Category: Uncategorized

You Have To Work for Your Identity

Lately I’ve been riding a horse roughly once every week or every two weeks. Does that make me a horseman? I would say not. While I’d like to one day be known as a horseman, I realize that once every week or so won’t cut it. Doing an activity is the only way to earn […]

Read More..

A Land In Common

I’ve written before about how the South Carolina sea islands’ culture is defined by their environment. If you take a drive down one of the back roads through the tidal creek country, you’ll see people fishing on roadsides. You might see people casting nets from docks, or watch boats collecting crab traps. Most people have […]

Read More..

Social Salvation vs. Individual Salvation

From one era to another of human history, human energies seem to be dedicated either to social salvation – think “progress” – or individual salvation – think “enlightenment” or “sanctification”. Sometimes this takes religious guises, other times more secular ones. We live in a time that, despite its frequent pandering to individual *lusts* and frequent […]

Read More..

In Most Conflicts of Ideas, Socratic Dialogue Beats Research

There are so many controversial issues in our world right now, and so many people who want to change the way we think, see, speak, feel, and live because of them. I’m not an expert on COVID, not an expert on climate change, not an expert on China, not an expert on interracial and intersex […]

Read More..

Half-Assing Many Places vs. Whole-Assing One Place

“Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.” Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation John moved a lot as a kid. He leaves home at 18 to go to college in another state, then moves to New York City for his first job. After a few years, he gets a job in Chicago and moves there. Then […]

Read More..

Consider Who You Want To Enrich

Passion, talents, location, timing, status – all of these things dictate our decisions about how we work and how we make our livings. Why do we never seem to consider the downstream effects of our labor surplus? Whether we work for ourselves or work for someone else, our labor is going to generate wealth for […]

Read More..

The Lives In Our Hands

We are responsible for the present. This is clear. How we act hurts or helps our parents, siblings, neighbors, and fellow humans. We are responsible for the future. This is clear. How we act “echoes in eternity,” and we shape the future world for future people in what we do (and fail to do now). […]

Read More..

“Avoid Highways”

I hate interstates. Yes, they are fast, but they’re also encrusted with the ugliest buildings and purveyors of junk in American life – billboards, franchised fast food, garish gas stations, clotted shopping malls and strip malls and parking lots. There is little beauty and lots of consumerist architecture that varies little place to place. So […]

Read More..

Learn How To Be In the Minority

If you hold any beliefs or values or traditions more sacred than the spirit of the age (secular state-managed consumerism, more or less), you should be prepared to feel like a minority for the rest of your life. Agrarians, conservatives, libertarians (of the non-hedonist kind), Western traditionalists, orthodox religious believers, small-town people, and small-time artisans […]

Read More..

Your New Ideology Probably Won’t Make You Better

“There’s no cure for being a c***.” – Bronn, Game of Thrones It’s no new insight to say that the loudest proponents of virtuous utopia often lack virtue themselves. I only want to confess to the same sin.  I have changed my mind on many things at least a couple of times (per thing) by […]

Read More..

The Problem with “This Is the Way Things Are Done”

About half of everything we do and take for granted in modern society is probably less than 100 years old (e.g. watching television). Another half of that is probably less than 50 (e.g. using computers). Some things we now take for granted are less than 20 years old (e.g. using smartphones, etc). So it’s hard […]

Read More..

Train Like An Animal

I learned to surf from a very intense hippie instructor on a beach in Puerto Rico. He spoke of how the ocean was like a spirit mother or something, and he taught by means of whistling as if we were dogs in training. It annoyed me so much. It was also extremely effective. The instructor […]

Read More..

To Earn the Beauty of the Past, Keep the Past Alive

In my hometown of Charleston, SC, architecture is a big deal. Charleston is a historic city filled with gorgeous homes from the neoclassical period of architecture in the 1700s. And as a growing city, Charleston is full of homes with builders and homeowners who have to make decisions, including the decision to keep with traditional […]

Read More..

“You Always Think You’re Right!”

I once had someone tell me something along these lines, delivered as a sort of condemnation. This is one of the trickier attacks a person can make on your character. It’s effective because it makes you seem like an arrogant person. Broken down, though, it doesn’t make much sense. By definition, you believe your beliefs […]

Read More..

Defend the Gifts of Your Deep Past

I’ve been thinking today about the value of childhood friends (have written about this before). An author I’m reading has quite rightly said that childhood friends are the only ones that really matter. While I do have dear friends I’ve made more recently, I think he has a point. There’s some robustness and durability and […]

Read More..

