Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Ties that Bind

This beautiful, short sermon by the Rev. Scott Gerard Prinster (UU) reminded me of how crazily blessed my life has been, and how many of those blessings can be credited (or blamed, depending on my mood) to my parents.

Nothing has made me appreciate these often challenging blessings more than being a father myself. (Being a dad also revealed the constantly changing perspectives that growing and maturing afford you, particularly if you're willing to pay attention. Suddenly I was far more compassionate for my parents than I'd ever been in my pre-parent days.) I never really understood what my Mom and Dad meant when they said "I love you" until I said it to my daughter. It's like having a supernova right below my sternum, an explosion of bittersweet wonder and joy. Coming full circle, round 1.

The puzzle of our identities is indeed more complex than we want to admit, and how much of it is attributable to our folks, to their strengths and failings, we'll probably never know. So here's to you, Mom and Dad!

clipped from

I’ve also come to see that manhood is a changing state rather than a fixed set of qualities. In older adulthood, the man my father has become is almost nothing like the caricature I once created. Last week he left a phone message telling me that he was drinking green tea from the coffee company I had introduced him to. Green tea? Maturity has made us increasingly alike, and I’m grateful that my father is now both a man I like and one I don’t mind being like.

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You can listen to the sermon here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The spirit of Richard Feynman

I'm pretty sure the late Nobel laureate Richard Feynman would not have wanted to be seen as some sort of spiritual teacher, but I can't help feel buoyed and inspired by the joy, thoughtfulness, and genuineness he conveys in this series of interviews. To me, those are spiritual qualities. Enjoy!

"I don't feel frightened not knowing."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cooperation as a factor in evoution

Steve Davis does a fantastic job of arguing that evolution isn't simply about selfishness and competition, and that, in fact, cooperation seems to be the framework within which competition coheres.
Cooperation is a form of goodness, but how prevalent is it in nature? Well, we see cooperation between molecules, between cells, between organs, between organisms, between groups, and between groups of groups. How much cooperation do we need to see before conceding its significance? How blind do you have to be to ignore cooperation as a factor in evolution?

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