Here I indulge in much creative and analytical speculation. Below are various blog comments and more formal essays related to matters of interest to me as a philosopher and an artist. Use the Back button from one of the essays (or blog entries) to return here.

The Overarching Theme

The underlying theme behind these thoughts is a desire to understand how the things we love and value like art, love, emotional expression, etc. are related to mind and matter. There is some interest, as well, in understanding some of the "practical" areas of philosophy, such as ethics and politics, which attempt to formulate how individuals ought to live and societies ought to be organized.

Religion, Mysticism, Metaphysics, and Materialism

Understanding the fundamental nature of existence, reality, and the Universe is the fundamental problem of metaphysics. Materialism is an attempt to understand the Universe with a world-view that considers all phenomena, including life, consciousness, mind, and "spiritual phenomena" as being based fundamentally on the structure and behavior of matter. Generally speaking, by contrast, mysticism is a world-view which tends to explain the Universe in terms of mind or spirit, such that matter is emergent from mind. (This position is also called (philosophical) idealism.) Religion is, generally speaking, a set of behaviors or practices which are organized around a mystic world-view.

The "root question," if you will, at the heart of these essays is this: "What is the relationship of mind to matter?" I have been for most of my life firmly in the materialist camp, but at this point I am becoming more agnostic. Neither materialism, nor idealism, it seems to me, can refute the opposing position. In fact, there are "third options"; as Spinoza might have suggested, mind and matter may both be emergent from the same primal "substance." This position, sometimes called "neutral monism," actually could look either like materialism or idealism in terms of the phenomena observed, so which position is "correct" seems hard to pin down, perhaps impossible even. At this stage, I favor this "neutral monism" stance because it is more flexible. However, on most practical occasions, the world seems to me to behave according to how a materialist thinks it ought to. However, it may be the case that there are occasions when the world violates materialist expectations--for example if psychic phenomena are real. (This would need to be empirically verified, however, and I cannot claim myself to have experienced these phenomena to a point where I am convinced strict materialism is falsified.)

A "Neuropsyche" Materialist Model For the Mind/Body Problem (blog entry explaining my "best effort" materialist model)

My Revised Appraisal of Strict Materialism (blog entry explaining how my relationship towards materialism is presently evolving)

Why I'm an Atheist (blog entry explaining my attitude towards religion: especially, theistic religions like Christianity)

The Horrors of Deuteronomy (blog entry showing a (fairly typical) passage of that relic of 500 B.C. Ancient Near East temple-religion, the Old Testament)

My Love/Hate Relationship with Mysticism (a rather confessional blog entry on why religion and mysticism both bug the hell out of me and are enticing)

Mysticism: Analysis and Appraisal (last revised 5/9/2002; needs extensive revision)


This essay analyzes the mental phenomenon of mysticism in detail, speculating on both its epistemological and historical origins. Both the errors and positive contributions of mysticism are discussed, as well as some speculations on why mysticism and mystical beliefs continue to have a significant influence in modern life and art. In the process of this inquiry, some epistemological ideas are reviewed and/or developed which may be of useful explanatory power in the larger topic of epistemology.

The Problem of Rediscovering the Sacred in "Dead Matter"

Objective Lenses (blog entry suggesting that there are times to don dissecting objective lenses and times to reach out with a synthesizing, appreciative esthetic / poetic eye instead)

Lessons of Joseph Campbell's Masks of God (blog entry giving an overview of The Masks of God and suggesting some "take-home" lessons)

Consciousness and Matter (aka the Mind / Body Problem)

The Problem of Death, Anesthesia, and Teleportation (blog entry discussing the problem of continuity of consciousness in the face of death, anesthesia, or even hypothetical teleportation)


Creativity, Positive, and Negative Feelings (blog entry discussing the relationship of creativity to positive and negative feelings: suggests that artistic creativity is often a coping mechanism for dealing with dissatisfaction with reality)

Art and the Artist: Some Fundamental Questions of Esthetics (last revised 5/27/2002)


This essay is an introductory inquiry into esthetics, the branch of philosophy dealing with art and beauty. First, esthetics, art, and beauty are defined. The essay then speculates both on the purposes of art and the reasons artists are driven to create it. Some criteria for the evaluation of art are proposed, and certain methods in art are criticized. Finally, the great dilemma art now faces-the difficulty of finding uncharted territory-is discussed as well as some speculations on art's future.

Politics and Economics

Automation and Structural Unemployment: What's Wrong and What Might Be Done? (blog entry discussing the problem of how automation is likely to lead to long-term unemployment, and suggestions of a possible space of solutions)

Fractional Reserve Banking: How Banks Loan Out More Money Than They Have (blog entry discussing fractional reserve banking and what's wrong with it)