Notes on the Human Condition and Its Expression

Earth is a human planet (for now – it wasn’t always one), home to the human condition, of which there is (as far as we know) only one. There may be other human heavenly bodies, but it seems unlikely, given the diversity of life and the size of the universe. Life elsewhere probably won’t appear…

Thoreau’s Meanly Men and Manly Ants

“We live meanly, like ants,” Thoreau tells us in the “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” chapter of Walden, just after he’s divulged his reason for being in the woods: to distill life, then distill it some more, until he has more than 100 proof. And if life prove mean, then he will…

153 ants

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Where we Freak Out! and blame it on the cat

Ever wonder where questions like these originate, questions like “What’s got into you?” or “What’s eating you?” Turns out, these questions might be literal, not figurative at all. What’s got into you, literally, according to an Atlantic article arriving via snailman yesterday, is cat parasite. You know the one, the reason moms-to-be should avoid cat…

E. O. Wilson’s Happy Ant in Mary Midgley’s Primate Picnic

Human freedom creates morality, for to exercise our freedom we are held in a cage of motive. The stuff of motive is found in literature, and we thought we might there experience freedom unrestrained by complicity, and our awareness of others’ actions might be total. Through literature we would enjoy our freedom without ourselves being…