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Posted inMeaning & Purpose

There is no ‘crisis of meaning’

Reading Time: 3 minutes Over 80 million. That’s how many hits a Google search for “crisis of meaning” generates in the past year alone. It makes sense that “crisis of meaning” would be in people’s minds. We are worried, and with good reason. Here in the US, the pandemic saw a surge in anxiety, depression, and other mental health […]

Posted inMeaning & Purpose

There is a secular afterlife

Reading Time: 4 minutes My family church here in Indonesia offers an online Bible study. One day, at my parents’ request, I helped them navigate to the page. The theme of the day was “Being brave facing death.” In support, a common proverb was offered: urip mung mampir ngombe—”Life is just stopping by to drink.” The proverb invites us […]

Posted inMeaning & Purpose

The joy of walking

Reading Time: 3 minutes Walking is good for the environment. It is also good for the body and the soul.  A recent study suggests that walking may slow the aging process. But walking is not merely a tool for longevity. It is also an instrument of spiritual health. An MIT study found that walking increased markedly during the COVID-19 pandemic, often in response […]

Posted inMeaning & Purpose

Why not call yourself a humanist?

Reading Time: 2 minutes Call yourself a humanist, first and foremost. This classification encompasses all others. After the word “humanist,” you may add your preferred subset label: humanist Muslim, humanist Christian, humanist Buddhist, humanist Atheist, humanist Agnostic. It is important that these subset terms do not precede the word humanist. We are humanists first, and what we are after […]

Posted inPsychology

Fighting the ‘apathy of impotence’

Reading Time: 3 minutes A friend recently suggested that apathy is a reasonable response to a world gone mad.  He called this the “apathy of impotence.” The apathy of impotence grows from the feeling that there is nothing we can do to change a world afflicted by systematic and structural problems. Rather than beating your head against the wall, it […]

Posted inPsychology

Remember their whole life, not just their final hours

Reading Time: 4 minutes This entire column, not just this entry, contains a content warning. I will be writing about suicide, depression, post-traumatic stress, and other serious topics. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone you trust, establish care with a therapist, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), or go to your nearest emergency […]

Posted inMeaning & Purpose

Religion as the sole path to happiness? Not on your one and only life

Reading Time: 3 minutes A renewed line of pro-religion persuasion is leveraging people’s desire for happiness and religion’s purported ability to provide it. I suspect that with seculars it’s proving as effective as the many get-religion rhetorical gambits that have gone before it. Which is to say not effective. At all. A recent piece at the Big Think portal […]

Posted inPsychology

Life lessons from Beethoven: Chasing numbness away with music

Reading Time: 4 minutes This entire column, not just this entry, contains a content warning. I will be writing about suicide, depression, post-traumatic stress, and other serious topics. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone you trust, establish care with a therapist, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), or go to your nearest emergency […]

Posted inMeaning & Purpose

Changing clocks and playing with time

Reading Time: 4 minutes There have long been practical concerns about our annual clock-changing ritual. It causes sleepiness, confusion, and accidents. In response, the Senate passed the “Sunshine Protection Act” this week, a first step to making Daylight Savings Time permanent. But if the clocks move forward permanently, we might end up driving to work in the dark during […]

Posted inPsychology

How to help the grieving

Reading Time: 4 minutes This entire column, not just this entry, contains a content warning. I will be writing about suicide, depression, post-traumatic stress, and other serious topics. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone you trust, establish care with a therapist, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), or go to your nearest emergency […]