Table of Contents


The dead hand of rules. Rules are abstractions. At best, a rule is based on something that worked once, a real solution to a long forgotten problem that will never happen again. Each moment is unique. Most rules aren't even that. They're made up, pure mental crap based on nothing but simmering resentment, a desire to punish people for their perceived wrongdoing.

Conventional. I spent far too much of my life being ruly. It hounds me to this day. I wasn't that way as a kid. Most kids aren't. But I stayed unruly after most of my cohort buckled down into ruliness. I didn't care what other kids were doing in junior high. I was fat and unpopular and I had a blast being by myself doing the things I loved. I was stubbornly unruly. Ruliness overtook me in Kenya. It came from the unlikeliest of sources, marijuana. Smoking dope kicked my brain into overdrive and cut me off from spontaneous meditation. I became a ruly stoner, later a ruly drunk. I had to give up drugs before I could become unruly again. Drugs are so drearily conventional.

Tribalism. Covid-19 has exposed some of the deep tribal animosities that govern how people react and relate. The rules I revere reflect my tribe. Your tribe is now more visible to others as you walk down the street. Trump fostered this visibility. Social media are of immense value to the anti-scientific and anti-intellectual tribes, but never before did we have a leader who was openly contemptuous of science, culture and learning. It was a revelation. The new administration has pulled the covers back over the tribal animosities, to some degree, but now we all still see them. People have discovered that dear friends and family members aren't in the right tribe. We'll be feeling the fallout from that the rest of our lives, all of us. Thanks to my dad I'm a hereditary member of the scientific tribe, and in the past I've suffered from scientism. My life has forced me to acknowledge the profound limitations of science as a tool for living. It's the only good tool for understanding the world but it's a lousy tool for creating a good life. It can't address any of the most important things: satisfaction, love, meaning, wisdom, truth. The selective misuse of science by all sides in the Covid-19 kerfuffle has made me even more cynical about all the tribes involved, including the one I grew up in. I detest tribalism and other such mental projections.