Author Archives: Santi Tafarella

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.

A Guided Meditation With A Little Help From A Wallace Stevens Poem (“The Plain Sense Of Things”)

If the poet generates a soundtrack to an environment, then the meditator, as poet, generates a meta-soundtrack that goes something like this: In your head, bring the inertial, reactive soundtracks down. Do not desire or avert them, but just let … Continue reading

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On Having No Head: The Headless Squid Bowl, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, And The Cosmos’s Undirected, Mutually Interdependent Arising

The headless squid bowl sometimes served in Japanese restaurants is odd and fascinating. It strikes me as a metaphor for the cosmos: it goes without a head. How strange. In a sense, even conscious beings like ourselves go without a … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, atomism, beauty, climate change, david hume, edward feser, Genesis, God, Lucretius, meditation, origins, poetry, science, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Partially Excited States: An Interview With Charles Hood

Poet, artist, and photographer Charles Hood’s most recent book, Partially Excited States (University of Wisconsin Press 2017), is the winner of the Felix Pollak Prize for this year. I interviewed Hood, a Southern California native, about his new book. __________ … Continue reading

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American Nazis at Jefferson’s Statue: That Image from Charlottesville I Can’t Get Out of My Mind

_____ The hate that dares not speak its name. If this doesn’t look like Nazi Germany in the 1930s, then what is it? And at the University of Virginia. And around a statue of the greatest humanist of the Enlightenment, … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, Bernie Sanders, brexit, climate change, donald trump, edward feser, feminism, hillary clinton, science, Uncategorized | 30 Comments

Distract, Maul, And Dominate: Donald Trump’s CNN Wrestling Video GIF And Hitler’s Reichstag Fire

“There is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants, and their tools and abettors, as a free press” (Samuel Adams in 1768). However tense we may be with Trump as president, our republic is still functioning … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, Bernie Sanders, brexit, climate change, donald trump, edward feser, feminism, God, Ted Cruz, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

What Does It Mean For God To Exist, Think, And Act?

It’s always comforting to (seemingly) settle hard questions in thirty seconds. But as a matter of logic, if space-time is the condition for existence, and existence is bound up with space-time (as Einstein proposed), then in what sense could God … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, atomism, david hume, edward feser, Genesis, God, God, Lucretius, philosophy, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Trump and Authoritarianism

Clarity. A must-view, short video from Vox surveying some of the political science data on authoritarianism and its relation to Trump. A really excellent summary.

Posted in atheism, Bernie Sanders, brexit, climate change, donald trump, edward feser, feminism, God, hillary clinton, Politics, science, Ted Cruz, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Enlightenment Under Attack: Free Desiree Fairooz

A woman, it appears, may soon go to jail for a year for laughing at Jeff Sessions. Her name is Desiree Fairooz. A quote from a recent article at CNN’s website: [T]he notion of an American citizen going to jail … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, atomism, Bernie Sanders, brexit, david hume, donald trump, edward feser, feminism, hillary clinton, Lucretius, Politics, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

“Siloviki”: Yale’s Timothy Snyder Nails The Stakes Surrounding Trump’s Firing Of James Comey

A hijacking. A Putin-like coup. Is this where it’s going? The below quote from Yale Holocaust historian Timothy Snyder is the most chilling I’ve run across since the firing of James Comey. It clearly articulates exactly what is at stake: … Continue reading

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Spring (a poem)

SPRING   God gave me a rose. And God is love. The rose made me.   Sneeze. I have Asthma. The rose Landed.   Me in hospital. That can’t be right. If God is love.   And gave me a … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetics, atheism, beauty, edward feser, God, Lucretius, philosophy, poetry, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Best Explanation, Ad Hoc Explanation, and Occam’s Razor

Best explanation vs. ad hoc explanation. A sign that you may not be seeking the best theory surrounding the truth of a matter, and instead protecting a favored theory—one you want to be true over all others—is if you’re doing … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, atomism, climate change, david hume, edward feser, Lucretius, philosophy, science, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scientific Method For Poets: What Is Scientific Method, Exactly, And Can It Be Separated From Our Values?

Scientific method. If we’re not engaging in self-deception, trying to ad hoc our way across the bridge from logical possibility to the actual truth of a matter, we see that we have a variety of genuinely objective tools ready-to-hand to … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, atomism, beauty, david hume, edward feser, Lucretius, origins, philosophy, science, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Jim Jones, Critical Thinking, and the Mass Suicide of the Mind

The problem. 2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the collective suicide of the Jim Jones cult. In 1978, over 900 people left California, set up a commune in Guyana in South America, and ultimately died there together, notoriously drinking … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, atomism, david hume, edward feser, philosophy, science, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Rhetoric, Critical Thinking, and Checking Your Premises

Rhetoric and critical thinking. In classical rhetoric, the central appeal is not to the emotions (pathos), but to reason (logos), and Aristotle’s rhetorical invention categories—his topoi—are heavily weighted to rational appeals (appeals to logic, evidence, comparisons, definitions, examples, and so … Continue reading

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Trump’s America Is Not My America

I don’t like the phrase “not my president.” I understand the sentiment, but I think it would be a more accurate reflection of that sentiment to say, “not my America.” Trump’s America is not my America in exactly the same … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetics, atheism, Bernie Sanders, climate change, donald trump, feminism, God, hillary clinton, Politics, science, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Tools of Manipulation vs. The Tools of Critical Thinking

In a recent article at The New York Times (“Why We Believe Obvious Untruths”), two cognitive scientists, Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman, claim that dispersed knowledge is a ready and overriding explanation for why people profess belief in foolish things … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetics, atheism, atomism, Bernie Sanders, climate change, david hume, donald trump, edward feser, feminism, God, hillary clinton, philosophy, Politics, science, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

“A Neutral Color Or Yellow?” A Poem On The Problem Of Fence Sitting In The Age Of Trump

A NEUTRAL COLOR OR YELLOW?   If the emperor Says he has clothes, And has no clothes, Is silence suspended Judgment or cowardice? _____ Per Wikipedia: “On 10 May 1933, in an act of ominous significance, the students burned upwards … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetics, atheism, beauty, Bernie Sanders, climate change, donald trump, feminism, meditation, philosophy, poetry, Politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Time Is It? (Another Poem for Daniela Vargas)

WHAT TIME IS IT?   There are times When silence Does not mean Neutrality, Nor fairness, Nor indecision, Nor open-mindedness, But consent And approval; Indifference And cowardice. Our time is one Of those times.  

Posted in aesthetics, atheism, beauty, donald trump, feminism, hillary clinton, meditation, philosophy, poetry, Politics, Ted Cruz, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Question (a poem for DREAMer Daniela Vargas, in the United States since age seven, arrested in retaliation for exercising her free speech, 2017)

QUESTION What does it mean If a tree falls In a forest On a person And no One makes a sound?

Posted in aesthetics, beauty, donald trump, feminism, hillary clinton, meditation, philosophy, poetry, Politics, Ted Cruz, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Camille Paglia Trolls the Oscars

Camille Paglia has, it seems to me, a persistent issue with confirmation bias. In the linked article below, she once again arrives with a dubious thesis that she then (predictably) locates a few snippets of anecdotal evidence for, rarely (never?) … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetics, beauty, donald trump, feminism, hillary clinton, Politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment