Author Archive | Tamim Ansary

Writing Workshop: Memoir

Life/Story is a workshop for writers who are working on a memoir or have a project in mind. Five writers get together with Ansary for two-hour meetings to discuss their work. Each writer submits a piece by email beforehand.  Writers can share excerpts from a work-in-progress, stand-alone narrative pieces, outlines, and ruminations on the structure […]

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Public Good

    The Public Good      I worry that the idea of a common good is declining. Suddenly, for example, that dour intellectual battleaxe of the 1950s, Ayn Rand, has found an enthusiastic new audience among young adults. This is the same Ayn Rand who identified self-interest as the highest good and preached that […]

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Not Your Founding Father’s Democracy

      Not Your (Founding) Father’s Democracy       Another gut-wrenching presidential campaign season screams into full gear. What a process! Why on Earth did the founders ever craft such a system? Actually, they didn’t. The process we are in the middle of bears little resemblance to the one that put George Washington […]

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The Case for Liberal Arts

     Higher Education   The Case for Liberal Arts       It’s too soon to write obituaries for the classic, residential, liberal arts college. Applications at my own alma mater, Reed College, are up. Ditto for Haverford, Williams, and all their ilk. But why would anyone pay for an education that provides no concrete […]

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What Is Money?

Puzzled Musing   What Is Money?     I once ran across a a website called Zeitgeist that was peddling a paranoid conspiracy theory about money and the Federal Reserve and banking in general. The paranoia seemed to stem from the writers’ observation that in the money system as it currently stands, banks create money […]

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legalize pot

    Lessons from Amsterdam     Legalize Pot Already     Debby and I went to Amsterdam recently and did a number of fun things besides smoke dope legally. Actually, we never got around to smoking dope legally. I wanted to. I intended to. There was a “coffeehouse” (as they’re called) half a block […]

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The Self as Village

    Improving the Inner Village    The World Health Organization defines health as that state in which a person not only copes with problems but seeks them out. I think of health as the underlying condition that enables a person to live a life of unbroken concentration and absorption. In the well-known Zen parable, […]

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Afghanistan 2012

      In March of 2012, I went to Afghanistan for the first time in 10 years.  That last time, ten years ago, America had recently taken control of the country and the new Karzai government was just getting seated. Now, in 2012, the American occupation is supposedly winding down and there is no […]

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Occupy Deconstructed

    (Don’t) Occupy Oakland   I keep wanting to say a few words about the Occupy movement, but everything I want to say has been said by someone at this point. Yet the urge to say a few words about Occupy doesn’t abate, so I’ll go ahead and say this much: I was all […]

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