Of all the rites of spring, commencement exercises are among the best. I have an aisle seat for this glorious graduation ceremony, joining hundreds of families and friends, kids dressed too well for their comfort, flower bouquets ready for joyous presentation. The music swells and the procession begins. Banners emblazoned with heraldic symbols and Latin […]
AI Is Here. How Can I Know What’s Real?
The headlines these days are splashed with scary stories of AI and the end of reality. Soon, the experts warn, no one will be able to tell what images or videos are real and what is generated by an all-knowing machine. The AI threat is merely the latest, most intense form of unreality to wash […]
When Memory Becomes Our Master
Nobel winning psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman tells this story. A man is listening to a symphony, and it’s glorious. Three movements that build toward a brilliant climax. And then, just as the symphony is ending there is a horrid screeching sound. “It ruined the whole thing,” the man says. “Wiped out the whole experience.” […]
Why Am I My Own Worst Judge?
Some years ago, the Dove soap company created a video. At the time, a woman sent me the link because it seemed a profound demonstration of self-judgment. The video shows a forensic sketch artist, asked to draw a series of women based solely on their descriptions. Seated at a drafting table with his back to […]
What Are You Running Away From?
On July 13, 1798, William Wordsworth returned to a specific place along the banks of the Wye River that flows through England and Wales. He sits above the murmuring waters, leaning against a dark sycamore tree. Years have passed and now he sees again the orchard trees, the steep and lofty cliffs, the wreaths of […]
What Are You Chasing?
Renowned preacher and storyteller Fred Craddock swears this happened to him: He was visiting in the home of one of his former students after graduation, and after a great dinner, the young parents excused themselves and hustled the kids off to bed, leaving Fred in the living room with the family pet—a large, sleek greyhound. […]
In a Stressed-Out World, How Do I Deal With My Anger?
A man is having an enjoyable boat ride down the river. It is dusk. The man looks up to see another boat coming toward him. His first thought is how nice that someone else is out enjoying the river. Then he realizes the boat speeding, in fact it’s coming straight at him. Faster and faster […]
The Yellow Falling Leaf
Question One: What more did I think I wanted? We don’t think of Ash Wednesday as a time to reflect on happiness. Isn’t it about sackcloth and guilt? But Ash Wednesday is set apart simply as a day to ponder this one fact: We came from dust, and we return to dust. When we accept […]