I write from my disparate obsessions and don’t expect much of anyone to actually find all (if any) of it interesting.

Hence, a tool to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Tribes — our evolutionary heritage will save us or sink us
Free Will and Consciousness — thoughts & tirades
Personal Growth Etc. — individual & archetypal
Story of Story — a lifelong obsession
Emotional Truths / Political Lies — wtf is going on
Amalgamated Amalgamations: Strengthen the Tribe, Build Bridges (a collaborative exploration)
Random — science, mathematical modeling, privacy, etc


We’re going to need a bigger boat.

Love and Hate

We are hard-wired for deep empathy with our ‘brothers and sisters’…even brothers and sisters well outside narrow family connections.

We are hard-wired to hate and even kill anyone we feel threatens us and our people. Empathy freezes. Antipathy switches on.

The same neurotransmitter, oxytocin, is likely central to both reactions.

Robert Sapolsky, primatologist and neuroendocrinologist, lays it out very clearly here. I highly suggest watching it. Jump to 4:30 if you must but the whole video is, imho, essential for anyone trying to understand the play of instincts that shape contemporary politics.

link…


How can people be so stupid? I hear that question all the time. Well, how did we get so stupid? It wasn’t easy.

PRRI: Crazy Like a Fox

Image from Baptist News Global, screengrab from Fox

I try to maintain a varied information diet. This study from Baptist News Global raised my antennae: “From religion to immigration to COVID, Fox News creates divisions even among Republicans

Baptist News was reporting on a study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a Pew-like research institute founded in 2009 and dedicated to illuminating “important cultural and religious dynamics shaping American society and politics.”

What was remarkable in their findings was not the distance between Fox viewers’ picture of reality and that of average American’s but the wide distance between “Fox News Republicans” and other Republicans!

In a study…


We rely daily on science and its models to guide everything from what we eat, to the medicines we take, to the construction of the machines we use to get to work and back.

But are the models 100% certain? Are they True with a capital T?

That question misunderstands how science works.

  • There are all sorts of stories about how the world works.
  • If your story is going to be Science, you need to be able to use it to generate bets.
  • The bets need to be bets you can settle using something observable.
  • The outcome has to be…


…Ray Charles was shot down / But he got up…
-Van Morrison

What family stories do your kids know?
What stories do you remember from your grandparents?
Which grandparent stories do you think your grandchildren should know?

These are important questions simply because knowing the family narrative is a key to resilience in children and young adults…and likely all of us.

…researchers at Emory did a study that showed that the kids who know more about their family history had a greater belief that they could control their world and a higher degree of self-confidence. It was the number one…


Bliss, Disquiet, Enlightenment, and False Satoris

Image from Wikimedia

The apparent religiosity of James and Jung can obscure their fundamental scientific rigor.
-J. Allan Hobson, The Dreaming Brain

Life is not a matter of holding good cards but of playing a poor hand well.
- Robert Lewis Stevenson

This article started as a section in a story looking at the paradoxes of tribalism. I wanted to say all of the below in a few paragraphs.

Then it careened completely out of control.

The big italicized text aren’t quotations but part of the text…a running tl/dr as it were.

I suggest scanning quickly down…


Science and Religion. You can apply one, the other, or both to guide action. But as views of the universe, they contradict.

Someone created the universe. Or Someone didn’t.

How to resolve the contradiction?

I don’t.

Science and Religion. You can apply one, the other, or both to guide action. But as views of the universe, they contradict.

The metaphor I use to think about this is as follows:

  • There is a house on the beach of a jungle island.
  • The house is large and rectangular.
  • Two sides are parallel to the waterline with floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
  • The view toward…


Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash

Over the past few months, I’ve added a fairly rigorous discussion of Free Will and a two-part rant on Consciousness to Medium. During the process, I made a point of reading what others had posted on the topics, adding Claps and trading comments with a variety of interesting folks.

I did notice a certain muddiness in some of the discussions...not surprising when words like Free and Consciousness are involved.

Asking questions of other writers and, even more so, being asked questions led me to isolate a series of ‘pivot point questions’ that seem to distinguish the different stances. …


I’m interested in the stories you choose to tell to friends and family because, without understanding why exactly, they feel important.

There’s a lot of focus on stories now. Ads or pitches must tell a story…or so the story goes.

I’m uninterested in the story Pepsi tells you or in learning how to craft such stories.

I am interested in the stories that your grandmother told you.

I’m interested in the stories you choose to tell to friends and family because, without understanding exactly why, they feel important.

This is the first in a series of posts that aim to…

Alan Tabor

Berkeley Backpacking Biz Lifer, System Builder, Coder, Community Organizer, Music and Evolutionary Biology Geek. Sign up and my projects at http://altabor.org/

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