An updated, categorized list of links to all my Medium articles

Here you can find any of my Medium articles at a glance. I’ve divided the series into categories and tried to order them logically, beginning each category with more general or primary writings or with ones that explore the historical background to the problems at issue. I’ve also tried to arrange the categories logically, starting with some of my more foundational writings, and ending with the social applications.

My older writings, going back to 2011 (I started writing on Medium in late 2019), can be found here. …

Ideological warfare, psychopathy, and the dream of post-political technocracy

Image by Harold Mendoza, from Unsplash

The tides of American politics shift as each of the two major parties wins congressional representation of roughly half of the voting population and has gone back and forth with presidencies for a century and half. This might suggest the two parties are equally capable, but that suggestion would be far from true.

If politics is nonlethal warfare between ideologically driven populations and their leaders, a struggle to terminate not your opponents themselves but their values, ideas, and capacity to influence society, the Republicans excel at politics and the Democrats are politically inept.

Yet the Democratic leaders are, of course…

The trumping of psychiatry by philosophy and religion

Image by Alexandro David, from Pexels

The DSM defines the mental illness of general anxiety disorder as “excessive worry” that occurs over a long time, that’s difficult to control, that negatively impacts the person’s social functioning, and that isn’t caused by other illnesses or physiological conditions such as drug use.

One factor that’s not addressed directly by this definition is whether the anxiety must be irrational, but this seems covered by the reference to the anxiety’s excessiveness. Thus, a fear of healthy tree branches snapping off and falling on your head would be excessive in part because the fear would be irrational.

Are Religious Fears Mentally Disordered?

Notice, then, that a…

Making sense of the multiplicity of religions

Image by Pixabay, from Pexels

Is God too big to fit into one creed or religion? That’s the question taken up and badly fumbled by Tom Gilson, an evangelical Christian writer and activist.

Gilson concedes that words are inadequate to contain the entirety of God’s nature, but he maintains that we can know enough about God for our purposes. We can know enough to be saved from God’s wrath, for example, not because we’re so clever but because an all-powerful deity would be able to reveal enough of himself to us. …

Find the silver lining of writing’s futility

Image by Magnus Lindvall, from Unsplash

Centuries ago, when parchment and literacy were rare, and creative writing was reserved for administrators and intellectual elites, all written stories and opinions may have seemed biblically important. Certainly, the scraps of ancient writing that have survived are precious to us because of their rarity and their closeness to some foundational historical events.

But after the digitization of content and the rise of the personal computer, the internet, and social media, writing has become commonplace and even a triviality. Writing now is as disposable as pop music; there’s an oversupply of texts, and even as books and articles are pirated…

Why racism should terrify white supremacists most of all

Image by Life Matters, from Pexels

According to many liberals and their hallowed critical race theory, racism is everywhere, not just in overt acts of bigotry.

But in the context of political correctness, “racism” is only a shibboleth, a label to signal our virtue or a totem around which we dance. Let’s pause, then, for a moment and attempt to clarify what we’re supposed to be talking about when we level the charge of racism.

Concepts as Simplified Models

Racism is discrimination against individuals that begins with overgeneralizing about their presumed “racial” characteristics. The most extreme instance would be a snap judgment, say, that an African American stranger is violent…

Advanced Philosophy

Sexual games of power and love.

Image by Cody Black, from Unsplash

Why has there been so much more philosophizing about the meaning of death than about what’s hailed as the crowning joy of life, which is lovemaking? Have the world’s intellectuals been preoccupied with the ominous and the disconcerting? Or have they done us a favor by avoiding the topic of sex because it is as absurd as death?

The Emergence of Modern Shame

That question is ill-posed. For thousands of years, sex was quite transactional and meant relatively little because there was no widespread recognition of “personhood.” There were masters and slaves, locals and barbarians, elites and peasants, sons of God and heathens or heretics…

Buddhist pragmatism and the secular reconstruction of morality

Image by Sayan Nath, from Unsplash

In so far as Buddhism features the Four Noble Truths, this religious philosophy is essentially pragmatic.

These four truths are (1) that life in samsara is characterized by dukkha, by suffering one disappointment after another; (2) that this suffering is caused by a mental deficiency, namely craving or the emotional attachment to things; (3) that this suffering can end by correcting that deficiency and renouncing what was craved; and (4) that the Noble Eightfold Path is a plan for correcting that inner deficiency.

Notice, then, that there’s no normative force to any of these essential Buddhist teachings. Even the eightfold…

The existential implications of hypnosis.

Image by cottonbro, from Pexels

A man walks up to a young woman on a beach and asks if she’d like to be hypnotized for fun. She gives her consent, so he puts his hand on her shoulder and asks her to focus on his other palm as he goes into a rhythmic verbal patter, a series of instructions to calm her until she’s so relaxed that her head dips down and he supports her weight to keep her standing.

While she’s in that state of deep relaxation, he inputs a command, telling her that when he snaps his fingers, she’ll forget her name. On…

A perfect storm of paranoia, histrionics, militarization, and police humiliation

Image by Lorie Shaull, from Flickr

Even with multiple, unedited police bodycam videos released to the public, the essence of what happened when several police officers killed George Floyd doesn’t seem to be common knowledge. Certainly, the truth isn’t reflected in the politically correct, “woke” version of events drummed up by the corporate media outlets which are sure to show only snippets of the long footage, thus concealing the full picture.

If you asked most Democrats why Floyd died that day, they’d say the ultimate cause was “systemic racism.” That’s an oversimplification, based on unsustainable “postmodern” hyperskepticism and on liberals’ toxic femininity which their culture war…

Benjamin Cain

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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