From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about hypothetical faster-than-light particles. For quantum fields with imaginary mass, see Tachyonic field. For other uses, see Tachyon (disambiguation).

ClassificationElementary particle

tachyon (/ˈtækiɒn/) or tachyonic particle is a hypothetical particle that always travels faster than light. Physicists believe that faster-than-light particles cannot exist because they are inconsistent with the known laws of physics.[1][2] If such particles did exist they could be used to send signals faster than light. According to the theory of relativity this would violate causality, leading to logical paradoxes such as the grandfather paradox.[1] Tachyons would exhibit the unusual property of increasing in speed as their energy decreases, and would require infinite energy to slow down to the speed of light. No verifiable experimental evidence for the existence of such particles has been found.

In the 1967 paper that coined the term, Gerald Feinberg proposed that tachyonic particles could be made from excitations of a quantum field with imaginary mass.[3] However, it was soon realized that Feinberg’s model did not in fact allow for superluminal (faster-than-light) particles or signals and that tachyonic fields merely give rise to instabilities, not causality violations.[4] The term tachyonic field refers to imaginary mass fields rather than to faster-than-light particles.[2][5]

The term comes from the Greekταχύtachy, meaning swift. The complementary particle types are called luxons (which always move at the speed of light) and bradyons (which always move slower than light); both of these particle types are known to exist.

More at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachyon

Che Guevara and Christ: Rebels in the forest of identity

the mask upon our engine of desire

Brenden Weber

Brenden Weber

Published in A Philosopher’s Stone

Nov 22 (Medium.com)

“I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way to insuring one’s immortality.” — James Joyce

We are creative machines, engines of desire in our purest state, so what will we do in this life with our urge for production?

We create our own realm of images for the world to explore, our own puzzles, our own formulations of our psyches for the external world to explore. And in that external world lies a realm of subjects that can take your creation into new formulations.

These masks become the symbolized and self-created identities that serve as a means for self-expression and a method of navigating the social and cultural landscapes we inhabit.

We ourselves are forms of artistic expression. Our identities become creations that are multifaceted and often contain elements that are, whether deliberate or not, obscure and ambiguous.

“Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest. But what does he do if there is no forest? He grows a forest to hide it in.” — Father Brown

But what about the context and environment in relation to identity?

We have the illusionary object of ourselves deep within us.

Should we be surprised by this?

We hide from difficulties in our lives, everywhere, all the time. What about those difficult subjects that you are afraid to bring up with family and friends? “Let people believe what they like!” Blasphemy.

Your mask is under the constant interplay with everyone around you. You become the creation you see in the world. By sitting idle upon beliefs you find problematic, those beliefs become part of you, they become part of the mask you put out into the external realm of images.

We embed ourselves and become embedded within certain social or cultural groups where our identities feel less conspicuous. Collective identities, much like our individual ones, continually come into a process of being created and uncreated in various forms.

Your understanding of what falls under the identity of a rebel changes.

Your understanding of what constitutes the stereotype of a Capitalist changes.

Your understanding of the identity of a religious zealot changes.

The mask of the symbol attempts to create a form of cohesion, yet the complexity of the object takes on new and nuanced forms, constantly, and much remains hidden.

The masks we find ourselves in become our frame of reference and the toolkit for engagement with the world.

These masks become puzzles of meaning and necessitate interpretation. This is the only way we come into those moments of understanding.

In essence, these identities become a medium through which individuals communicate with the world, assert their presence, and etch their legacy in the collective consciousness of their social milieu.

If you wish to change the flowing mask of a sect within a collective mask held by a society, it begins with confronting your own mask, and then being willing to confront the individual masks of others that formulate the various collective wills around us.

We are all creative forces in this world.

“This is the way Christ brings freedom: when confronting him, we become aware of our own freedom. And does not, mutatis mutandis, the same hold for Che Guevara? The photos showing him under arrest in Bolivia, surrounded by government soldiers, have a weird Christological aura, as if we see a tired but defiant Christ on his way to crucifixion — no wonder that, when, moments prior to his death, the executioner’s pistol already aimed at him, the hand holding it trembling, Guevara looked at him and said: “Aim well. You are about to kill a man”…

And, indeed, is the basic message of Guevara not precisely this: the message of how, in and through all his failures, he persisted, he went on?…

In an unsurpassable irony of history, after the triumph of the Cuban revolution, everything he did was a failure — the dismal failure of his economic policies as the Cuban minister of economy (after a year, food had to be rationed…), the failure of his Congo adventure, the failure of his last mission in Bolivia; however, all these “human, all too human” failures somehow fade into the background, the backdrop against which the contours of his properly over-human (or, why not, inhuman) figure appear, confirming Badiou’s motto that the only way to be truly human is to exceed ordinary humanity, tending towards the dimension of the inhuman.” — Slavoj Zizek

Che Guevara is an example of a certain figure who, through their actions and the narratives constructed around them, along with their own mask, become more than just individuals — they transform into symbols that embody specific ideals, values, desires, and creation.

For better or worse, they become their own apparatus of change. Guevara’s identity, particularly in the face of failure, became a mask not just of a man but of the enduring spirit of resistance and the pursuit of ideals beyond personal success or gain.

We all hold identities, with the masks we wear, and they are layered with meanings and symbols that extend far beyond our immediate personhood. We become the change in the world, even if we wish otherwise.

