Family Court Philosopher:
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This section was my workspace for philosophy essays between July 2006 and April 2008. I call this "Prehistoric Kilroy" because it gave me practice for more disciplined essays in Kilroy Cafe. Also see my philophical blog and Twitter feed.

Random discussions on philosophical and psychological topics that interest the webmaster. These essays may roam far afield of Family Court, but they usually return there. Most monologues are written in about 2-3 hours and can be read in 3 minutes. All should be regarded as "experimental." There have been no new essays here since April 2008. (Glenn's new philosophy essays are now found at Kilroy Cafe.)

    #110: Quality of Consciousness (4/4/08)
    #109: The Meaning of Life (4/3/08)
    #108: Management (3/21/08)
    “Management is the art of compromise under fire.”
    #107: Small Town Blues (3/18/08)
    “The biggest selling point of small towns is that everyone knows their neighbors. The biggest curse is also that everyone knows their neighbors.”
    #106: Self-Deception (3/14/08)
    “When you “trust your heart” you are just as likely to find disaster as happiness.”
    #105: Fakery (3/12/08)
    “Fakery is a natural phenomenon in any social or biological system.”
    #104: The Complainers (3/11/08) — New One-Page Format!
    “Deprived of love in his childhood, the sociopath has an insatiable need for it in adulthood.”
    #103: The Paradox of Protection (3/9/08)
    “Protection comes at a price, to both the protector and the protectee.”
    #102: Chimps vs. Humans: Who's Smarter? (3/8/08)
    “The intellect of our species is clearly impressive, but too often it is used merely to generate complex rationalizations for obedient behavior.”
    #101: The Economics of Freedom (2/7/08)
    “In general, the more money you have in your pocket, the more freedom you have to adapt to the unexpected, but it is not a simple formula.”
    #100: Dysfunctional Families... Like Yours (2/3/08)
    “In one way or another, ALL families are dysfunctional. Even the most enlightened and well-meaning parents are going to impose a non-verbal language on their child which is not entirely within their conscious control and that is not all good.”
    #99: The Fatal Upgrade (1/15/08)
    “No matter what your current pursuit may be, there always seems to be a "next step" that will solve all your problems. What people don't see at the time is that this upgrade is often deadly.”
    #98: The God Problem (1/9/08)
    “I choose to be good not because of any call to authority but simply because it makes sense to me. I have thought through the logical implications of both good and evil acts, and good is more practical.”
    #97: Loneliness (1/8/08)
    “For social animals like us, the worst feeling in the world is to be trapped on a desert island with no one who cares about us, interacts with us and witnesses what we are doing.”
    #96: Connoisseurs (9/9/07)
    “Being "rich"—that is, having plenty of extra resources beyond your basic needs—is seen as a desirable goal in our society, but the disturbing reality for most people is that being rich makes you fat and lazy.”
    Book Draft: The Superhero Handbook (8/25/07 to 10/14/07)
    The first 13 chapters of a proposed book on charitable intervention.
    #95: The Superhero Handbook (trial) (8/25/07)
    “Some days it seems like a superhero can't win. You wake up in the morning with some idealism and hope, but by the end of the day, you're drained. All day long, you're racing around desperately trying to save people, but in the big picture nothing seems to change.”
    #94: The New Slavery (8/30/07)
    “Slavery was supposedly outlawed in the United States a century and a half ago. One person can no longer own another and physically compel them to work for them. However, the experience of slavery continues to this day, and it is likely to touch all of us.”
    Book Draft: The Case Against Marriage (7/11/07 to 8/10/07)
    First draft of a proposed book arguing against marriage.
    #93: A Caseworker's Nightmare (6/10/07)
    “Knowing when to stop is an inherent problem in all forms of generosity and voluntarism. It is one of the reasons why some people don't give anything to anyone at all: Once you start caring about a needy person or cause, it tends to take you over, because the needs will always outstrip your resources.”
    #92: Showdown at Morro Bay (6/3/07)
    “He seemed like the classic pedophile: a middle-aged man with no stable address who had crossed state lines in a rental car with two underage girls.”
