What I’m Trying to Learn to Say

by Matt B. on July 13, 2014

When friends ask how I’m doing, I often tell them that I’ve been struggling with OCD stuff. There was a time when this was hard to acknowledge, and doing so brought relief – even a bit of pride. These days, though, “OCD stuff” doesn’t feel specific enough. I want to do more than gesture in […]


The Politics of Buddha Nature – A Conversation with Vincent Horn of Buddhist Geeks (Part Two)

June 21, 2014

Here’s Part Two of my recent conversation with Vincent Horn. In Part One, we discussed the deep differences between the Buddhist view of human nature and the one offered by much of the Western political-philosophical tradition. Here, we talk about the ways that the Buddhist view encourages a more empathetic, community-minded, and fundamentally realistic approach […]

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On the Virtue of Spinelessness

June 17, 2014

At the conclusion of A Song Flung Up to Heaven, Maya Angelou describes how black people have survived four hundred years of slavery and oppression in America. I thought of human beings, as far back as I had read, of our deeds and didoes. According to some scientists, we were born to forever crawl in […]

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The Politics of Dualism – A Conversation with Vincent Horn of Buddhist Geeks

June 13, 2014

Recently, I got a chance to talk with Vincent Horn of Buddhist Geeks about the political implications of Buddhist psychology. In Part One, we discuss the Tibetan Buddhist understanding of human nature, an outlook that stands in stark contrast to Western views about man’s ineradicable selfishness and aggression. Part Two available here.

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Thoughts on OCD and Suicide

June 8, 2014

There are two reasons I’ve never thought seriously about suicide. The first is that I’ve never been in quite enough pain – I always believe, at some level, that the fever will break. But the second is that killing myself would wreck my parents. It wouldn’t even take suicide. My mom has long told me that […]

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On Truth and Lies in a Political Sense – Another Conversation with Eric Miller

May 29, 2014

Eric Miller is a Wheat and Chaff regular at this point, and for good reason – the Bloomsburg University professor is smart, humble, and funny as hell. In this, our third conversation about political discourse, we begin with my recent essay about speechwriting at the White House. After that, we get at the hard question: […]

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Such, Such Were the Joys: OCD, Orwell, and Jerking Off

May 26, 2014

I squeeze the brakes on my motorbike to come to a quick stop, and a brief pain slices through my fingers. That’s what happens when your mind wanders and you go too fast, asshole. You end up hurting yourself – exactly what you deserve. This is a core element of my religion: the belief that […]

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