You cannot avoid this fate; it’s as certain as death itself.

The external becomes you because the external realm of symbols becomes your desire, and you are desire.

Your mask becomes immortalized, not just through your actions, but through the myriad interpretations and significances ascribed to you by others. And this is done to you unconsciously by everyone around you.

You can only begin making the unconscious, conscious; and that beginning has no end.

Figures like Guevara find themselves within environments or contexts that amplify the impact of their identities. His identity as a revolutionary leader wasn’t just a product of his actions but also of the socio-political ‘forest’ that existed and that he helped cultivate.

He embraced his mask!

Even when the mask did wrong!

The rebel can never be content.

This ‘forest’ — the larger context of revolutionary struggle and ideology — both concealed and accentuated his identity, turning his personal narrative into a collective symbol.

These masks become part of a larger dialogue — between the individual and society, between the person and history. These masks, imbued with layers of meaning and symbolism, often encapsulate not just individual personas but collective hopes, fears, ideals, and struggles.

It’s essence all the way down! The center of the maze is empty, yet the center creates a new maze.

The mask becomes the tool that expresses a sense of your own inner desire. The expression that comes from the subject.

And the subject itself is a lie!

Stay curious.

For my personal and dream-based letter, join here🙂

Brenden Weber

Written by Brenden Weber

·Editor for A Philosopher’s Stone

Chaotically curious and tragically confused…welcome to my labyrinth. For my more personal stories… https://aphilosophersstone.substack.com/

The Mindsets of Wealthy People

Mindset #3: Think 50% when you spend. And 10% when you don’t

Darius Foroux

Darius Foroux

2 days ago (dariusforoux.medium.com)

Image by vectorjuice on Freepik

I was talking to a friend recently about strategies that make ordinary people wealthy. Often, people talk about trying to spend less by budgeting, saving more, and investing. Or working harder to earn more.

These things definitely help. But we all know that without a good budget, savings, and investing plan, it’s hard to build wealth.

After all, even rich people go broke when they spend more than they earn without saving anything.

This happens to lottery winners who suddenly don’t know what to do with their windfall. It also happens to normal folks who go bankrupt after mismanaging their finances.

Interestingly, a recent study found that most American millionaires are the owners of a regional business, such as an auto dealer or a beverage distributor.1 They’re not some high-flying tech CEO or social media influencer who travels to different exotic beaches every weekend.

In other words, these millionaires are normal people having normal jobs.

These millionaires might be “normal.” But they do things differently than most other folks. This is where mindset comes in. The way their mind works makes them go beyond the crowd.

Here are the 3 mindsets and habits that make ordinary people wealthy.

Mindset #1: Grow from your comfort zone

Most people don’t become rich because they don’t take action. They just keep doing the same thing over and over again. The result? They stay where they are.

They make roughly the same amount of money and debt, year after year. And they never build wealth.

That doesn’t mean you have to jump out of your comfort zone, leave your job, and start your own business right away. Or worse, start gambling with crypto and individual stocks you read about on Reddit.

You can also build wealth whilst staying within your comfort zone. As long as you act, remain consistent, and are not afraid of failure.

Mohnish Pabrai, for example, is one of the most successful investors who came from an ordinary background.

He wasn’t born into generational wealth and he didn’t study in an Ivy League university. Instead, he grew up in cheap apartments with his family in India, while his father started and failed various business ventures.

In the book, Richer, Wiser, Happier: How the World’s Greatest Investors Win in Markets and Life, Pabrai said:

“I watched my parents losing everything multiple times… And when I say losing everything, I mean not having enough money to buy groceries tomorrow, not having money to pay the rent… I never want to go through with that again.”

Pabrai didn’t leave his IT company job until his startup business had acquired enough clients. And when his business made enough money that he could invest full-time, he still pooled most of his capital from other investors.

Pabrai always had a safety net for when things went wrong. But unlike other people who are content with being safe, Pabrai actively pursued his goals.

That’s the key to ordinary people becoming wealthy: They act. They take calculated risks. And they don’t quit when things get hard. They remain consistent.

Mindset #2: Optimize your environment

There are three levels of environments that make a major impact on your finances: The city you live in, the people you work with, and the people you spend time with the most outside of work.

  • Live in a cheaper city — I never met anyone who got wealthy (unless they’re earning millions) by living in a big, expensive city. I used to work at a big company in London. At the time, I was spending most of my income on rent, commuting, and simply living in an expensive city. Then I moved back to my hometown, Leeuwarden, in The Netherlands. First back to my parents, and later, I bought an apartment. My mortgage was €500. In London, I paid almost three times more in rent, for a smaller place. The same apartment I bought for 135K is now worth 200K. So I didn’t only save in rent, I also built equity.
  • Avoid working with bad people — That’s also one reason I quit my corporate job in London. I couldn’t stand the office politics. There was a lot of backstabbing and people who didn’t want to see you do well. If you’re in a negative environment or deal with people who don’t want to see you win, you’re only destroying chances of success.
  • “Marry the right person” — This is actually money advice from Warren Buffett.2 It might not seem related to personal finance at first. But when you think about it, who else but your spouse/partner has one of the biggest impacts on your financial decisions? This applies to other people who become close to you as well: Friends, family members, etc.

