The shocks of early human history, as discussed by the leads of my novella Philosophy & College Life:

The students went, not quite extracurricularly, to an exhibit of extinct megafauna; — mammoths, giant ground sloths, saber-tooth cats, American camels, six-tusked elephants, giant bison, woolly rhinoceri, gigantopithecines, great auks, aurochs, aullays (Indricotherium/Baluchitherium), unicorns (Elasmotherium), glyptodonts, and more; — in which the guide tried and failed not to persuade her audience that most of their extinctions were the work of reckless human expansionists.

After that, Seymour remarked: ‘The truth is, we’ve already had the Sixth Extinction, or the Anthropocene Extinction, or whatever…


It may seem inexplicable, even incredible to many, that the multitude of American citizens, and an even larger majority in the U.S. Government, refused to observe even the most elementary health-and-safety measures against the coronavirus of 2020–2022, better known as Covid-19, and took instead every opportunity to disobey these measures, until (in 2021) the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was obliged to weaken them, under pressure.

This behavior, as already said, appears at first glance bizarre. The question arises, of Why, after twenty years of adjusting themselves to evermore tiresome security-measures, in the name of self-protection against an imagined danger…


Let the present author preface this review, with the remark that I have no shrift whatever for inconsistent critics who demand ‘complex motivations’ and ‘subtle, realistic bad guys’ in fiction, yet are content with simplistic explanations in fact. Such a double-standard would seem to require greater complexity in fantasy than in reality, and yet is pronounced in the same breath as the oft-repeated and not quite correct assertion, that the mind of a real person must be more complex than that of a figure on the stage.

Such critics can never be content, as long as they demand to see…


The legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, are among the most recognizable of Occidental myths. The very names of Arthur and his Knights, are names to conjure the very type and symbol of heroism and honor, and the last, tragic defence of a forgotten ideal, against a changing world. Arthur’s reign, from their beginnings in the Welsh and Breton traditions, is imagined as a type of Golden Age, in which the isles of Britain prospered, before the sobrer reigns of the Anglo-Saxons: a final sunset of the days of myth, before the isles enter the…


In Dias’ article in the Feb. 2021 edition of Mother Jones magazine (https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/02/the-almost-unbelievable-tortures-of-steven-tendo/), we find the biography of one Steven Tendo; — a sort of male Anastasia; — portrayed as the index-case of an immensely corrupt and unforgiving system of rules governing the admission of refugees. As portrayed by Dias, the immigrations’-courts are known to put the refugees virtually on trial, before a not impartial board of judges: expected, as the journalist says, “to tell their stories consistently, never overlooking details, or volunteering too much information, while still [appearing] unassuming and inoffensive… The way someone sits or stands, how nervous…


Death, we might say, lies heaviest on the living. The dead, as Socrates wisely observes (Apologia), are either wholly unconscious, or sufficiently happy not to regret their deaths; and so, it is the living who must suffer perhaps the greatest sorrow of all, and the chief and source and type of all sorrows: the separation from that which we love.

That such separation is the type and source of all sorrow, is easily demonstrated. The death of a friend or relative; the loss of health, wealth, or status; the failure of some plan; the break-down of a marriage or a…


It is a phrase much despised by historians, and yet quite nearly true, “The origins of this are lost in the mists of Time”; in this case, of Christmas.

As everyone knows, this holiday’s name, at least, commemorates the birthday of a legendary prophet or demi-god, whose followers, many times removed, were instrumental in the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Popular histories of the holiday itself (https://billpetro.com/history-of-christmas-advent/) trace it to the Saturnalia, the original of ‘Satur(n)day’, which celebrated freedom in all its forms; — including the freedom from slavery; it was customary, in rich Roman households, to liberate…


A few years ago, in the effort to discover whether we on Earth are truly alone in the galaxy, NASA recently launched the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS): a probe intended to measure the light of nearby stars, and detect the miniscule variations in that light, which might indicate the ‘transit’ of planets across the disc, and so reveal whether each star has planets at all, and of what size and number. So many pictures are taken, in the course of these findings, the research team offers them to hundreds of volunteers, whose business is to examine every photograph taken…


This day, 28 August 2020, marks the anniversary of the famous ‘March for Jobs & Freedom’, better known as the March on Washington, organized originally by union leader A. Phillip Randolph, but most famous for the speeches given by leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). On this anniversary, in this particular year, new speakers are giving more speeches, and those who can attend it, are rallied at the site of the March, to hear them in person.

To sustain the movement associated with this new ‘Virtual March’, the present author recommends the rally be repeated periodically from now on, to report the progress lately made in the interests of Civil Rights, the obstacles still remaining, and the plans for future improvements.


Western news media take only a token notice of Indian politics; but it would require a great ignorance not to notice an India torn into factions by the rabble-rousing of a nationalist party (mostly called by its acronym of B.J.P.) and its loud-mouthed leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This Modi, by his policy and its execution, merits all the comparisons in the world to figures like Hitler, Johnson, Bolsonaro, Trump, Mussolini, et al., and enjoys support among the most unlikely-looking people. I have relatives myself on both sides of the question.

One of the B.J.P.’s most obvious hypocrisies, is its…

Siddharth Mehrotra

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