    #91: Meet Drama Mama (5/25/07)
    “I was walking on the trail about 20 feet ahead of the girls when suddenly the youngest one, Drama Mama, took off. She headed off the trail and into the thick woods, miffed by something that another girl said.”
    #90: Super Person Saves the Day (5/15/07)
    “I am seen as your standard, All-American, white-bread superhero, more emotionally stable than the rest, which means I am expected to be the leader. What this basically means is that I have to attend more meetings, give more speeches and endure more public flack than anybody else. I am also expected to resolve personnel issues within the team, like the problem with Wonder Gal.”
    #89: The Case Against Marriage - Introduction (5/13/07)
    �In this book, we will explore marriage and relationships and sexual attraction and law and contracts and loneliness and fear. What are people afraid of when they get married? No institution can be all positive; there have to be demons under the surface, and we will try our best to dig them up.�
    #88: The Politics of Pair Bonding (5/12/07)
    �If a princess really is beautiful, in the cultural norm sort of way, then she has plenty of Prince Charmings to choose from. They're knocking on her door. Does she choose the handsomest prince, or the most adventurous one, or the most stable and reliable one? The answer is, she chooses the one who least threatens her own ego.�
    #87: On the Training of Cats and Children (5/10/07)
    �Training children and other humans is a lot like herding cats. They will rarely do what you tell them to. Give them a rule, and they'll find a way to sneak around it. Both humans and cats possess a bastard independence that can make training a nightmare.�
    #86: Moving with Grace through a Desperate World (5/5/07)
    �Beyond the bubble that we live in, the world is not a nice place. Most people on earth live very close to the edge, only a few inches away from starvation, trauma or violent death. Very few are achieving anywhere near their potential. They are wasted by their society and are forced to suffer needlessly for lack of the most basic resources.�
    #85: Socialization (4/28/07)
    �Socialization is the process by which children with unlimited potential are turned into dull, restricted, self-destructive adults. The process is overwhelmingly tragic � a beating into submission of most of the joy and creativity of childhood.�
    #84: The Dilemma of Dependence (4/27/07)
    �Once we become involved in someone's life, they may become dependent on us, and we may feel an emotional sense of obligation to them. This "web of dependence" may make it difficult for us to disengage from them even when the relationship is not the best for ourselves, for them or for the mission we are both pursuing.�
    #83: Play vs. Entertainment (4/24/07)
    �Adults need to play, too! If they are continuing to develop, then they need to experiment with new roles in ways that do not risk punishment. Sadly, most adults have lost this ability.�
    #82: The Death of Free Thought (4/8/07)
    �The relentless goal of modern media, commerce and culture is to keep your brain stimulated at all times, leaving no time for undirected thought.�
    #81: Parental Justice (2/24/07)
    �If a child steals from Wal-Mart, they need to be caught, not for Wal-Mart's benefit but for their own.�
    #80: A Linguistic Analysis of "Fuck" (2/4/07)
    �'Fuck' is one of the most interesting, widely used, useful and useless words in the English language. In some subcultures, it composes pretty much half of the spoken language, being employed as verb, noun, adverb, adjective, interjection and almost an article.�
    #79: Folie � Deux: The Exquisite Madness of the Family (1/31/07)
    �In clinical psychology, folie � deux ("madness of two") refers to a mental illness shared by two or more people with close emotional ties to each other.�
    #78: Get Off the Bus, Gus! (1/30/07)
    �The trouble with buses is that you have to decide on your destination before you start your journey, then you have to put your fate in the hands of the driver.�
    #77: Getting in Touch with Nature (1/28/07)
    �"Nature" is the inherent characteristics and qualities of any object or system, independent of human intent. On one side, there is the way you want things to be, and on the other is the way things actually are. Nature is the latter.�
    #76: Escape from Narcissism (1/27/07)
    �Given that fame is fleeting and that all the attention in the world can't really supply inner satisfaction, ones natural narcissism must be shifted to something else�to some higher form of accomplishment that doesn't require adoration in the end.�
    #75: Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby (1/25/07)