Mindset #3: Think 50% when you spend. And 10% when you don’t

Let’s say you want to buy the latest $1000 iPhone.

The thing with most of the stuff we buy is that their value goes down over time. That applies to cars, furniture, clothes, electronics, etc.

So before I spend money on big purchases, like a new phone, a new car, and so forth, I always think about them in future terms.

I estimate that most of our stuff degrades by at least 50% in value within 3 years. And I don’t know about you, but I just can’t be bother with reselling most of my old stuff on marketplaces.

So after years of using my devices, I end up trading them in for even less than what they’re worth. I know I’m leaving money on the table. But I do that the moment I buy something.

Compare buying stuff to investing your money. The S&P 500 index grows at around 10% per year on average.

With the power of compounding, $1,000 is worth $1,610.51 in 5 years.

That $1,000 iPhone is really worth $1,610.51 when you think about the other option you have, which is to invest.

Spending your money on something means giving up a bit of freedom and options. That’s what money truly represents. We all spend money to buy a certain level of freedom.

Every dollar you spend is another dollar lost from your freedom goals. That doesn’t mean you become a money hoarder. But whenever you spend, always try to ask yourself:

“Is this thing worth the freedom I’m losing?”

If you want to retire early, you’ll need a certain amount, usually a million bucks or more. That amount of money won’t materialize by itself. You’ll need to keep earning enough to enjoy life while building your nest egg.

Darius Foroux

Written by Darius Foroux

My online class ‘digitalbusiness.school‘ is open for registration until December 3. Join now: members.dariusforoux.com/digitalbusiness-school

Free Will Astrology: Week of November 30, 2023

BY ROB BREZSNY | NOVEMBER 28, 2023 (newcity.com)

Photo: Randy Fath

ARIES (March 21-April 19): As a child, I loved to go to a meadow and whirl around in spirals until I got so dizzy, I fell. As I lay on the ground, the earth, sky and sun reeled madly, and I was no longer just a pinpoint of awareness lodged inside my body, but was an ecstatically undulating swirl in the kaleidoscopic web of life. Now, years later, I’ve discovered many of us love spinning. Scientists postulate humans have a desire for the intoxicating vertigo it brings. I would never recommend you do what I did as a kid; it could be dangerous for some of you. But if it’s safe and the spirit moves you, do it! Or at least imagine yourself doing it. Do you know about the Sufi Whirling Dervishes who use spinning as a meditation? Read here: tinyurl.com/JoyOfWhirling  and tinyurl.com/SufiSpinning.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your power creature in the coming weeks will not be an eagle, wolf, bear or salmon. I don’t advise you to dream of being a wild horse, tiger or crocodile. Instead, I invite you to cultivate a deep bond with the mushroom family. Why? Now is a favorable time to be like the mushrooms that keep the earth fresh. In wooded areas, they eat away dead trees and leaves, preventing larger and larger heaps of compost from piling up. They keep the soil healthy and make nutrients available for growing things. Be like those mushrooms, Taurus. Steadily and relentlessly rid your world of the defunct and decaying parts—thereby stimulating fertility.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gemini novelist Geraldine McCaughrean wrote, “Maybe courage is like memory—a muscle that needs exercise to get strong. So I decided that maybe if I started in a small way, I could gradually work my way up to being brave.” That is an excellent prescription for you: the slow, incremental approach to becoming bolder and pluckier. For best results, begin practicing on mild risks and mellow adventures. Week by week, month by month, increase the audacious beauty of your schemes and the intensity of your spunk and fortitude. By mid-2024, you will be ready to launch a daring project.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Cancerian neurologist and author Oliver Sacks worked with people who had unusual neurological issues. His surprising conclusion: “Defects, disorders and diseases can play a paradoxical role, by bringing out latent powers, developments and evolutions that might never be seen in their absence.” In not all cases, but more often than seemed reasonable, he found that disorders could be regarded as creative—”for if they destroy particular paths, particular ways of doing things, they may force unexpected growth.” Your assignment is to meditate on how the events of your life might exemplify the principle Sacks marvels at: apparent limitations leading to breakthroughs and bonanzas.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I am falling in love with how deeply you are falling in love with new ways of seeing and understanding yourself. My heart sings as I listen to your heart singing in response to new attractions. Keep it up, Leo! You are having an excellent influence on me. My dormant potentials and drowsy passions are stirring as I behold you waking up and coaxing out your dormant potentials and drowsy passions. Thank you, dear!

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Virgo journalist Sydney J. Harris offered advice I suggest you meditate on. He wrote, “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” I bring this to your attention because now is a favorable time to take action on things you have not yet done—and should do. If you put definitive plans in motion soon, you will ensure that regret won’t come calling in five years. (PS: Amazingly, it’s also an excellent time to dissolve regret you feel for an iffy move you made in the past.)

