Essays

Against “really”

"Really" is a harmful weasel word, used to intimidate you into not questioning implausible metaphysical claims. Here's how to counter them.

October 16th, 2010

“Ultimate”: use carefully

Ultimate is a word that can be legitimately used in discussions of meaning. Often, though, it is advertising hype, or a weasel-word.

November 5th, 2010

Pop spirituality: monism goes mainstream

As pop spirituality, monism is approaching pandemic prevalence. It is time for a global vaccination campaign.

November 5th, 2010

Bad ideas from dead Germans

Current pop spirituality is based on German Romantic Idealism from two centuries ago. I outline the key ideas these movements share.

November 7th, 2010

An improbable re-animation

Rotten ideas from the past -- the corpse of German Romantic Idealism -- have risen from the dead. We face the task of laying them to rest again.

November 7th, 2010

Acknowledging Romantic Idealism

Andrew Cohen, perhaps a major contributor to contemporary pop spirituality, now positions himself in the lineage of German Romantic Idealism more than Hinduism.

November 8th, 2010

The New Age: appeal and limits

The New Age, a collection of systems of monist eternalism, is appealing as an alternative to dualism, but limited by silly specifics.

November 12th, 2010

SBNR: system-free monism?

Spiritual but not religious (SBNR) often seems to mean system-free monism: All Is One, but for no specific reason.

December 25th, 2010

New Earth, Big Lie

A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle, encapsulates the new, system-free monist spirituality. Brilliant but disastrously flawed.

December 25th, 2010

Dr. Bronner’s monist soap

Dr. Bronner used soap to evangelize for monism, probably inspired by the New Thought movement.

January 19th, 2011

Spiritual smugness

Devotees of current spirituality (SBNR) are irritatingly smug. Why do they think they are so superior?

February 12th, 2011

Influence

January 25th, 2012

Illuminatus!, Voegelin, and the politics of SBNR monism

Spiritual But Not Religious monism could lead to political totalitarianism.

March 9th, 2013

At the Mountains of Meaningness

Mountains are major sources of meaning, inspiration, and insight, due to vastness, nebulosity, specificity, and illegibility.

March 26th, 2015

The toxic power dynamics of Oneness

The Guru Papers brilliantly illuminates fallacies of contemporary spirituality, and also the toxic power dynamics of authoritarian control.

April 9th, 2015

YOU NEED MORE LUMENS

Most SAD lamps are not bright enough (in lux or lumens). How to build one brighter than any you can buy!

December 7th, 2015

The new politics of meaning

Politics in 2016 is reshaping as communal vs. systematic values, sidelining the old left vs. right opposition.

June 26th, 2016

Tribal, systematic, and fluid political understanding

How to move beyond tribal and ideological politics, while avoiding meta-political nihilism, to develop a fluid, meta-systematic social view.

November 1st, 2016

The Court of Values and the Bureau of Boringness

Save democracy! Give voters what they want: exciting, colorful tribal-political conflicts, PLUS competent, boring government they don't have to think about.

November 4th, 2016

MORE LUX: light bars for SAD

LED light bars: inexpensive, brighter, and more comfortable than a SAD light box as phototherapy for seasonal depression

November 22nd, 2016