CoreSpirit
At a Time of Zealotry, Spinoza Matters More than EverAt a Time of Zealotry, Spinoza Matters More than Ever

In July 1656, the 23-year-old Bento de Spinoza was excommunicated from the Portuguese-Jewish congregation of Amsterdam. It was the harshest punishment of herem (ban) ever issued by that community. The extant document, a lengthy and vitriolic diatribe, refers to the young man’s ‘abominable heresies’ and ‘monstrous deeds’. The leaders of the community, having consulted with the rabbis and using Spinoza’s Hebrew name, proclaim that they hereby ‘expel, excommunicate, curse, and damn Baruch de

Joshua Phillips

June 16


  • We Have Virtual Reality. What’s Next is Straight Out of ‘The Matrix’

    In 1999, The Matrix introduced your neighbor, your dad, and pretty much every hacky-sacking college kid in the country to the idea that the real world around us … might not be so real.In the film, our trenchcoated protagonist Neo discovers that the world as he knows it is only an illusion, piped into his brain while his body sits submerged in a gooey chemical broth. Trippy. The idea that we are not really here at all — that life is just an illusion – is as old as Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

    Dana Kreuzberg

    March 25

    We Have Virtual Reality. What’s Next is Straight Out of ‘The Matrix’
  • What Neopagans Believe

    Thou Art God/dessNeopagans believe that divinity is both immanent (internal) and transcendent (external), with immanence being far more important for people to pay attention to right now. This principle of immanence is frequently phrased as, “Thou art God” or “Thou art Goddess.” (The former phrase was taken originally from Robert Heinlein’s classic novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, and the Neopagan organization it inspired, the Church of All Worlds.) Deities can manifest at any point in space

    Dana Kreuzberg

    March 20

    What Neopagans Believe
  • Humanity MKII: Why The Future of Humanity will be as Purposeless as the Past

    The next great stage of our evolution has begun. But what will our successes look like – and will they be that different to us?“In the 21st century,” Yuval Noah Harari writes, “the next big project of humankind will be to acquire for us the divine powers of creation and destruction, and upgrade Homo sapiens into Homo deus.” According to the bestselling Israeli historian, humankind will turn itself into God by using three new types of engineering. Bio-engineers will “take the old sapiens body

    Dana Kreuzberg

    February 02

    Humanity MKII: Why The Future of Humanity will be as Purposeless as the Past
  • Forget Survival of the Fittest: It Is Kindness That Counts

    A psychologist probes how altruism, Darwinism and neurobiology mean that we can succeed by not being cutthroat.Why do people do good things? Is kindness hard-wired into the brain, or does this tendency arise via experience? Or is goodness some combination of nature and nurture? Dacher Keltner, director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory, investigates these questions from multiple angles, and often generates results that are both surprising and challenging. In his new book, Born to Be

    Dana Kreuzberg

    February 01

    Forget Survival of the Fittest: It Is Kindness That Counts
  • Emptiness: The Most Misunderstood Word in Buddhism

    “Emptiness” is a central teaching of all Buddhism, but its true meaning is often misunderstood. If we are ever to embrace Buddhism properly into the West, we need to be clear about emptiness, since a wrong understanding of its meaning can be confusing, even harmful. The third century Indian Buddhist master Nagarjuna taught, “Emptiness wrongly grasped is like picking up a poisonous snake by the wrong end.” In other words, we will be bitten!Emptiness is not complete nothingness; it doesn’t mean

    Melody Greene

    January 09

    Emptiness: The Most Misunderstood Word in Buddhism
  • The Reign of Recycling

    If you live in the United States, you probably do some form of recycling. It’s likely that you separate paper from plastic and glass and metal. You rinse the bottles and cans, and you might put food scraps in a container destined for a composting facility. As you sort everything into the right bins, you probably assume that recycling is helping your community and protecting the environment. But is it? Are you in fact wasting your time?In 1996, I wrote a long article for The New York Times

    Blanche Wise

    November 20

    The Reign of Recycling