Sign in

Writing. Literature. Philosophy. Culture. Ph.D. University of Arizona. Author of The Kingdom of Absurdities and other novels. BTC/ETH/ADA: bgatenby.crypto

On random accidents and death

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

In The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade tells a story about a man named Stan Flitcraft, who “owned a house in a Tacoma suburb, a new Packard, and the rest of the appurtenances of successful American living.” One day, he left his real estate office for lunch and never returned. A few years later, his wife hires Spade to find out what happened to him.


Trofim Lysenko

A science based on convictions is not science. Science based on opinions or ideology is not science. Consider Trofim Lysenko, Soviet scientist, whose anti-Mendelian genetics were the basis of an agricultural policy that resulted in millions dying of famine. Lysenko believed in the idea of Lamarckian inheritance, which proved deadly wrong in practice. Any scientific dissent from Lysenko’s conviction was made illegal in the Soviet Union in 1948 and hundreds of scientists were literally “cancelled” for their dissent from Lysenko’s obviously wrong conviction.


The greater the obstacles, the more freedom from oppression

Photo by Edrece Stansberry on Unsplash

We act as if Twitter has created a shit-show of opinions, that there was once some golden age of unity and mutual respect in argument before social media became the popular go-to place for moronic opinions and mob idiocy.


The mysterious willingness of the technologically educated masses to fall for despotism.

Photo by Mark de Jong on Unsplash

We have achieved the administered state.


On the tyrannomania of the new cultural “elite.”

Photo by Huang Yingone on Unsplash

One of the major benefits of leaving academia is being able to enjoy literature again. Instead of “interrogating” texts for crimes against [fill in your bias blank] in the name of social justice or critical race theory, I can once again just read books for enjoyment and occasional enlightenment.


“Far behind the eye the quest begins.” — Samuel Beckett, “Ill Seen Ill Said”

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

It’s the ones who suffer who sit in their rooms alone and write, suffering, alone, feeling the need to share their suffering and loneliness with others who may or may not sit in their rooms, suffering, alone, whether or not they feel the need to write or just sit in their rooms, suffering, alone, it’s this lack of others who understand suffering and loneliness that the sufferers and the lonely want most to bring an end to, writing about their suffering, their loneliness, to connect with…


The pendulum swings back toward the herd

In The Joyous Science, Nietzsche points out that for most of human history it was not a pleasure but a punishment to be alone, to signify being an individual. “Free thinking was regarded as inherently disquieting.” To act independently, to go against the herd was immoral; the more a person went along with the herd, the less they harmed the herd, the less of an individual they were, the more moral they were considered.


The absence of hardship is the hardship.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

As 2020 slouches toward 2021, we’ll soon be inundated by pundits and journalists with tens of thousands of wasted words on worst year ever! and the meaning of it all, words typed by the very same pundits and journalists who’ve spent most of 2020 pumping up the fear, pushing the fear, addicting people to the fear, all in the mighty quest for clickbait advertising dollars so they can keep their jobs while the rest of us lose ours to the fear. That’s the meaning of it all.


Fear is not just the mind killer, it’s the medium of media control

Photo by Tanner Yould on Unsplash

The media is a fear generation machine.


Status games in the crab bucket

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

We hear and read so much in the media about X is subverting our democracy, Y is destroying our democracy, Z is demolishing our democracy, ad infinitum, especially from journalists who were not hired for their knowledge (they basically have none), but for their ability to express outrage opinions designed to get clicks to drive the advertising revenue of their employers. Oh the outrage! Oh the clicks! Oh the advertising dollars flowing in!

Bruce Gatenby

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store