Tyranny Prevention

Yale University’s Levin Professor of History Timothy Snyder has written a manifesto for democracy titled On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2017). This little volume (128 pages, 6” x 4.5”) packs a wallop. Although he never names anyone as his focal tyrant wannabe, the reader knows that this … Continue reading Tyranny Prevention

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Adrift, But Not Sinking

Retirement stunned my psychiatrist friend. Accustomed to being a provider, teacher, administrator, and therapist, he was suddenly adrift. It was as though the sails, oars, and motor that had energized his boat had disappeared. He didn’t know what to do with himself. “Who am I?” he asked daily, hoping for an answer. “What is my … Continue reading Adrift, But Not Sinking

How Do Religion and Politics Mix?

An Imam, a Rabbi, and a Ronin were sitting on the bimah. Their host asked each to comment on this question: What is the line between religion and politics? In a country that officially embraces the separation of church and state, the audience of mostly Jews and Christians at Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North … Continue reading How Do Religion and Politics Mix?

A Modest Proposal

In 1729, Jonathan Swift brought attention to the plight of Ireland’s starving poor by ironically suggesting the children be fattened and served up to the rich. My modest proposal today employs no irony. Rather, I address a serious issue by suggesting a small, effortless, non-resource-consuming, incremental change. The serious issue: Carbon emissions. The suggestion: Cut … Continue reading A Modest Proposal

May the Force Be With You, But Do Your Homework

The Force will be unleashed on a hungry public this Friday. Popcorn and slushies will fertilize the minds of moviegoers eager to digest the wisdom of the Jedi warriors. Or, if not to digest wisdom, perhaps to accompany sheer entertainment. How many times have we jocularly tossed “May the Force be with you” to friends … Continue reading May the Force Be With You, But Do Your Homework

Making the Most of What Willpower You Have

Our capacity to pay attention varies along a continuum from highly effortful to totally effortless. Effortful attention is like when you must read the instructions for a new piece of computer software. For most of us, this requires highly focused concentration that entails the marshaling of all of our mental resources. As such, much energy … Continue reading Making the Most of What Willpower You Have

Change of Life, Change of Personality

I frequently get this question, for which I’ve had no convincing data to respond: Do personality trait levels change as the result of menopause? I’ve decided to look for an answer. In a recent survey of the published research literature, I found no information. So, in lieu of answers from the known literature, I turned … Continue reading Change of Life, Change of Personality