Put to the test

Artwork by Mark Palfreyman.

One of the easiest and sincerest ways of flattering hosts is to observe that they’re a proud people. And the wellspring, the essence of that pride, be it in nation, region, religion, sports club or street gang, is that almost every human grouping thinks it’s the best. In-group identity naturally comes with an encoded sense of self-esteem. You take pride in your group, and you therefore want to believe it’s better than the others. Continue reading

Death and Resurrection

Artwork by Mark Palfreyman

For Christians (and some non-believers looking for calendar-based motivation), the buildup to Easter is a time of 40 days fasting, prayer, and penance. One of the more ironic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic is that most of the globe has been forced into a similar 40 days-or-more Lenten period of physical isolation and the deprivation of many societal comforts. This is penance, 21st century style, although the vast majority of those doing penance have nothing to repent. The punishment, such as it is, has been imposed by our governments. Continue reading