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In contrast to false stereotypes, Medieval Europeans were not dirty and unhygienic. They made soap and loved to bathe. Another bogus myth says the people of the Middle Ages believed the Earth was flat. But the truth was that most educated folks knew it was round. And it’s questionable to refer to this historical period as backward, since it brought innovations like mechanical timekeepers, moveable type, accurate maps, the heavy plow and illuminated manuscripts. In this spirit, and in accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to strip away misconceptions and celebrate actual facts in your own sphere. Be a scrupulous revealer, a conscientious and meticulous truth-teller.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio poet John Berryman said, “To grow, we must travel in the direction of our fears.” Yikes! I personally wouldn’t want to do that kind of growth all the time. I prefer traveling cheerfully in the direction of my hopes and dreams. But then I’m not a Scorpio. Maybe Berryman’s strategy for fulfilling one’s best destiny is a Scorpio superpower. What do you think? One thing I know for sure is that the coming weeks will be an excellent time to re-evaluate and reinvent your relationship with your fears. I suggest you approach the subject with a beginner’s mind. Empty yourself of all your previous ideas and be open to healing new revelations.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian poet Nina Cassian said, “I promise to make you so alive that the fall of dust on furniture will deafen you.” I think she meant she would fully awaken the senses of her readers. She would boost our capacity for enchantment and entice us to feel interesting emotions we had never experienced. As we communed with her beautiful self-expression, we might even reconfigure our understanding of who we are and what life is about. I am pleased to tell you, Sagittarius, that even if you’re not a writer, you now have an enhanced ability to perform these same services—both for yourself and for others.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “Sometimes I get lonesome for a storm,” says Capricorn singer-songwriter Joan Baez. “A full-blown storm where everything changes.” That approach has worked well for her. At age eighty-two, she has released thirty albums and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She has recorded songs in eight languages and has been honored by Amnesty International for her work on behalf of human rights. If you’re feeling resilient—which I think you are—I recommend that you, too, get lonesome for a storm. Your life could use some rearrangement. If you’re not feeling wildly bold and strong, maybe ask the gods for a mild squall.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Science educator Neil deGrasse Tyson tells us that water molecules we drink have “passed through the kidneys of Socrates, Genghis Khan and Joan of Arc.” The same prodigious truth applies to the air we breathe: It has “passed through the lungs of Napoleon, Beethoven and Abraham Lincoln.” Tyson would have also been accurate if he said we have shared water and air that has been inside the bodies of virtually every creature who has ever lived. I bring these facts to your attention, Aquarius, in the hope of inspiring you to deepen your sense of connectedness to other beings. Now is an excellent time to intensify your feelings of kinship with the web of life. Here’s the practical value of doing that: You will attract more help and support into your life.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I am saying a prayer for you. I pray to the Fates that you will not accept lazy or careless efforts from others. You won’t allow their politeness to be a cover-up for manipulativeness. I also pray that you will cultivate high expectations for yourself. You won’t be an obsessive perfectionist, but will be devoted to excellence. All your actions will be infused with high integrity. You will conscientiously attend to every detail with the faith that you are planting seeds that will bloom beautifully in the future.

Homework: Read inspirational insights about your astrological sign in my new book: bit.ly/AstrologyReal

The Thing Itself: C.S. Lewis on What We Long for in Our Existential Longing

By Maria Popova (themarginalian.org

Nothing kidnaps our capacity for presence more cruelly than longing. And yet longing is also the most powerful creative force we know: Out of our longing for meaning came all of art; out of our longing for truth all of science; out of our longing for love the very fact of life. We may give this undertone of being different names — Susan Cain calls it “the bittersweet” and Portuguese has the lovely word saudade: the vague, constant longing for something or someone beyond the horizon of reality — but we recognize it in our marrow, in the strata of the soul beyond the reach of words.

No one has explored the paradoxical nature of longing more sensitively than the philosopher, storyteller, beloved Narnia creator, and modern mystic C.S. Lewis (November 29, 1898–November 22, 1963) in a sermon he delivered on June 8, 1941, which later lent its title to his 1949 collection of addresses The Weight of Glory (public library).

Illustration by Margaret C. Cook for a rare 1913 edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. (Available as a print.)

Lewis — who thought deeply about the significance of suffering and the secret of happiness — writes:

This desire for our own far off country [is] the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering.

As Lewis considers the illusory nature of these shorthands for our longing, we are left with the radiant intimation that “the thing itself” is not something we reach for, something beyond us, but something we are:

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things — the beauty, the memory of our own past — are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.

For Lewis, who was religious, this notion of “the thing itself” — the ultimate object of longing — was anchored in his understanding of God. For me, it calls to mind Virginia Woolf’s exquisite epiphany about the meaning of art and life, found while strolling through her flower-garden:

Behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern… the whole world is a work of art… there is no Shakespeare… no Beethoven… no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.

How support for Trump is causing a rift in the evangelical church

NOVEMBER 29, 20231:57 PM ET (NPR.org)


Fresh Air
Terry Gross square 2017

Terry Gross

Atlantic writer Tim Alberta grew up in the evangelical church, the son of a pastor. His book, The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, examines why so many evangelicals are ardent Trump supporters.


This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. How did evangelicals become Donald Trump’s most unflinching advocates? That question plagued Tim Alberta as a journalist and as a self-described son of a white, conservative, Republican pastor in a white, conservative, Republican church in a white, conservative, Republican town. Alberta describes evangelicalism as the most polarizing and the least understood tradition that is also more politically relevant and domestically disruptive than all the others, combined.

