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Free Respect

To interpret the cyber attack on Sony or the murder of journalists at a satirical newspaper as a threat to Western values and free speech is another example of simplistic thinking in a complex world. It reduces the conflict to an “us versus them” mentality when it is clear that today there is no “them.” There’s only us.

The issue is not free speech. The issue is simply speech. The issue is how we relate to and treat each other in a world that’s overheated, under-represented, and outrageously unequal. And in such a world what should guide our thinking and behavior is something far more important than an article of our Constitution. What should guide our behavior is consciousness.

In his stand-up routine, Louie CK has a wonderful bit exploring why he feels free to swear and scream at someone from his car, when he would never behave that way if the person were right next to him, say in an elevator.

There’s something about being face to face with another human being that, far more often than not, tempers our emotions and our actions. That dynamic points to a higher law at work. There’s something written into our internal constitution that says it’s important to treat people with respect.

So let’s be careful how we frame and talk about these recent events, because more are on the horizon. And the way in which we understand and respond to them will either create the justification for more violence, or the conditions for our evolution.


I live in Mountain View, California. It happens to be where Google has its corporate headquarters. In addition to more traffic and higher housing prices, Google has introduced into our community “self-driving cars.” I object.

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I wrote the post below back in May, 2011 just after the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden. “Watch what happens next,” I wrote, “as the death of bin Laden helps ignorance and hatred to grow, not diminish.”

Since then, according to this week’s issue of Time magazine, “The number of radical Islamic groups has increased nearly 60% in the past four years, according to a June study by the Rand Corp, while attacks by al-Qaeda and its affiliates—a category that doesn’t even include ISIS—have tripled. Al-Qaeda now seeks to radicalize India’s Muslims, even as militants multiply in post-Gaddafi Libya.”

Here is my original post:

Obama says the world is safer with the death of Osama bin Laden and I’d like to say why, in fact, it is less safe. Read more


I was driving north on the freeway the other day when I noticed that the southbound traffic was at a standstill. Something had happened, though I couldn’t tell what. All I knew was that the backup extended for miles. No one was moving. Read more

Tree Love

Another example of life’s cooperative principle. Through a vast network of roots and fungi, trees communicate and share nutrients to help each other survive and thrive. Check out this 4 minute video. You’ll never see trees, or a denuded forest, in the same way again.


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