Jordan Bates

I’ve been traveling in the Philippines and Indonesia for about twenty-five days, but it feels like much longer than that. As per usual, time curiously expands when familiarity and routine are exchanged for novelty and daily choose-your-own-adventure games. The distinction between weekdays and weekends, one week and the next week, ceases to exist, and in [...]

Reflections on the “cosmic perspective” and what to remember when feeling powerless to change the world. I finally started watching the new Cosmos series the other day. You know, the remake of Carl Sagan’s classic 1980s science documentary-show? The one about science and the universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson as intergalactic guide? Yeah, that one. I’m [...]

In Nietzsche’s most popular book, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, he described what would become one of his most memorable theories—that of the Übermensch. In English versions of the work of Nietzsche, “Übermensch” is translated as “Superman” or “Overman”. The term “Superman” has adopted many connotations as a result of the comic book hero in popular culture, so for most [...]

“They just have a different reality tunnel, and every reality tunnel might tell us something interesting about our world, if we are willing to listen.” — Robert Anton Wilson Robert Anton Wilson, if you’re unaware, was something of a countercultural Gandalf, a white-haired wizard of skepticism and subversion. Wilson lived a remarkably diverse life, becoming, at [...]

“Knowledge emerges only through . . . the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” Paulo Freire A few weeks ago, I wrote an essay that decried the inadequacies of our mass education systems and made a case for an autodidactic approach to learning. In that [...]

I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe. — R. Buckminster Fuller If you ask my parents, they’ll tell you that I came [...]

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places [...]

“Aren’t there parts of ourselves that are just better left unfed?” David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster and Other Essays is a rare sort of book—one which traverses boldly across numerous disciplines to dissect the dark underbelly of modern American culture, politics, and society. Published nearly 10 years ago, Wallace’s conscientious commentary remains utterly poignant today, and [...]

I arrive in the dimly lit entryway of Daejeo-Jungang Elementary School and immediately remove my dress shoes, trading them for a pair of slide sandals, my indoor footwear. I take a small step upwards from the entryway onto the old, stained wood panel floor that flows throughout the school. As I do this, I unconsciously [...]

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” ― Isaac Asimov I was always an “outstanding” student. I earned top grades throughout my high school and university education, pulverized standardized tests, was a National Merit Scholar, and went to college on a cushy full-ride academic scholarship. I was diligent, clever, and dead-set [...]

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