To answer his own question about why many evangelicals support Trump, Alberta reported from evangelical churches around the country, ranging from megachurches to half-filled, small churches and the church he grew up in in a suburb of Detroit. He also reported from Christian colleges and religious advocacy organizations. He writes about how Trump has polarized the church in his new book, “The Kingdom, The Power, And The Glory: American Evangelicals In An Age Of Extremism.” Alberta is a staff writer for The Atlantic and former chief political correspondent for Politico. His previous book is the bestseller “American Carnage: On The Front Lines Of The Republican Civil War And The Rise Of President Trump.”

Tim Alberta, welcome to FRESH AIR. I’d like you to describe the split you’re seeing now among evangelicals.

TIM ALBERTA: Sure. Well, I think what we’ve seen in the past maybe five or six years, Terry, is sort of the bubbling over what had been a low-simmering crisis in the American evangelical church for a couple of generations now, which is essentially a divide in the evangelical movement among some Christians who are really like-minded sort of theologically and culturally and politically in terms of their approach to different issues where they fall on certain, you know, biblical applications in society. Really where they differ is the question of emphasis – priority. You have some folks in the church who believe that it is not the job of the church to be out front, fighting the culture wars, trying to sort of exert dominance over the country because they feel as though their identity as Christians is rooted in something far deeper and far more transcendent than just their American identity, as it were.

And then on the other side, I think you have a lot of people who view it differently and believe that this country, in some sense, was almost ordained by God to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. And the only way to effectively do that is to protect their rights at home so that they can go about preaching the gospel around the world. And what that has led to is almost a militant approach to politics and to culture. And so what you’re dealing with here is not necessarily a divergence of theology or ideology but really a sharp divergence of tactics. And that divergence has really given way to ferocious infighting and deep, deep schisms inside the American Evangelical church.

GROSS: Does Christian nationalism figure into this?

ALBERTA: Of course it does. Yes. And I would say that it figures into it now more than it ever has simply because, you know, one of the great distinctions I try to draw in the book is how, you know, 40, 50 years ago when you would hear all of this rhetoric from evangelical leaders around, you know, America being on its last legs, the country is in decline, the secularists are taking over and kicking God out of American life, that was mostly rhetoric that they, themselves, did not believe. It was used to raise money. It was used to earn, you know, TV viewers and radio subscribers. It was used to build Christian colleges. But it wasn’t really rhetoric that they, themselves, were invested in as a matter of fact.

I think the great difference today is that many of these people who will traffic in terms of this Armageddon talk, they really do believe it. They feel as though the American country as they have known it, the Judeo-Christian foundations of the country are under assault and that this is something of a last stand. And they have attached these existential stakes to that fight. And that is what gives this moment such a level of urgency specific to this question of Christian nationalism, because there is no longer a willingness for a lot of these people to separate their identities as Christians from their identities as Americans. And that is a particularly dangerous place for the church to be.

GROSS: And this goes along with some – what some church leaders told you, which is that some of the people in their congregations see Trump almost on a level with God. Trump has become a cult-like figure, and people almost worship him.

ALBERTA: They – he has, and they do. And of course, on its face, this makes no sense whatsoever, because here is the thrice-married, casino-owning Manhattan playboy, right? We all know the story. We know that Trump has zero familiarity himself with scripture, that he famously botched the pronunciation of a book of the Bible. And yet, at the same time, Trump emerging as this champion of the Christian right makes sense when placed in the context of this kind of apocalyptic, sky is falling, barbarians are at the gates mentality that you hear from many Christians today.

In other words, they feel as though by playing by the rules of Christianity – by turning the other cheek, by loving their neighbor – that they have given away so much ground, culturally, that they’ve lost, and they’ve lost the culture wars and they’re in danger of losing the country. And so now, feeling as though they are marginalized and under siege and at the brink of extinction, almost, they have turned to someone who does not have to observe their etiquette, who does not have to play by their rules, who doesn’t believe in the things that they believe. And ironically, they will tell you that that sort of gives him – Donald Trump – the freedom to do things to protect their movement and to fight against their enemies that they, themselves, would never be able to do.

GROSS: You saw that split within your own church. You saw people within the church move to the far right and become more militant and more angry, more extreme. And you grew up in the church because your father was the pastor of a church that went from hundreds of people to thousands of people. It was a church in Brighton, a suburb of Detroit. It was white. It was Republican. And my impression was fairly affluent? Not rich, but affluent?

ALBERTA: That’s right. Yeah.

GROSS: Yeah.

ALBERTA: That’s right.

GROSS: And you literally grew up in the church because you spent your time off from school, you know, studying in the church, playing in, like, storage rooms of the church. So describe what you saw in the church in which your father was the pastor – the split that you saw emerging.

ALBERTA: Yeah. You know, I can’t emphasize this point enough. You know, my mother was on staff at the church, as well, and I was the youngest sibling. And so I – my entire life was inside the church. Physically grew up inside the church. It was my home. It was my community. And the interesting thing, Terry, is that even as I grew older and became more aware of some of the ugliness, let’s just say, around me, some of the rhetoric, some of the behavior that seemed to be antithetical to the Christ that I followed and that I read about in Scripture. I sort of always stayed quiet about it. I – it was something that I never really wanted to address, something that I never thought I would address, frankly, in part because I think when you’re part of a tribe, you look at that tribe as yours, even though there are imperfections, and you just – you reflexively reject the caricatures and the attacks from the outside. And I spent most of my life sort of in that category.

