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News and Commentary of Note, Early August Edition

Outspoken traveler (and inspiration for my North Korea trip) Paul Karl Lukacs explains how being a digital nomad isn't without negative dangers. While he's largely right, I will comment that your employability post-travel largely depends on overall demand for your profession. During travel, unless you're already an independent worker, good luck finding someone to let you work remotely and -- inevitably -- erratically.

Meanwhile, over at The Smart Set, Jessa Crispin points out that travel isn't necessarily life-changing or incredibly deep. And here it is:

There are things that extensive travel teaches you, such as how not to be afraid, or at least how to tell the difference between times you should have fear and times there’s no need for it. It teaches you how to discard things you don’t need, whether that be a couple of shirts so you can bring back all the books you bought, or your need for security and certainty. Using that information in everyday life is the tricky part. I’m not saying it should not be done, that it’s a worthless exercise. Travel is a choice. You go or you don’t. Staying at home offers as many opportunities for growth and transformation and brain rewiring and whatever other trademarked terms you’d like to use here. If you’re the type of person who is more scared of staying home than wandering back out there, it perhaps holds more.

And she's right. I think that there's many reasons to travel, and doing it with the intention of having some life-changing experience is asking for trouble, or trying to justify what is ultimately just a lifestyle choice by giving it needless spiritual overtones.

Meanwhile, the BBC notes that one in six Dutch clergymen in the mainstream Protestant denominations identify themselves as either agnostic or atheist. They have shifted their focus to justifying the existence of the church as a positive social institution, which it can be. But, then, why limit their purview to Christianity, rather than move towards a scientifically-informed church of secular humanism?

Coincidentally, USA Today just carried a well-written editorial from a biologist, explaining how atheists can be moral. That this idea has made it to USA Today hopefully demonstrates that these ideas, first introduced to me years ago in books like Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate, are gaining traction in the mainstream of American thought.