The Blazing World


And I was like “whoa” and he was like “whoa” and the sevenheaded beast was like “blergh”.

Barbara Ehrenreich is a trained scientist and a hardcore atheist historical materialist. And, like me, comes from a socialist tradition. She has written one of the best, most no-nonsense pieces on having cancer I’ve read, and she has taken part in the shredding of some of the most persistent irrational myths in modern American life: the “power” of positive thinking and the possibility of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps when the game is rigged against you.

So imagine my surprise when I read a piece by her in The New York Times on her mystical experiences in childhood and adolescence.

Something happened when I was 17 that shook my safely rationalist worldview and left me with a lifelong puzzle. Years later, I learned that this sort of event is…

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