I loved this, as it happens that in the essay I am working on, I wrote about four great inventions that have shaped the course of humanity.

The first invention was language. It allowed the forebrain to construct an understanding of reality that transcended the senses. The wisdom gained was limited by the capacity of a single brain, and had to be passed on orally.

The second invention was writing. The totality of knowledge was no longer limited to being memorized.

The third invention was the printing press. No longer were those ideas the province of an elite few. …

Two hands just touching fingertips
Two hands just touching fingertips

The political divide is incomprehensible to people across the spectrum. Instead of presenting the arguments of both sides, let me suggest a different division that will clarify your reasons for opposition.

I’m going to divide people into two groups: those who think we can all work together, and those who think that is impractical. I’ll call these attitudes one-world and multi-world.

The first thing to notice is that if you believe in one world, you have to accept that your group includes multi-world people who don’t believe in your ideals. Weird, huh? You can’t throw them out because that just…

Milk wagon
Milk wagon

In childhood London, a horse-drawn wagon delivered milk each day in glass bottles with the cream risen to the top in a visible layer. Sparrows had learned to peck through the foil caps and gorge on the prize.

Shadow of lantern on wall
Shadow of lantern on wall

Why do we believe what we believe, and how is it possible that we differ so much?

The simplest kind of belief is something that we experience directly: this flower is yellow; I have ten toes; there is a corner shop at the end of the street.

Over millions of years, life in its various forms started to draw inferences from the senses, firstly using emotions, and later, using the forebrain. For example, the crack of a dry twig might create an emotional inference that you’re being hunted. …

Street demonstration
Street demonstration

The right-wing populist movements here and in the UK are driven by anger. They justify disruption of the present system because it is seen as not working for people. They do not respect law and tradition when they stand in the way of their goals. The end justifies the means.

I never thought I would find myself on the side of tradition, convention, law and order. I feel as if I am in a mirror world where the conservatives are the rebels in the streets and I am the defender of the status quo. Fifty years ago it was the…

Years ago, I thought I was going to die. The streets were dark and slick with rain. I was getting a ride back from a weekend encounter group where all our emotions had been laid bare, and the driver and the other passenger entered into such a screaming match over politics I thought a car crash was inevitable.

Why are political discussions so intense? Something has to generate all that political energy and cause the two sides to differ on issue after issue.

Emotions, not logic, rule politics

It is our emotions that choose which position we hold. It may not be obvious that they…

Phil Mayes

Phil Mayes writes about relationships, programs in Python, and foretells the future.

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