Again, even as I was older and getting to a place where some of the sort of naked hypocrisy, some of the really bad behavior, the corruption and the abuse and the bullying that you would see both in my church and in the church writ large, they were things that I just couldn’t bring myself to confront because, ultimately, I saw so much good simultaneously in the church. And I felt as though this was a zero-sum proposition, that I couldn’t both be a believer in Jesus Christ and a faithful member of his church while simultaneously airing the dirty laundry of the church. And that was sort of a false choice that I had locked myself into. And it really wasn’t until sort of personal tragedy struck that I felt kind of a wake-up call, that I needed to speak out about this in a way that sounded the alarm, because clearly something had gone very, very wrong here.

GROSS: Well, let me reintroduce you here. If you’re just joining us, my guest is journalist Tim Alberta, author of the new book “The Kingdom, The Power, And The Glory: American Evangelicals In An Age Of Extremism.” We’ll be right back after a short break. This is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. Let’s get back to my interview with Tim Alberta, author of the new book “The Kingdom, The Power, And The Glory: American Evangelicals In An Age Of Extremism.” His previous book was the bestseller “American Carnage: On The Front Lines Of The Republican Civil War And The Rise Of President Trump.” He’s a staff writer for The Atlantic.

In 2019, you were on a book tour for your book “American Carnage: On The Front Lines Of The Republican Civil War And The Rise Of Donald Trump.” So at the end of your book tour, you’re on the Christian Broadcasting Network. Tell us what you were talking about.

ALBERTA: Yeah. Of all places, I am on the set of the Christian Broadcasting Network, and I’m being asked about Trump’s relationship with the white evangelical movement. This question – the million-dollar question of, how? How is it that this guy, of all people, came to be the champion of this movement? – and really trying to unpack some of these schisms and the divide inside the church that was growing more apparent by the day. And here I am doing this very delicate dance on the set of the network because, as I said, I really had been quite reticent to criticize the church as a whole. And I really was trying to make the point about some of this unhealthiness inside the evangelical movement without, like, throwing down the gauntlet, so to speak.

And the interviewer was pressing me deeper and deeper on, you know, the – just how damaging these schisms could be. And by the time I walked off the set, I’m saying to myself, oh, boy. Like, I really blew it. Like, why am I holding back here? Why don’t I just say what I’m really thinking? Because what I’m really thinking is that the American evangelical church is approaching a moment of crisis here, and something has to be done about it. And as soon as I walk off the set, I’m looking down at my phone, and I have all of these missed calls. And my dad had collapsed from a heart attack and was dead.

GROSS: Of course, a very upsetting, tragic moment in your life. At the memorial service for him, you got a lot of heat from people who you’ve known – who you’d known all of your life. Tell us some of the things – well, let me back up and say that Rush Limbaugh started quoting you and assailing you on his radio show. What was he saying about you?

ALBERTA: That’s right. You know, so the book that I had written was in the news. My dad died less than two weeks after that book had come out. And so, you know, Rush Limbaugh was on his show describing some of my unflattering characterizations of Donald Trump and of the evangelical movement. Trump himself was tweeting about my book. I was getting a lot of threats, a lot of nasty email, a lot of criticism from right-wing media. And so when my dad died, you know, I go home to Michigan for the funeral. And the day before the funeral, we’re having the visitation inside the sanctuary of our home church, where, again, you know, my dad had been the pastor for over 25 years. It was home for us.

And as I’m standing in the sanctuary with my brothers greeting people, suddenly I’m having folks come up to me, and they’re talking about Rush Limbaugh. And I didn’t even know why at first. And then I’m sort of piecing it together. Oh, I guess he must have been kind of ripping me on his show. And then there were more people, and then there were more. And some were arguing with me about Rush Limbaugh, some were confronting me about Donald Trump. People were asking me if I was really still a Christian, if I was on the right side of good versus evil. There was a – just – and all the while, of course, my dad is in a box a hundred feet away. And, you know, I’m there in shock, 72 hours after he’s passed, you know, having barely slept all week, trying to mourn and trying to process all of this. And I’ve got people who I’ve known for most of my life, known me since I was 5 years old, who are instead of hugging me, instead of crying with me, instead of just trying to wrap me in love at that moment, they’re wanting to argue about politics.

GROSS: And they’re insulting you.

ALBERTA: They’re insulting me. And, you know, as I write in the book, it was clear in that moment that for them, they didn’t see a hurting son. They saw a vulnerable adversary.

GROSS: And if they saw that in you, the son of their pastor, you, who many of them had known your entire life, that – what about people who they don’t know? How easy is it to dehumanize them and just make them into the enemy?

ALBERTA: Well, that’s a great point. And this is where – listen, you know, Jesus said that the two great commands are to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. And this was just a moment where it became so clear to me that, like, this thing has tilted so far off of its axis that, you know, it’s one thing to try to minimize or explain away the hostile approach to this secular world, even though I think that that is in and of itself completely unbiblical and un-Christlike. But this was something different – altogether different, Terry, to your point. This is inside of the church, to a fellow believer, taunting and mocking and hurting someone at their moment of great vulnerability, and over what? Over a political disagreement. And that’s – you’re right – I mean, a moment that just sort of opened my eyes to say, boy, if this could happen to me in this setting, then what are we doing out in the world? What sort of damage are these Christians doing?

GROSS: Had your father seen the split in his congregation, and what did he make of it?

