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Thought-provoking prose of the wild and human, seated in the sublime, seasoned with irreverence.

With inspiring and informative creative essays, Earth Muffin Memos motivates you to instigate positive environmental, social and cultural change on our planet. Articles offer an alternative perspective and commentary on both current and timeless topics involving our environment, connecting to nature, disconnecting from technology, mountain and outdoor culture, sustainability, stewardship, community, modern culture, equality, humanitarian endeavors, communication and beyond. 

A Malevolent Malaise

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

By Molly Murfee


"Like the mountain goat we climb summits, our vision obliterated with waves of peaks and wide-open air. Above treeline, in the ancient alpine meadows, the sky stretches so taut, it begins to rip apart. Openness beyond open. All of that space. The ability to see so far. Our minds become clear. Time. Stretches. Perspective." - "From the Mountains to the World" by Molly Murfee

It is all of it. It is that you can buy assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines at all. Guns at Wal-Mart. No background checks at gun shows. It is that it is too easy. It is that there are more requirements to get a driver’s license than a gun license. It is that we are attached to our guns as part of our status, our definition, our history, our rebellion, our independence - a cultural extension of ourselves. It is that our society and culture are sick. It is that we value money and power above all else. It is that our expectations of monetary success, of physical success, of social success are so high as to be unobtainable. It is comparing and not living up. It is unbalanced capitalism creating a culture of isolation – all for me, none for you. Competition not cooperation. Getting yours is a threat to mine. It’s that we see limit, not abundance. Over and over and over again it is white men. It’s what we do with men and emotion. There is no outlet. It is fear. It is othering. It is thinking someone else must surely be responsible. It becomes racism. Sexism. It is desperation and poverty. Inequality. It is economic disparity and discrimination and despair. It is not listening. It is dichotomy instead of acceptance, openness. It is that we have lost a sense of general morality or responsibility or ethics in our treatment of each other and this planet, regardless of religious preference. It’s that we are separated from each other, from the earth, from community, by screens, by rampant individualism, and the subsequent false belonging to chat rooms full of hate. It is that our arteries and veins pump with chemicals and radio waves and speed and noise and congestion with the absurdity of the expectations of modern life and our psyches suffer. It is mental illness, and a health care system that doesn’t honor its treatment. It is that people don’t feel cared for and they aren’t. It is struggle. It is depression. There is no holding. It is drug addiction. Adrenaline addiction. Material addiction. It is not hunting for sustenance. These are weapons made for killing humans. Messages are confusing. The sides shout. Murder is bad. The death penalty is okay. Abortion is bad. Guns are not. War is okay. Killing thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, is okay. Mass shootings are not. It is the trivialization of life. It’s honoring war and violence and justified anger through all of our media. There are too many bad examples and not enough good ones. It is exalting aggression instead of grace. It is that we hold so tight onto our Constitutional rights that we venture beyond reason. It is greed in the form of lobbyists. Love of power from politicians. Corruption in our process. It is having too many balls, then not enough. It is not enough scrutiny in some places, and too much in others. This is the manifestation. Gunproof backpacks for children are not okay. Gun drills in schools are not okay. Walking in fear is not okay. There is no silver bullet, no single prayer. It’s violence in general. Hate in general. Greed in general. It is rule by money instead of sense. It’s too easy access. It is all of it.


We must fix our society at the root. It is about creating a culture of care, of safety, of community, of support, of love, of outreach, of openness, of equality, of accepted diversity, of peace, of value. It is addressing the underlying social malaise that paves this road of discontent that leads a person to pull a trigger. It is addressing the policies that give that person too easy of an access to ammunition. It is about regulation that sensibly protects human life. It is not this or that. One more dichotomy in which to divide, looking for rhetoric with which to align. It is all of it. This is the traumatic outlet. A final explosion, a barrage of bullets, a sign of the times, telling us again and again telling us – we’re doing it wrong, we’re doing it wrong, we’re doing it wrong.

About Molly

Creative non-fiction and place-based author Molly Murfee’s favorite muse is wilderness and its inherent metaphor, especially as it winds through the passion and tenacity of mountain people living in the rhythms of their untamed home. She believes writing is a powerful vehicle for change - educating and motivating towards the preservation of our wild places and the assurance of human rights. Molly is a devoted op-ed columnist in her home community in the Southern Rocky Mountains, freelance writer, field educator and wilderness guide. She holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in literature, specializing in creative, nature and environmental writing with over 400 published articles (and counting) and a book project in process. For more on Molly, her writing and her teachings visit www.mollymurfee.com

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Thought-provoking prose of the wild and human,

seated in the sublime, seasoned with irreverence.

With inspiring and informative creative essays, Earth Muffin Memos motivates you to instigate positive environmental, social and cultural change on our planet. Articles offer an alternative perspective and commentary on both current and timeless topics involving our environment, connecting to nature, disconnecting from technology, mountain and outdoor culture, sustainability, stewardship, community, modern culture, equality, humanitarian endeavors, communication and beyond. 

Receive the Earth Muffin Memos blog and newsletter in your inbox and additionally stay informed about Molly’s upcoming workshops in writing, connecting in nature, building community, backcountry travel ethics skills and beyond.

Advertise on

Earth Muffin Memos

Earth Muffin Memos provides ad space for organizations and businesses doing good in the world.

Carry Earth Muffin Memos in Your Publication

As a syndicated column, Earth Muffin Memos is available for publication in newspapers, journals and e-publications.

Connect with Molly

to discuss your advertising & syndicate column options

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Become a vehicle for environmental, social and cultural change by financially supporting Molly’s writing and teaching endeavors, including the free distribution of the Earth Muffin Memos blog

© Molly Murfee 2020

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