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“Objectively speaking, we live in the easiest time to be alive that humanity has ever experienced.”

That’s what I opened with a couple of years ago, when I started writing what would become Volume One of the Modern Survival Guide. I still stand by these words, but with some rather pointed caveats as we close in on the tail end of 2020, because it’s been one hell of a year.

I’m no longer as confident in the stability of American democracy.

I’m no longer as confident in the capacity of the average American citizen.

I’m no longer as confident in the ability of our society to meet challenges. …


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About two years ago I started a project called the Modern Survival Guide, which was intended to be a series of essays on things I think people ought to know about living in the modern world. It was a project that I’m not ashamed to say I picked up out of frustration.

There’s just so much going on these days, and so many people who I thought desperately needed something like this. I was frustrated with the number of brutally ignorant people who make it to adulthood, and wanted to write something that might help the more open-minded of them.

Two years later, and I’ve realized that I was one of those people. Because of course I was. …


The Modern Survival Guide #117

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This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. And as an elder millennial, cis-gender male who grew up in the American south, for much of my life I held the view that there are two genders — male and female — and that the genders naturally do different things. That worldview is very common in the US, and it’s important for our survival in the modern world to realize that it is incorrect.

So let’s take a moment to unpack what happened to lead us down this cultural path, how it affects us, and why it’s wrong. Because as we will see, this isn’t a simple issue and it goes counter to a few thousand years’ worth of cultural baggage. …


The Modern Survival Guide #116

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. And before we get any further, let me clear this out of the way: No, I am not claiming to be a sex god or anything silly like that. I consider myself competent, with continual room for improvement, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go in self-adulation.

But I’ve had some fantastic sex in my life, and I’ve had some awful sex in my life, and I’ve learned from all of it. Based on that, I think there are seven simple, easy to remember tips for good sex that are clear enough for me to pass on even if I’m not the be-all-end-all expert on the subject.¹ …


The Modern Survival Guide #115

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Photo by Flora Westbrook from Pexels

This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. That’s an important caveat for this article in particular, because when I start talking about a “positive relationship,” it is absolutely inevitable that my own personal biases and opinions will creep in. You might disagree, and that’s fine. …


The Modern Survival Guide #114

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Photo by Life Matters from Pexels

This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. Today we need to talk about an issue that keeps coming up in America, and which directly impacts the survival of many of our fellow citizens: our justice system is pretty fucked up. Specifically, we have a problem where the US criminal justice system disproportionately punishes non-white citizens. Our justice system is not equitable, and that is hurting us. All of us.

So let’s start by getting the elephants in the room all out in the open, then we can talk about why this is a big damn problem in the US and what we can do about it. …


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Over the last few weeks, my faith in the the American experiment finally crumbled.

It was a long time coming.

Any student of history can easily look up the vast quantities of heinous shit that our country has perpetrated in the past. Any student of politics can tell you how perilous and tenuous our democratic system really is. Any student of morals can point to the various and sundry ways that American culture is toxic. Anyone with a knowledge of healthcare can tell you that our nation’s system is backward. Any serious economist knows our blind worship of unfettered capitalism is dangerous. Any student of warfare can point to the various tactical and strategic errors America has made over the past thirty years. Anyone even passingly familiar with the concept of race relations knows that America is now and always has been a culture with deep roots in racism and xenophobia. …


The Modern Survival Guide #113

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. And one of the things that is increasingly apparent about modern life, especially in this time of COVID-19, is that almost everyone will be a patient in a hospital at some point. It’s kind of unavoidable; you either die young or live long enough to see yourself need advanced medical care.

The good news is, modern hospitals are pretty good. Here’s the thing, though: hospitals, however well they are run, however high-tech they might be, are concentrations of sick people, are run by human beings, and, in the US, are often for-profit institutions. That gives you major risk factors that need to be accounted for if you want to (1) receive good treatment and (2) survive to go home while (3) not going bankrupt. …


A Modern Survival Guide Interlude

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You’re reading the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook for navigating and interacting with the modern world. This essay is an interlude, an article that talks about a tip for modern living. This isn’t a philosophical insight, or a deep discussion of human impulses, or an explanation of some major phenomenon; it’s just something people might need to know. And one thing everyone ought to know is how to give a solid presentation.

So let’s cover the basics. First of all, this is an art, not a science. I’ll get into all the ways that’s the case later on, but for right now let’s settle one thing up front: everything I’m about to tell you should be tailored to your target audience. Take nothing as gospel, treat nothing as an absolute. …


The Modern Survival Guide #112

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Photo by Luca Nardone from Pexels

This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. And if there’s one thing I have learned in this life, it’s that nothing good is ever safe. Not one single good thing survives on its own; everything — and I do mean everything — has an enemy. The tree in the park has an enemy. The soup kitchen down the street has an enemy. Your favorite ice cream brand has an enemy. All things strive, but sometimes they strive in opposite directions. …

About

Allen Faulton

Searching for truth in a world focused on belief.

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