ALBERTA: Well, you know, it was interesting. I think at some level, he did, because my dad was a really serious theologian. He – you know, he had advanced degrees from the country’s top seminaries. He spoke Greek. I mean, he was a very, very serious, intellectual Christian. And I think he knew – in fact, I know that he knew – that there were a lot of people in his pews who were, you know, very casual with their faith and who were, at some level, there to engage in a sort of, you know, cultural right as much as they were to grow deeper in their faith in the Lord. And so I think he challenged them in that way.

But if I’m being totally honest – and this is probably the hardest part of writing this book – I think in some way, my dad also fed into or encouraged some of those sort of uglier base instincts. And I think specifically what I mean by that, Terry, is, you know, politics in the pulpit is always a very touchy thing. And I think for a pastor like my dad, his most important issue politically – although he wouldn’t even view it as a political issue, he views it as a moral, ethical, spiritual issue – was abortion. And so he was, you know, his entire life, his entire career in ministry was a really, really outspoken voice against abortion. But what happens is that when you place so much emphasis on an issue like abortion, you tend to start treating the people in politics who are against abortion as your allies and the people who are, you know, pro-choice as your enemies.

And so it became almost a gateway drug, abortion. And suddenly, you’re talking about other things from the pulpit – you’re talking about Obamacare, you’re talking about education curriculum, you’re talking about same-sex marriage. And even though I think my dad was able to compartmentalize in a lot of ways and understood that ultimately, you know, America is not part of God’s grand design for the ages and that winning and losing elections here in this country has no eternal significance, I think for a lot of his more casual congregants, they were not able to make those distinctions.

GROSS: Your father was critical of Trump. He thought he was a narcissist and a liar, not moral. But he voted for him anyway. Do you know why?

ALBERTA: I think at the end of the day, it was the question of abortion and the fact that you had multiple Supreme Court nominations hanging in the balance. I mean, those were the conversations we had, and they were pained conversations in 2016. This was a really tough election for him because my dad had preached to me and to my brothers our entire lives that politics is really an exercise in character. That morality and ethics are the prerequisites for political leadership. And so I think he had a very difficult time getting his arms around the idea of voting for Donald Trump. But once he did, there was almost a little bit of a switch that flipped. And that caused some tension in our relationship.

GROSS: Well, let me reintroduce you again. If you’re just joining us, my guest is Tim Alberta, author of the new book, “The Kingdom, The Power, And The Glory: American Evangelicals In An Age Of Extremism.” He’s a staff writer for The Atlantic. We’ll be right back after a short break. I’m Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. Let’s get back to my interview with Tim Alberta, author of the new book “The Kingdom, The Power, And The Glory: American Evangelicals In An Age Of Extremism.” His previous book was the bestseller “American Carnage: On The Front Lines Of The Republican Civil War And The Rise Of President Trump.” He’s a staff writer for The Atlantic. The new book is about how Donald Trump has polarized the evangelical church. On one end, he’s created a cult-like following within the church. On the other end, many pastors and congregants have left their churches over disagreements with Trump and his followers.

When you decided you wanted to write about the split in the evangelical church and how that is affecting American politics as well as America’s church life, you decided to go back to the church that you grew up in, your father’s church in the suburb of Detroit. And the person who had succeeded him as the pastor was the person who had been his associate and was being groomed to take over, eventually, as pastor. His name was Chris Winans, and he was more liberal. He wasn’t a liberal, but he was more liberal. What were the problems he started having when he took over?

ALBERTA: Well, there was some uneasiness from the beginning when Chris was being groomed as the heir apparent because, you’re right, it’s not that he was a liberal. But in a deep red, extremely conservative place like Brighton, Mich., any whiff of liberalism would be enough to make someone suspect. And for a guy like Chris Winans, this young pastor who was preparing to take over for the pastor, my dad, who’d been at the church for over 25 years, there was a lot of uneasiness, a lot of skepticism. And, you know, Chris is a guy who – he just doesn’t like guns. He doesn’t particularly care about cutting tax rates. You know, he doesn’t like wars. This is a guy who, his entire perspective politically is informed by Scripture. And he really – you know, he views politics through the context of his faith rather than viewing his faith through the context of his politics, which, of course, that is at the heart of this schism in the church.

And so when Chris Winans takes over, he’s making even just off-the-cuff remarks about Donald Trump or about some issue of the day, and people are up in arms about it, because, again, at a church like this, any sort of deviation from the norm – culturally, politically, ideologically – is going to put a target on your back. And you had people leaving the church in droves because they viewed him as not enough of a culture warrior.

GROSS: And I’m sure that was very upsetting for him. I’m sure he must have felt that he was failing. Did new people come to take the place of the people who fled?

Continues at: https://www.npr.org/2023/11/29/1215806967/how-support-for-trump-is-causing-a-rift-in-the-evangelical-church

(Contributed by Michael Kelly, H.W.)

“Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes”

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

At the stoplight waiting for the light
nine a.m. downtown San Francisco
a bright yellow garbage truck
with two garbagemen in red plastic blazers
standing on the back stoop
one on each side hanging on
and looking down into
an elegant open Mercedes
with an elegant couple in it
The man
in a hip three-piece linen suit
with shoulder-length blond hair and sunglassed
The young blond woman so casually coifed
with short skirt and coloured stockings
on the way to his architect’s office

And the two scavengers up since four a.m.
grungy from their route
on the way home
The older of the two with grey iron hair
and hunched back
looking down like some
gargoyle Quasimodo
And the younger of the two
also with sunglasses and long hair
about the same age as the Mercedes driver

And both scavengers gazing down
as from a great distance
at the cool couple
as if they were watching some odourless TV ad
in which everything is always possible

And the very red light for an instant
holding all four close together
as if anything at all were possible
between them
across that small gulf
in the high sea
of this democracy.


Pain Has No Memory

My relationship with pain and its effect on the creative process

David Todd McCarty

David Todd McCarty

Published in A Bit Dodgy

1 day ago (abitdodgy.uk)

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

I’ve always had a rather curious relationship with pain. I’m not masochistic or anything. I’m just not sure I process pain the same way as other people. It’s doubtful that I’m either exceptional or broken, but I have a hard time gauging my pain on a scale of 1–10. Either pain affects me differently, or other people just aren’t used to dealing with it. I’m not sure.

I can assure you that I am very sensitive to being uncomfortable but simultaneously also just resigned to the reality that pain is a normal part of life. No sense in complaining about it. You just do what you can and carry on.

The human body can withstand a great deal of pain without dying, or even passing out, so I equate a level ten with things like being skinned alive or sawing off your own arm with a fork. With this in mind, I can’t seem to rationalize scoring any sort of normal pain, even what I might consider extraordinary pain, as anything higher than a four. How else could you get from back pain that you’re describing as an eight to being burned alive, which I think we can all agree on would be a ten.

I rate pain differently than pleasure. You don’t work your way up. You work your way down. Pleasure starts at zero and goes up from there. Pain, in my mind, begins at ten and works its way down. There’s also the issue of what your everyday baseline is. At my age, which is neither young nor old but somewhere in the middle, there is no such thing as a zero-pain day. My default, on a really good day, is at least a one, with the median being at least a two.

For most people, fear of pain is far worse than actual pain. It’s that blast of air the optometrist pokes you in the eye with. Can we talk about that for a minute? I think I’d rather just have the glaucoma than ever have to do that again. Maybe they could get AI to work on some sort of improvement on that medieval torture device instead of trying to write bad poetry. What the fuck are they waiting for? Tell me to look straight ahead and hit the trigger. Stop fucking with me.

What I find fascinating about pain is that it has no memory. It’s the reason why women have more than one baby. As intense as it is, when it’s gone, we can barely remember what that was like. Our brains are wired to respond to pain as a means of survival, but we don’t retain the memories of it. We remember being vaguely miserable, but that’s about it.

I realize there are people who live with chronic pain that might have something to say about all this, but I tend to think they’d agree that we learn to accommodate a level of pain over time that, if it were introduced suddenly, would be unbearable to most people.

Pain is a response to electrical and chemical signals sent to the brain that let us know that something somewhere is amiss, which means that pain is all in our minds.

In the 1962 epic film “Lawrence of Arabia,” Peter O’Toole likes to perform a trick where he lets a match burn down to his fingertips. A junior associate tries to replicate the feat and yelps as the fire burns his fingers.

“Ahhh,” he exclaims. “It bloody well hurts.”

“Of course, it hurts,” says Lawrence.

“What’s the trick, then?”

“The trick, my dear man, is not minding that it hurts.”

Therein lies the rub. Pain is a mental process designed to take precedence over other cognitive functions. It’s the car alarm that you can try to ignore, but that will eventually drive you mad. Occasionally, it will go quiet, and the relief is so profound, but just when you think you can relax, it starts back up, and it’s even more maddening than before. If and when it does stop, it doesn’t take long to take the silence for granted. You can’t even begin to remember how you functioned with a car alarm blaring constantly.

The good news is that we are capable of distracting ourselves with other things and can, at times, at least temporarily, force the pain into the background. I’m not saying it’s easy. Anyone who has to perform higher mental functions, especially creative ones that require more intense focus, such as writing, designing, or directing, while also dealing with pain is working much harder than you might imagine. They might only be operating at 60–70% of capacity because a significant portion of their brain is focused on pain. Like someone who is missing an arm or a leg, they’ve been able to find workarounds to do more with less.

It’s been almost two weeks since a recent surgery I had, and I’m still dealing with the aftermath. I’m past the point of tedious minute-to-minute survival. Rather than the pain occupying 60–70% of my brain, I’m getting down to 30%. Soon, I’m confident it will be at 20, then 10, and if all works out as planned, eventually to zero. Short-term pain for long-term gain.

I won’t be pain-free, of course. I still have chronic back and neck issues, but they’re manageable, and frankly, I could be doing more about it. But if I could remove that obstacle from my life permanently, it would be a whole new world for me. Who knows what I might accomplish?

I have long theorized that all creative endeavor requires significant impediments, or they fall flat, becoming weak and derivative. Creativity and innovation are like building muscle. You can’t do it without the pain of breaking down the flesh somewhat. If you ever found yourself pain and obstacle-free, there would be no need for creative expression.

You would just be.

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David Todd McCarty

Written by David Todd McCarty

·Editor for A Bit Dodgy

A cranky romantic searching for hope and humor. I tell stories. Most of them are true. I’m not at all interested in your outrage, but I do feel your pain.