moment pattern particle wave

Moment. When we zoom in and focus on a single person’s life, it appears to us as a series of discrete moments. Each person is born. She encounters her childhood, learning from each experience. He moves through adolescence, developing his sense of independence and individuality. They grow into adulthood, perhaps having children of their own.…

Patriotism

Americans are not uniquely patriotic, but many of us express the patriotism common to citizens of empires throughout history. This patriotism equates happiness with military and economic might. This patriotism unironically claims that ours is the best country, not just in the modern world, but in the history of the world. This patriotism is about…

Autumn

After the year consumes the frenetic energy of its youth, Dances through the sultry encounters of its maturity, It is left to ponder. The young that it has borne slowly emerge into their own, And it may wonder what remains of and for itself. What is left to taste? It may consider what has been…

What is hate speech?

What is hate speech? TikTok defines it as "a statement that attacks or incites violence against an individual or group of individuals on the basis of protected attributes." Other social media platforms say much the same. I think of hate speech as statements that are directed at people who our society tries to push to…

We can heal…if we reach for one another.

Our American society has developed a commitment to the primacy of the individual human actor. We valorize the man who -- we imagine -- goes it alone, setting out on his own to make his fortune, whether on the Western prairie or in the urban marketplace. Our national mythology celebrates the Founding Father, the cowboy,…

A real chance to address the climate crisis

This fall, for the first time in a decade, our government has a real chance to take action and address the climate crisis. But our chance is a narrow one. To understand the nature of this moment, it could be helpful to trace how we have learned about this crisis over the past 30 years…

The real learning loss

This essay was also published in the Oak Park newspaper Wednesday Journal.  Every year, parents, educators, and community members worry about “summer learning loss”. During the pandemic, these worries have taken on new dimensions: what can we do about all the knowledge and skills that students have supposedly lost over the past year and a…

What to a white man is Juneteenth?

Carl Schwarz woke up on June 19, 1865 facing another day of hard work on his farm. He had recently established himself in the town of Lebanon, Wisconsin and lived there with his wife Martha and six children, ranging in age from 1 to 11 years old. He owned 40 acres of arable land and…

Collective liberation

My 5th-grade teacher had given us a writing assignment, and apparently she didn’t like what she saw. She believed that we would learn the most from this assignment if she gave us a practical example, so she photocopied my classmate’s work, passed it out to all of us, and asked us to correct the numerous…

Unmaking this world

This piece was also published in the Oak Park newspaper Wednesday Journal.  This world will be unmade. Will it be by the creep of increasing vapors altering the chemistry of our atmosphere and oceans? By the waters and winds of a weather cataclysm? By the scorching inferno of an unstoppable fire? By the armed conflict…