Too much honesty?

Esquire has an article about Radical Honesty, a movement founded by psychotherapist Brad Blanton. He says everybody would be happier if we just stopped lying. Tell the truth, all the time. This would be radical enough — a world without fibs — but Blanton goes further. He says we should toss out the filters between our brains and our mouths. If you think it, say it. Confess to your boss your secret plans to start your own company.

Community quiz

1. It’s 10:30 at night. You’re watching TV, when someone knocks quietly on the front door. Do you: Answer the door. Ignore it. Yell “Go away.” Pretend you’re not in. Call the police. Fetch your gun. 2. Imagine you open the door. It’s dark, and a light rain has recently stopped. There’s a man at the door. He’s reasonably well dressed, but has torn the pocket of his trousers on something.

Global village idiot

[Update: Looking for a more positive story about ubiquitous cameras?] David Brin wrote about the coming social revolution at length in his book The Transparent Society. Momus provided some handy tips in his song The Age of Information. Now Dog-Shit-Girl has demonstrated the dangers of not picking up the courtesy cluephone. We live in a world where increasing numbers of people have digital cameras. In fact, in a few years the majority of people will have a mobile phone with built-in camera and Internet connection.

The Unbearable Darkness of Being (German)

Theodore Dalrymple writes about the German psyche, and how even now Germans find it hard to feel national pride, or even anger at what was done to them in Dresden. My German roots are distant enough that I’ll have to take his word for that. However, he then goes on to diagnose a deep malaise in modern Germany: The urban environment of Germany, whose towns and cities were once among the most beautiful in the world, second only to Italy’s, is now a wasteland of functional yet discordant modern architecture, soulless and incapable of inspiring anything but a vague existential unease, with a sense of impermanence and unreality that mere prosperity can do nothing to dispel.

Marriage question

In answer to a question from Dan What does marriage mean to you? What baggage do you carry about the concept? I think that there are at least three different things people refer to using the word “marriage”. The first, obviously, is the process of civil union as described in law. This gives the married individuals certain rights and obligations to each other—and to the tax man, unfortunately. The second is the religious ceremony of marriage.

Life after death

Question from Dan Do you believe in life/consciousness/existence/etc. after death? Whether you believe or not, do you find yourself with a clear picture of what “the afterlife is like”? I don’t believe in life after death… but I wouldn’t say I believe it’s impossible either. I officially Don’t Know. I will say that the “soul” model of life after death seems staggeringly unlikely to me. The Buddhist ideas make much more sense, and seem to fit very well with some of the ideas about consciousness that science is starting to come up with.

Catholic church claims right to ignore law

The Boston Archdiocese has come up with a new plan: they’re claiming that the First Amendment means that civil laws don’t apply to churches. Anyone still Catholic at this point? I ask merely out of curiosity.

The exciting side of Catholicism

Secret girlfriends, cocaine deals, sex with young boys, cupboards full of porn… who knew Catholicism was so exciting? Well, apart from Bernard “Cardinal” Law, of course.

Wrap your mind around this

Scientific American recently published a special edition titled The Hidden Mind. While a few of the articles were disappointing, the magazine finished with a true gem written by David J. Chalmers. It attempts to address the difficult problem of consciousness; not the problem of how to achieve it on a Monday morning, but the even tougher problem of how to explain it. It’s titled The Puzzle of Conscious Experience, and I recommend that you go read it.

Hare Krishna *smack* Hare Krishna *whack* Hare Rama *thwack*

So, the Catholic Church in Boston is down 40 clerics, suspended and under investigation for molesting children. The Krishna movement has declared bankrupcy, unable to fight a series of lawsuits alleging rape, torture and abuse. [See CJ Silverio’s web site for information about the local Jehovah’s Witnesses.]