A great thing happened on a hike with my nephew: we stumbled upon a decent sized puffball mushroom and my nephew asked me if he could kill it. I paused to think of what would be the best course. I decided to ask him if that’s what he wanted to do, and I really didn’t know what to expect. He looked at me then at the mushroom and really thought about it before saying, ‘No, I’m going to let it grow.’


Conor Friedersdorf is one of the best writers of our time and at the height of his powers- he must be read regularly.

In a month or so the super generation of Monarchs will make the journey to their wintering sites to regenerate. It’s amazing- just like the movement of the four seasons there are four generations of monarchs in the round trip. The first three go north until the final generation follows their parents and grandparents and great grandparents back to the beginning

Canadians need to talk about and start to settle controversial political questions. The cowardly status quo where the people cede difficult matters to professional administrations just won’t do.

From one controversial issue to another the sticking point is that the only iron clad logical positions are at the extremes while most people are just uncomfortably in the middle- inclined to one extreme or the other, but also aware of the heart-wrenching context of callousness, cruelty, or suffering that holds them back from embracing an extreme position. Still, that is the law: the law is a line drawn by representatives of the people in our democracy and we must have those hard public conversations.

There will always be more and less sympathetic cases and we need that compassion and tenderness for the tough cases but we shouldn’t let that hamstring us from doing the right thing or let that discomfort turn our eyes away from other injustices.

A blessed constellation of stuff happened in church: the interim minister, preaching about some of the mysteries and grace around strength and weakness, said in passing that when you get older your arms aren’t long enough to read from your notes when a man, charming with a big smile and rough around the edges, told her to put it in the bright sunshine because she would be able to see it then. I was very happy, but that happy feeling was diluted a bit with a bit of a feeling of hypocrisy in my Sunday best clothing compared to the honest, beautiful grin with missing teeth of that other man in the congregation.

Action, reflection, and automation

I’ve been reading Mark Kingwell’s sounding of the philosophical depths of the relationship between action and reflection- his meditation on how fishing bridges much of the gap between our understanding of those two spheres of life.

I also heard an interesting talk with a professor on the radio. The professor said that with automation and driving, much of the courage of the moment involved in action will be taken away. For example, a customer could choose to program the car to make selfish or altruistic driving choices, which are made in the heat of the moment now.

So, with technological extensions of man we can objectively decide in tranquility what we want to do in the middle of powerful emotions and split second fluid happenings. I think how or if we reflect on the good life it has always affected how we act in the heat of the moment. I guess the question is where ‘guts’ and ‘heart’ come from- it seems that technology will take some of that mystery out of it now, though.