our transcendent interests or desires. Or, as Belliotti … Read more“Annihilation and the Meaningfulness of Life Beyond Death”