The Skin of the World

Photographer: David Clode | Source: Unsplash I am taking a step back from writing about contentious topics — authoritarian politics, climate change, approaching extinction and animal rights. Not for ever, but for a few weeks. It feels like every conversation about those topics…

Navigating Higher Education

Note: this is the first post in a series that looks at how higher education needs to change in response to the wicked problems we face in the 21st century. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash I think a lot about my…

Many Mes

Photographer: Andrew Seaman | Source: Unsplash MeMe and YouMe The Buddha, peace be unto him, is famous for declaring there’s no self. Strictly speaking, he denied the existence of an abiding, permanent self, especially the metaphysical Atman of Brahmanical Hinduism. We are…

Subversive Intelligence

Photographer: James Lee | Source: Unsplash If you read or watch any mainstream media source that deals with facts instead of imaginary threats, you will notice the constant invocation of two civilizational threats: automation and climate change. This is mainstream media…

The Great Unsettling

Introduction I have written a few hundred essays over the last five years, with a year and a half in the middle being devoted to a single text, the Mahabharata. I might start the Jayary again this fall, prompted…

Startup Thinking

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash Startup Thinking I have a firm leg in the doom and gloom camp. My friends alternate between sending images of the burning Amazon and pictures of Amazon — the company, not the lungs of the planet — replacing all…

The Failing State

Photographer: Jason Leung | Source: Unsplash The nation state is the most successful and important social institution in the world. Anything larger — the EU for example — tends to be a technocratic exercise without emotional pull. Anything smaller lives at the mercy of the…

Money can’t buy me love

Photographer: Fabian Blank | Source: Unsplash Man is the measure of all things. So sayeth Protagoras, ancient scientist. If you’re the religious kind you might condemn Protagoras for idolatry, for only God has the measure of all things. Or if you’re…

Introducing the Animal Left

Every year about a hundred billion animals are slaughtered for human consumption. Closer to home, India has become a major exporter of beef, mutton, poultry, and dairy by-products, despite political posturing about the welfare of animals. These animals are often…

The Great Game 2.0

Photographer: Anagha Varrier | Source: Unsplash After the recent actions in Kashmir, I have read numerous comparisons between India and Israel, of turning Kashmir into Gaza. Not surprising, since both the Indian and the international left have historical sympathies with the…