Sherry L. Ackerman, PhD.

‘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...]

Is it organic?

USDA organic sign

  Making healthy food choices is important. But, sometimes it’s really tough to be sure that you are getting what you intended to get. Let’s say, for example, that you have made a decision to eat primarily organic foods. Well, how do you know it’s organic? The obvious answer is that it is labeled by the USDA, whose National Organic Program regulates the standards for any farm, wild crop … [Read more...]

Radical homemakers

cozykitchen

Confucius said that the health of a nation could be determined by the integrity of its homes. If we apply that standard, we’re in trouble. Culturally, most Americans don’t even have homes anymore. They have houses, not homes. Homes are something that are made, not bought. And, homes, thus, require homemakers. That’s right, plural: homemakers. I'm not talking about just women. And, I'm not … [Read more...]

Holidays as a benchmark

Reflection

Another holiday season is behind us. As I reflect on mine, I get a strong sense that holidays can be seen as a sort of benchmark. We tend to remember certain traditions and how they played out throughout the years. On needles and pins Take the Christmas tree, for example. Let’s face it, there's nothing that can bring out the worst in any of us than the tree. Remember the year that the kids … [Read more...]

The heart of my home

kitchenshape

The kitchen is the heart of my home. It’s the hub of the domestic wheel. Since it’s where the woodstove is, this time of year, it’s where everyone gathers. And, everything of any importance takes place there: meals get prepared, recipes shared, bills paid, horse grains mixed, tinctures made, messages exchanged; kombucha brewed, coffee sipped and books read. Sometimes I take for granted that the … [Read more...]