    �Brer Rabbit is pissed now. He thinks the tar baby needs a lesson in manners, so with his right paw, Brer Rabbit hauls back and punches the tar baby squarely in the jaw.�
    #74: Manifesto for the Anti-Marriage Revolution (1/24/07)
    �Ideally, people should contribute to a relationship according to the Communist ideal: "From each according to his ability; to each according to his need." This sounds nice in theory, but it tends to break down in practice.�
    #73: Responsibilities of the Victim (1/21/07)
    �Victimhood is a disease that you have to escape from as quickly as possible. If someone has chopped off two of your arms and one of your legs, then you have to march ahead on your one good leg and make the best of it.�
    #72: Forgiveness (1/20/07)
    �Last night, I forgave a dead woman. It was a no-brainer. She was already dead, so I wasn't going to get very far in the revenge department.�
    #71: In Defense of Inquisition (1/19/07)
    �The sickness of the adversarial system is that all conflicts tend to get polarized into two simplistic choices, while a whole universe of healthier and more creative options has to be ignored.�
    #70: Drug-Induced Personality Change (1/18/07)
    �The drug has a physical hold on the brain, but it is in the nature of the addict to invent a reason for his drug use other than addiction.�
    #69: The Power of Procrastination (1/17/07)
    �Whenever you are facing an important decision, there is enormous pressure to solve the problem right away, just to get it out of the way and to give your life a predictable structure. This is a dangerous seduction, because there is so much you don't know about the future.�
    #68: The Professional Victim (1/15/07)
    �Victimhood has its advantages. It is usually easier to claim or actively create oppression than to accept your own failings.�
    #67: The Value of Money (1/14/07)
    �The most precious commodity is to be able to control your own time and your own mission. Only as a "free agent" can you be the most creative and productive.�
    #66: Primping and Nesting Behavior of the Human Female (1/12/07)
    �Feminine nest-building is directed toward an unfulfillable ideal that is epitomized by the pornographic imagery of Martha Stewart.�
    #65: A Terrible Male Affliction (1/11/07)
    �The male's obsession with sports resembles in many ways his inexplicable interest in pornography. Both are useless, repetitive "watching" behaviors that serve absolutely no function yet seem to fascinate the male to no end.�
    #64: A Valentine Dilemma (1/10/07)
    �Marriages and other romantic relationships are complex systems of energy transfer. A reciprocal partnership of two equals is an admirable goal, but too many relationships evolve into something more like a parasitic binary star system where a black hole sucks the life out of a living star.�
    #63: Detecting Manipulators (1/9/07)
    �If we get seduced by a manipulator and end up doing his will, it is usually because we failed to ask the obvious questions and follow up on the inconsistencies that we knew were there.�
    #62: What is Marriage? (1/6/07)
    �Under the law, marriage is little more than a legal agreement to share economic assets.�
    #61: Expressive Dissonance (1/5/07)
    �People's inner intentions and outer actions are two separate things. Ideally, our words and actions should match our intentions, but making this happen is a complicated skill that does not always come naturally.�
    #60: The Matrix Revealed (1/4/07)
    �In the real world, human lives are wasted on a massive, production scale. Nearly every baby starts out with great promise, but very few adults fulfill it.�
    #59: Wasting Resources (1/2/07)
    �Having extra assets means that you can start doing things because they are meaningful and important, not because they serve a Capitalist agenda. It is a privilege and a sacred trust to be blessed these assets, and they need to be used wisely.�
    #58: Self-Regulation (12/31/06)
    �To be comfortable, you have to be sensitive to your own inner sensations and learn some basic science about what makes you feel good. For the most part, these are things you have to learn on your own, often through bitter experience.�
    #57: When Do Superheros Do Their Laundry? (12/30/06)
    �Being a superhero isn't as glamourous as it sounds. There are too many people who need to be saved and never enough time to do it.�
    #56: Extreme Parenting (12/29/06)
    �There is nowhere to turn, no support system, which is all part of the game. They're trying to push you to see if you'll go mad.�
    #55: How Do You Explain Color to the Colorblind? (12/28/06)