The Deeper the Disagreement, the Higher the Stakes, the More Important the Honesty

Man, I thought the culture wars were bad when I was a kid. It’s cliche to say now that people are more divided along political lines than ever, so I’ll spare you. You know it. And that divide is particularly evident when people try to communicate with each other. There’s the name-calling and expletive-flinging and […]

Read More..

What If You Only Had One Year Left To Change?

Some folks say that your body stops growing at 25 and starts to move into maintenance and even decay from there. I’m less than a year away from that pivot point, where I stop being a “growing young man” and become a biologically mature person. It’s sobering to think that my biological growth will in […]

Read More..

Hunters Are Just Weaponized Field Biologists

Let’s say you want to get some of the public involved in studying and managing wildlife ecosystems. If you had to pick from one group of folks for this volunteer field biology task force, which group would you choose? The environmentalists might have the passion, but they (on average) lack the know-how and toughness. The […]

Read More..

How To Catch and Cook a Redfish in 10 Easy Steps

Catching redfish (or “spottail bass”) is a favorite pasttime of folks in the South Carolina lowcountry. I’ve been doing it in some form all my life, but usually as a tagalong with my father. To concretize my learnings from my last fishing trip, I’m writing this little guide to getting started: Check a tide chart. […]

Read More..

Bonding With Basic Spanish

It’s amazing how close you can feel to someone when you finally learn to speak even a little of their language. Language differences create huge barriers of understanding between two people, and they’re often compounded by the fact that one person or the other is from a different country and culture. Before somebody learns the […]

Read More..

Become Aware of Your Soundscape

You think about your diet. You think about your exercise. You think about your friends. How often do you stop to think about the sounds around you? We’re surrounded by sound, from the humming air conditioner to the clacking of computer keys to the buzzing of insects. As with smells, we become accustomed to these […]

Read More..

Only the Man Who Teaches Himself Is Ready for a Teacher

Want to learn any serious skill the serious way? You’ll pursue some kind of apprenticeship, or some kind of learning under a master. But wanting to learn a skill is one thing. Getting (and deserving) a good master is another, and it only comes to the people who are already doing the work to learn. […]

Read More..

Is It Better To Be Public or Private In an Age of Surveillance?

Like it or not, we now live in an age of surveillance. If the state isn’t actually surveilling you, a corporation or business is gathering data about your location, your browsing history, your interests, your employment, and more. You’re also probably subscribing yourself to a system of (voluntary) surveillance from friends, family, and colleagues via […]

Read More..

Amor Fati, But for the Past

It takes as much equanimity to accept the past as it does to accept the future. Friedrich Nietzsche (I think) introduced the notion of “amor fati,” or “love of fate” as a way for humans to reconcile themselves to the uncertainty of the future and the disasters it may bring for each of us. The […]

Read More..

He Who Is Most Prepared Will Lead

Have you ever seen the chaos of a large meeting in a corporate boardroom? It’s the guy who goes in with the agenda, the notes, and the pre-meeting-prep who typically ends up leading the direction of the room. He (or she) doesn’t have to fight much for the attention of the room. The unprepared can […]

Read More..

Instead of Instagram

I want to share photos from my life with friends. More and more, though, I find it distasteful to share them on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. Aside from all their other problems, social networks have become much too bloated. As observer Jeffrey Tucker once noted (back at the time when Google+ was […]

Read More..

If It’s Easy To Make Someone’s Day, Do It

The days come and go quickly. They are the small things in a human life, full of worry and activity. It doesn’t take much to break through the noise and make a day special for someone. For my mother, it’s as simple as sitting down to play a card game. She lights up in a […]

Read More..

How Remote Work Changes Office Politics

How can you have catty water cooler conversations about coworkers in a world of remote work? Trick question. There is no water cooler. The rapid rise of remote work has put traditional models of office interaction to the In some ways, the nature of remote work is positive in reducing chances for office politicking. Office […]

Read More..

Three Things I Like About Mask Culture

It looks like many of us will be wearing masks in public in the outbreaks of the future (and for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic). While I don’t love the sense of fear and the walling off and veiling off of human expression that come with masks, there are a few upsides I anticipate […]

Read More..

Learning Like Your Life Depends On It

There’s a school of thought that says the best learning is for “just in case” you need to know something. There’s another that says the best learning is “just in time.” I’ve dabbled with both. But today I had one of the rare experiences of learning almost as if my life depended on it. I […]

Read More..