Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Mirror Neurons

Mirror neurons in the brain fire not only when an animal acts, but also when an animal observes another animal act.  Brain scientists at the University of Parma discovered these neurons in the late 1980′s. The discovery was made using new, non-invasive technologies that enable scientists to detect the activity or firing of single neurons… read more

Is This Really About Healthcare?

Like many, I have been taken aback by the coarse violence — and effective organization — of the backlash against President Obama’s proposed healthcare package.  The lying, shouting, and disruption of what might have been reasoned debates bodes ill for the political culture, and hence the political destiny, of this country.  During the neoconservative hysteria… read more

The Cassandra Syndrome

Last month, 57 people have lost their lives in eight mass shootings across America. “The killing grounds,” Timothy Egan wrote in the New York Times last week, “include a nursing home, a center for new immigrants, a child’s bedroom. Before that it was a church, a college, a daycare center.”  It is hard to argue… read more

Silver Linings

Forward-looking thinkers who are — for now — on the ‘prophetic’ fringe of mainstream economics have been saying for some time that the shocking fragility of our fiscal system, and our economy generally, is an ‘opportunity’ as well as a ‘crisis.’ In the words of David Korten of the Positive Futures Network, what we should… read more

Of Hope and Disappointment

“I feel like his campaign swindled the people of the USA into believing his administration would be something it surely will not be. “ On my 72nd birthday I stood in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza where, many years before, I was passionately involved in the Free Speech Movement, and watched Barack Obama become the 44th… read more

Mindless in Gaza

Revised January 14, 2009. I have just gotten off the phone with my friend and colleague Oren Yiftachel, a co-founder, with Dr. Eyad El Sarraj of Gaza, of the Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.  Prof. Yiftachel lives and works in Beer-Sheva, which is within range of the Qassam rockets coming from Gaza.  Yet when I asked… read more

The Death of Consumerism — or Humanity

A bit over thirty years ago I was listening to the news of the Jonestown massacre in Guyana, where 900 Americans committing suicide and murder, in some cases on their own children, at the behest of a deranged ‘charismatic’ cultist promising them rewards in Heaven.  Memories of this shock came back to me in an… read more