    �How do you explain a healthy romantic relationship to someone who has never seen one? Of course they know what love is�They have seen it on TV.�but this is not the same as a real-life role model.�
    #54: Let's Dis' Christmas (12/27/06)
    �Now that Christmas is over, I can finally speak my mind on the subject. It is a hideous, reprehensible holiday that damages children and serves only the needs of our capitalist economy.�
    #53: An Existential Crisis (12/26/06)
    �An existential crisis is any decision or realization that forces you to examine the very foundations of your existence.�
    #52: High Contrast (12/22/06)
    �High contrast is an essential element not just of photography but of any artform: writing, music, movies, even public speaking. You want to draw the subject out from the background.�
    #51: The Grudge, or, The Male vs. Female Broken Heart Smackdown (12/21/06)
    �In the battlefield of romance, there are two questions that are asked over and over: A: 'Why are men such assholes?' and B: 'Why are women such assholes?'�
    #50: The Volatiles, or, The Chaos of the Common Man (12/20/06)
    �The real problem with these families isn't drugs; it is emotional volatility. Most of the hard-core clients of Family Services are living lives of cyclical self-generated chaos, of which drugs are only one symptom.�
    #49: The Nightmare Planet, or, A Desperate Call to the Pan-Galactic Child Abuse Hotline (12/17/06)
    �Earth is a nightmare planet, and I wouldn't recommend staying here if you have someplace else to go.�
    #48: The Primal Conflict (12/16/06)
    �Life is full of challenges, frustrations and disappointments. There is one main conflict, however, that is the root of them all.�
    #47: Understanding Consciousness (12/15/06)
    �Certain aspects of consciousness will always be a mystery.... However, the contents of consciousness can be quite decipherable.�
    #46: The Problem of Dependence (12/13/06)
    �Whatever it is you give, the system tends to adjust to it and expects you to keep giving. Soon, the system is dependent on you; your total returns start decreasing, and you become trapped into giving indefinitely.�
    #45: Being of Two Minds (12/12/06)
    �People hate ambiguity because it causes anxiety. If you don't know if you have made the right choices, then you wake up every day wondering, 'Should I be doing this?'�
    #44: Existential Enlightenment (12/11/06)
    �Each of us is an alien. We arrived on this earth alone and were inserted into unfamiliar bodies. Then we were abandoned here to figure things out on our own.�
    #43: Wormhole Philosophy (12/10/06)
    �It is good to have goals�a general direction you are moving in. On the other hand, you don't want to be too rigid in your goals or in your plans for getting there, or you may overlook unexpected opportunities along the way.�
    #42: The New Spartan Warrior (12/9/06)
    "In ancient Greece, economy was represented by the warriors of Sparta, who lived only to fight. Each of them, it is said, owned nothing but his sword. Let us hope for the sake of decency that he also owned a loincloth."
    #41: Stupid Should Hurt (12/8/06)
    "Stupid happens when we fail to distinguish between facts and feelings. The real-world gives us one thing, but we insist on seeing something else, consistent with our inner needs and wishes."
    #40: Playing God (12/6/06)
    "Being a god conveys an outward image of strength, but what you feel inside may be quite the opposite: humility, weakness, self-doubt and fear."
    #39: Theory and Reality (12/5/06)
    "The fact is, reality doesn't give a damn about us. It is going to do what it is set up to do, without regard to our feelings."
    #38: Evil Explained (12/4/06)
    "It is not a substance, an action or an outcome, but a frame of mind."
    #37: Beyond the Prime Directive (12/2/06)
    "Effective intervention has to be cautious, thoughtful, discreet and limited. You shouldn't dash in like a white knight rescuing maidens in distress, because you don't know how difficult those maidens can be when you actually have them in your arms."
    #36: Calcification (12/1/06)
    "Everyone wants to be rich, happy, comfortable and free of pain, but once you achieve this blissful state, a disturbing thing happens: you start collecting possessions, activities and commitments that you don't really need."
    #35: Capitalism Sucks (11/28/06)
    "Capitalist propaganda assures that none of us, no matter how much money we make, will ever truly be happy."
    #34: How to Change the World... Your Way (11/27/06)
    "Getting the most from your resource is more than just giving, you also have to be smart about how you give, and smart takes time and doesn't always move in a straight line."
