What Is the Hard Problem of Consciousness?

By Paul Thomas Zenki

It’s a tale of two datasets….   Brad has volunteered to sit in a lab, stare at a screen, and say out loud what he sees. All the while, parts of his brain are being observed and recorded. Later, in another lab, Amy can look at the recordings of Brad’s brain and know when he […]

You Are Already the Buddha

By Paul Thomas Zenki

The trick is realizing it… There’s an old joke: What was the Zen Buddhist’s order at the hot dog cart? “Make me one with everything.” Back when I started sitting, around 30 years ago, that was pretty much the way I approached it. By meditating, I was going to accomplish something. I was going to […]

No, Your Mind Can’t Be Uploaded to a Computer

By Paul Thomas Zenki

Sorry, folks, but digital immortality by upload is impossible … Like the song says, “everyone wants to be on a postage stamp, but nobody wants to die.” And lately, one of the hottest topics for those who’d like to keep the party going forever is mind uploading, the notion that we can transfer our consciousness […]

Why I Literally Taxed Myself, and Got Happier

By Paul Thomas Zenki

Plus, it made others happier, too … Can paying taxes actually make you happier? Well, yeah. Just think about it. How many things are you happy to have that you could never pay for if they weren’t funded by taxes? The roads, the parks, a justice system, universal education, a social safety net (’cause you […]

The One Sentence That Shatters the Trumpist Fantasy

By Paul Thomas Zenki

What Trump’s supporters refuse to understand … We’ve been to this rodeo before. What should be a crystal clear case against Don Trump’s betrayal of American democracy gets lost in a fog of distraction — while the news media keep churning the air.

Why I Stopped Forgiving People… and Maybe You Should, Too

By Paul Thomas Zenki

Forgiveness was turning me into a chump … Forgive and forget, right? I used to think that. I don’t anymore. Now look, I know I’m up against some real heavy hitters here when I say maybe you should stop forgiving people. After all, isn’t forgiveness a cornerstone of the major religions?

Why Science Should Take the Soul Seriously 

By Paul Thomas Zenki

Long relegated to the realms of religion, myth, and superstition, the soul is actually our most useful concept for a scientific approach to what it means to be a person …  In the spring of 2005, the Woodside Hospice in Pinnelas Park, Florida, became ground-zero of a national debate over life, death, human rights, and […]

The Art of Being Lost

By Paul Thomas Zenki

The cicadas are four years early. They were supposed to emerge from their underground burrows in 2021, but the seventeen-year cicadas — or some of them anyway — have gotten itchy and decided 2017 is close enough for rock and roll. Entomologists have no idea why this generation has decided to buck the system, but […]

Information Is Making Fools Of Us All

By Paul Thomas Zenki

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? If not, here it is in a nutshell…. People who only know a little about something tend to overestimate their understanding of it, while experts tend to underestimate their own expertise. That may seem strange at first glance, but when you stop and think, it makes sense. When […]

We’re All Just Turtles On A Beach

By Paul Thomas Zenki

I like taking vacations alone. In fact, I like places where there’s no internet, no TV, sometimes even no cell phone connections. Few years back, I was spending just such a solo trip on Andros Island in the Bahamas — which is about the size of the state of Delaware and has roughly the population […]