Day Tripping

by Joan Harvey It was inevitable. Michael Pollan’s justly lauded book, How to Change Your Mind, was going to lead straight, sensible, old people to doing drugs. “Today I am a middle-aged journalist working in London, the finance editor of The Economist, a wife, mother, and, to all appearances, a person totally devoid of countercultural…

Batty

by Joan Harvey Nightfall. Outside a low elongated cave entrance a small group of humans sit waiting on stone ledges facing the dark aperture. Kestrels begin to soar close in the late evening sky. Snakes too are gathering below, we’re told, but they aren’t in view. This is Bracken Cave, 20 miles from San Antonio,…

Deranged

by Joan Harvey If you can get the old voting against state-subsidized healthcare, and the poor voting in favor of cuts to inheritance tax, then democratic capitalism really is workable after all. —Malcolm Bull As the objective view of the world recedes, it is replaced by intuition as to which way things are heading now.…

The Return of the Repressed: Freud Sneaks Back into Neuroscience

by Joan Harvey Our expectations sculpt neural activity, causing our brains to represent the outcomes of our actions as we expect them to unfold. This is consistent with a growing psychological literature suggesting that our experience of our actions is biased towards what we expect. —Daniel Yon Because consciousness is something common to all of us,…

Vulnerability, Violence, and the Political Uses of Frustration

by Joan Harvey What made him a great poet was the unprotesting willingness with which he yielded to the ‘curse’ of vulnerability to ‘human unsuccess’ on all levels of human existence—vulnerability to the crookedness of the desires, to the infidelities of the heart, to the injustices of the world. —Hannah Arendt on Auden[i] Sometimes we…