    Newsletter: ONE TINY MOMENT (11/27/06)
    "In an instant, everything can change."
    #33: The Nature of Desire (11/26/06)
    "Once you achieve all the things you desired, you inevitably find that they don't live up to your fantasies."
    #32: Personality and Romance (11/25/06)
    "No romantic relationship can possibly live up to the unrealistic expectations that most people lay on it."
    #31: A Fork in the Road (11/24/06)
    "Life is a series of forks in the road. At each junction, you have to take one path or the other, and the whole rest of your life can be permanently altered by this choice."
    #30: One Tiny Moment (11/23/06)
    "A lot of things can happen to you in an instant that you can't recover from and that don't offer the convenience of death."
    #29: Why Do People Do What They Do? (11/22/06)
    "From early childhood, humans are shameful, insecure little creatures who are always fighting the spectre of worthlessness. Human behavior can be largely explained as a reaction to this internal shame."
    #28: The End of Rumination (11/18/06)
    "In the modern world, people are always moving, moving, moving. They are rarely thinking about the practical and philosophical implications of what they do."
    #27: I'm Drowning, Don't Save Me! (11/16/06)
    "Underneath the veneer of civilized society, people are desperate. They want to be loved, but as soon as they are, they panic and want to be free."
    #26: Freedom... Burning a Hole in your Pocket (11/15/06)
    "We all claim to want freedom in the abstract, but when it actually happens to us, we'll do everything in our power to make it go away."
    #25: A Conundrum of Affection (11/14/06)
    "The human need for affection is so huge that it can easily create a panic that blocks relationships before they start or sabotages them later."

    Between mid-October and mid-November, I took a breather on the philosophy section. Starting Nov. 14, I started writing almost every morning, as if possessed.

    Newsletter: LAWYERS CAN BE SAVED (10/30/06)
    #24: The Futility of Law (10/10/06)
    #23.5: BAN GAY MARRIAGE (newsletter, 10/9/06)
    #23: The Manipulator (10/7/06)
    #22: Four Kinds of Crime (10/4/06)
    #21: Triage (9/26/06)
    #20: The Investment Effect (9/19/06)
    #19: Data Obesity (9/17/06)
    #18: The Weird Calculus of Self-Reward (9/15/06)
    #17: The Tyranny of Leisure (9/12/06)
    #16: Evil Defined (9/8/06)
    #15: Amateur Photographer: Artist or Lech? (9/7/06)
    #14: Metaphorical Expression (9/6/06)
    #13: The Problems of Attachment (8/30/06)
    #12: The Trauma of the Family Court Guy (8/27/06)
    #11: The Buffet Dilemma (8/26/06)
    #10: A Personal Breast Revelation (8/25/06)
    #9: A Meditation on Breasts (8/24/06)
    #8: The Alien Metaphor (8/23/06)
    #7: Where do Judges Come From? (8/22/06)
    #6: Paranoia and Its Uses (8/19/06)
    #5: Practical Tips from a Homeless Dude (8/19/06)
    #4: The Virtues of Homelessness (8/6/06)
    #3: Natural Morality (8/5/06)
    #2: The Problems of Mentoring? (8/3/06)
    #1: What is Borderline Disorder? (7/24/06)
    Earlier philosophical essays are found in the Glossary

How I Write These Articles

Most of these essays are written first thing in the morning when I wake up, usually starting between 4 and 5 am. By 8 or 9, I usually have a complete essay. I may change a few words and sentences over the next couple of days, but for the most part the essay is completed in a single draft. I think of it like doing a live radio program.

Since Nov. 14, I have been on a roll. When I go to sleep at night (in the back seat of my rental car), I have no idea what I will write about in the morning, but I know I will have a great idea. It is like Christmas Eve, wondering what Santa will bring! When I am just starting to wake up, the idea comes to me (not always a philosophy essay), and I start writing immediately. (I may reach over and start the car's engine to warm things up.) Most of these ideas are ones that I have been thinking about for years, so it is just a matter of getting them out in words.


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