David King, MSc, PhD
Writer, Teacher, and Health Psychologist


"We need not to be let alone. We need to be
really bothered once in a while. How long
is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something
real?" (Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451)
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I have recently found myself faced with a peculiar conflict (of the existential variety). In my heart of hearts, I have long considered myself a socialist. I say this not in a strictly political sense, but in a moral one (I would more formally describe myself as a progressive liberal). I am sensitive to the connections among us. I see them in both the daily minutia and my life as it unfolds more broadly. Undoubtedly, we are all connected. We are all mutually dependent—even at our greatest distances, and in our most desolate of separations. As Carl Sagan (and many others) have reminded us, “we are made of starstuff.” The romanticized nucleosynthetic origins of our finer components (carbon, oxygen, etc.) might be augmented only by the preceding origins of hydrogen and helium during the Big Bang. With such temporal depth … Keep Reading Here

Due Conservation: The Humanity of Non-Human Rights

by David King on September 17, 2014

baby elephant

This past summer I taught a course on personality psychology. At the end of the final lecture, I shared a thought that went something like this:

It doesn’t matter to me if you like animals. There are many people out there who do not like children, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to abuse children, or to torture them, or to use them for some purpose. What I hope I have occasionally demonstrated in this course is that like people, animals are also individuals. They too have personalities, and by extension, they have some sort of inalienable rights that at least approximate the human concept of personhood.

You see, I have gained a bit of a reputation in my courses to present animal models of human concepts where possible. Not only are they useful teaching tools, but the feedback from … Keep Reading Here

principles of an ecological morality

In this essay, I outline six principles of human morality within an ecological context. From nature, a code of values and ethics may be extracted and applied to human systems so as to benefit both human and non-human constituents. The first principle, diversity, may be seen as a foundation for the remaining five. In diversity we find renewed strength and productivity across domains, acknowledging variety and discrepancy as opportunities for growth and insight. The second principle, interdependence, speaks to our mutual reliance on one another and on all life. By nature of such connectedness, we inherit an innate agency, such that all actions or lack thereof lead to meaningful consequences within the system, impacting other constituents. No matter the level of analysis, all systems exist in a state of perpetual flux. Such constancy of change is … Keep Reading Here

Restoring Humanity: An Appeal to Kindness

by TamilSelvan Ramis on July 21, 2013


Preface from David: In an effort to support the voices of others who are similarly bothered, I am publishing a letter from a previous student with whom I had the pleasure to associate briefly at the University of British Columbia. Selvan was an outstanding student, and recognized as such by the university via multiple undergraduate awards of the highest caliber. Yet more importantly, he is a respectable global citizen, demonstrating a relentless passion for human rights and freedoms which I had the opportunity to witness firsthand. This letter is a plea – a plea to stand up for humanity, and to take a participatory role in its rescue. In this way, it is also a plea to get bothered, and to start thinking critically and seriously about the future of humanity. I implore everyone to get more active. Please Keep Reading Here

Hope Elusive: Getting Bothered over Bees & Bags

by David King on May 29, 2013


Since this blog’s conception, I have tried to focus on topics and issues of the less obvious sort. My goal was (and remains) to get people thinking about things like time and space and what it means to be human – what it means to live in this world. I wanted to tackle big issues, engage people on an existential level, and really challenge everyday thinking. To this end, I have decidedly ignored many issues that have seeped into mainstream media, no matter how bothersome. But my motivation for this has really been two-fold. In addition to avoiding redundancy and offering something new, I also made the assumption that my readers were already bothered by all of those things. I presumed the thoughts and feelings of an unseen audience, and implicit in this was the belief that intelligence was relatively … Keep Reading Here

Confronting Concrete: The Catch-7 of City Living

by David King on May 26, 2013


I’m tired of the city. Really, really tired of it.

I suppose it’s not the city itself that I’m tired of. It’s what the city has removed that I find myself longing for. I’m tired of the absence of nature; of perfectly aligned trees and genetically enhanced flowerbeds. I’m tired of manufactured landscapes and concrete views. I miss the connection. I miss life – the kind that isn’t constantly motivated by coffee breaks and cocktails on patios.

Such feelings may come as a surprise, given my current location. And sure, Vancouver is a city with more natural beauty than most. But it is nonetheless still a city. Trees have been replaced by towers of glass and cement. Pristine bays once frequented by orcas now function as parking spaces for freighters and shipping vessels. The nature that remains has been quarantined, … Keep Reading Here

Something Less than Decent

by David King on April 27, 2013


We have become complacent. And in error, we desire to be content, above all else.

In my early twenties, I had come to the conclusion that judgment was indeed something to be avoided, at least consciously, in so much that I had no right to compare my losses to those of others; no right to judge my experiences as better or as worse. By extension, I had no right to offer advice either directly or narrowly, for to do so required a judgment of what was best for someone else. Such judgments once seemed reckless, for who was I? Whether it was complacency per se, I am not quite sure. But despite its original intentions of respect and political correctness (as well as a recognition of the natural variability in human experience and perception), my commitment to all suggestions absent … Keep Reading Here

Fill It Wisely, Fill It With Love Stories

by David King on February 14, 2013

David (1987)

Do we all want the same things?

I’m 31 years old, and I’m not sure of everything I want.

But I am sure of some things…

I want adventure. When I was young, I wanted to be a paleontologist, an astronomer, and a zoologist all in the span of five or six years. My nights were spent dreaming of space, and my days were spent sketching dinosaurs and building sewers out of cardboard for my Ninja Turtle action figures. Today, adventure is dreamed up a little differently, as something closer to seeing the world. Ideally, I would save it, if such an adventure were possible.

I want stability. The most stable time in my life was when my parents were together and I never knew of loss. I remember feeling this extreme sense of sadness and grief over the mere … Keep Reading Here

Pieces Collected Along the Way, All of Us

by David King on December 14, 2011

I walk down the street, and a stranger makes eye contact. She smiles, and continues passing by.

Sometimes, when I look closely, I see myself as a collection of everyone else. In truth, maybe that’s all we are – pieces collected along the way.

In the last three years, I have nearly drowned in anecdotal evidence of the idea that life isn’t always what we expect. And indeed, I have had very few recent expectations actually materialize. In some cases, expectations ended traumatically, while others drifted more slowly.

But there is beauty in the breakdown, or so they say. The greatest gift of life lies not in the materialization of one’s dreams and visions, but in the amazing ability of life to show you that the impossible is never rightly so; and that dreams and visions matter but they stand … Keep Reading Here

Nature, Naturally

by David King on October 24, 2010

In the midst our daily hassles and misfortunes, we often find ourselves in need of more. Sometimes wanting more means wanting another person, a particular someone who will lift us up, or love us. Other times, wanting more means wanting peace, or quiet, or time to ourselves to reflect – and perhaps even dream.

This ‘longing for more’ is an inherent quality of being human. Striving, goal-setting, progress – these are fundamental aspects of being alive. But they are also fundamental sources of hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair, for the pressure is enormous. As individual human beings, we MUST progress. We MUST endure. We MUST work, and build, and accomplish. This constant force is often life-defining, but with its enormous weight comes abundant opportunities for failure. And it is in these moments that we often lose ourselves.

Some cope with such … Keep Reading Here