Why care for these dead bodies?

 Why care for these dead bodies? They really have no friends but the worms or fishes. Their owners were coming to the New World, as Columbus and the Pilgrims did,—they were within a mile of its shores; but, before they could reach it, they emigrated to a newer world than ever Columbus dreamed of, yet one of whose existence we believe that there is far more universal and convincing evidence—though it has not yet been discovered by science—than Columbus had of this; not merely mariners’ tales and some paltry drift-wood and sea-weed, but a continual drift and instinct to all our shores. I saw their empty hulks that came to land; but they themselves, meanwhile, were cast upon some shore yet further west, toward which we are all tending, and which we shall reach at last, it may be through storm and darkness, as they did. No doubt, we have reason to thank God that they have not been “shipwrecked into life again.” The mariner who makes the safest port in Heaven, perchance, seems to his friends on earth to be shipwrecked, for they deem Boston Harbor the better place; though perhaps invisible to them, a skillful pilot comes to meet him, and the fairest and balmiest gales blow off that coast, his good ship makes the land in halcyon days, and he kisses the shore in rapture there, while his old hulk tosses in the surf here. It is hard to part with one’s body, but, no doubt, it is easy enough to do without it when once it is gone. All their plans and hopes burst like a bubble! Infants by the score dashed on the rocks by the enraged Atlantic Ocean! No, no! If the St. John did not make her port here, she has been telegraphed there. The strongest wind cannot stagger a Spirit; it is a Spirit’s breath. A just man’s purpose cannot be split on any Grampus or material rock, but itself will split rocks till it succeeds.

Thoreau, Cape Cod

Fire Monks



Adam Tooze

The cost of living crisis on the other hand is not properly speaking a macroeconomic issue at all. It is a problem of poverty, inequality, precarity and unequal power relations in labour markets. If one is serious about addressing those problems, the solutions are clear enough: Raise benefit levels substantially above the rate of inflation. Control the prices of essentials, if you must, but only for the purchases of those on the lowest incomes. Make the tax system more progressive and remove punitive benefit traps for those on low incomes. Rebalance the labour market by institutional reforms that empower trade and individual workers. Run positive labour market schemes. Redress the overlapping structures of racism and discrimination that concentrate poverty amongst minorities, single mothers and children. Do all of this not slowly, but with the urgency of the cost of living crisis at your back.

This cannot be a top down, drawing board exercise. Addressing inequality, discrimination, poverty is not as simple as conducting monetary policy. The world is designed to make central banks and their instruments pivotal to the economy. They are structurally empowered, designed to be the ultimate technocrats perch. By contrast, in the vast majority of settings welfare and social services are more or less deliberately underfunded, understaffed, underpowered and institutionally hemmed so as to ensure that they are unable to deliver real uplift and lasting and sustainable protection for their “clients”. They are not empowering but disempowering mechanisms both for those they serve and their staff. So a true answer to the “cost of living crisis” would be a question not just of more spending but of political organization and mobilization to create a state structure actually capable of securing a decent standard of living for those in the bottom half of the income and wealth distribution. 




One of my favorite bars of grad school gets the royal treatment: a multi-page profile by Brian Howe in the Indyweek on the occasion of its 21st birthday.


 Community is a constant entrainment

I took a run yesterday and it began to rain before I got to the harbor.  Standing on the sand of the bay, the schooners and fishing boats lay in the distance, I did my Wim Hof breaths; after the 30th breath I held it beneath my rib cage and pushed out my belly and the xi sat right there and the mist and rain wiped away from my face I realized that this is all there is, this is the apex of of spirituality this moment and yet all moments that we move through this is all there is.