Sherry L. Ackerman, PhD.

Relying on the Government will Make Climate Change Worse

activism equipment

Twenty-five years ago, existentialism was a hot piece of intellectual property. A literate public was buying up such books as William Barrett’s Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy and Viktor Frankl’s From Death Camp to Existentialism (later republished under the title Man’s Search for Meaning). American psychologists were being introduced to the movement by a brilliant … [Read more...]

Local economy or local-washing?

Buy local

"Local" has become a buzzword. Today there’s eco-localism, local food and local farming, local media movements, as well as regional, state, and even national ad campaigns urging us to “eat local" and "buy local.” Local's gone global, but what exactly does the term mean anymore? David Levine, of the American Sustainable Business Council, discusses the “triple bottom line” of social, … [Read more...]

Consumer worldview not as entrenched as you think

consumer worldview

A worldview is a basic way of interpreting things and events that pervades a culture so thoroughly that it becomes that culture's concept of reality — what is good, what is important, what is sacred, and what is real.  It is so invasive that it is invisible. It is simply assumed to be true apart from any inquiry into its validity. If a worldview maintains that the emperor is clothed, then, even … [Read more...]

Despite drought, California is still bottling water for export

water bottles

There is an old saying “as goes California, so goes the nation.” If that is true, I would say that the nation had best strap on its seat-belt for some hard-times ahead -- and some battles over resources between ordinary citizens and big corporations. California is currently four years into the worst drought in recorded history. While the word "drought" gives the impression that this is a … [Read more...]

‘They’ won’t let the planet fry, right?

"Numbitol"/Sleep photo art

Did you ever wonder who they were? The “they.” The “they” that tell us that low levels of radiation and E.coli are safe. Or that extraction industries boost the economy. Or that fracking and tar sands are the only way to solve the energy crisis. They tell us that we don’t need labeling on our food. They tell us that the upswing in adult diabetes is normal. Sometimes they are much more … [Read more...]

How to think and live for yourself

medals

When you get out of bed in the morning, what gets your motor running? Are you full of creative good ideas about what you hope to experience that day? Or, are you more focused on what you need to do in order to fulfill the day’s obligations? The question confronts the issue of motivation — that which energizes, directs and sustains our behaviors. Psychologists remind us that there are two … [Read more...]

If you’re really for the economy then you’re also for the environment

stock trader at computer screen

I taught college logic for decades. Logical fallacies make me squirm. However, most people have errant ideas about logic. My undergraduate students always get huffy and insist that their "true premise" is logical. Logic examines process, prior to truth. A true conclusion can be arrived at if, and only if, the premises are true, and the process by which the argument is constructed is valid. … [Read more...]

So how should I presume?

Shanghai highways

In "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," T.S. Eliot positions the question, “so how should I presume?” front and center. J. Alfred Prufrock was a moody, urban, isolated, yet sensitive thinker. He is stricken with feelings of alienation and an incapability for decisive action that has been said "to epitomize frustration and impotence of the modern individual" and "represent thwarted desires and … [Read more...]

Not enough time to hurry

hurry or take your time

In his classic existentialist novel, The Stranger, Camus wrote, “I’d read, of course, that in jail one ends up losing track of time.” He then has his protagonist reflect upon how worrying about time had governed his life before he had become incarcerated. This is interesting — and relatively recent as the whole concept of linear time is a construct of modernity. Before the 1870’s the … [Read more...]

16 ways to avoid being a Transition hypocrite

derelict airplane

Martin Heidegger was obsessed with authenticity. He viewed ontological anxiety as the impetus for authenticity — a way to move us through our conformity. For Heidegger, we were born into a world of quiet conformity. Initially, everything we do, say, think and believe has been done before. The activities we regard as worthy of our time and effort (learning, work, play), the ultimate values and … [Read more...]