Why Optimism Makes People Angry

Why does optimism make people angry? If you even mention the word in mixed company, not only do you get ridiculed and treated as though you are a little simple, it actually makes people angry. At you. But why is this? As a natural pessimist (I am terrible cynic) I have a few ideas. Pessimism, … Continue reading Why Optimism Makes People Angry

Consider the Lobster (and Friends)

“…a peculiarly American loneliness: the prospect of dying without having once loved something more than yourself" ~ David Foster Wallace Sex and loneliness (and how porn may, indeed, be more human than Hollywood after all). How masculinity is falling out of fashion. Critical culture wars over words (and how he who controls the dictionary controls … Continue reading Consider the Lobster (and Friends)

2022 – Another Year in Books

What I read in 2022, the comprehensive list. How to read this list: *  = Recommend** = Really recommendNC = No comment (or, really, do not bother)RR = Re-readF = FictionNF = Non-fictionP = Plays This year's list is (far) shorter than usual. I had a lot going on that's none of your business. I don't post … Continue reading 2022 – Another Year in Books

The Ordeal of Change

A couple of quotes from the ever-quotable Erick Hoffer's The Ordeal of Change (which is really more of a list of life advice than a "book" per say: “One cannot escape the impression that the intellectual’s most fundamental incompatibility is with the masses. He has managed to thrive in social orders dominated by kings, nobles, … Continue reading The Ordeal of Change

2021 a Year in Books

What I read in 2021, the comprehensive list. How to read this list: *  = Recommend** = Really recommendNC = No comment (or, really, do not bother)RR = Re-readF = FictionNF = Non-fictionP = Plays No, I won't be posting purchase links, I suggest you purchase a copy of whatever sounds interesting from your favourite local second … Continue reading 2021 a Year in Books

The Future Starts Now

Yes, this is technically my own book - but I only wrote one of the 20 essays, so I am really more of a reader than a writer here too. Agency is a tricky thing. The less we use it, the more we lose it. The more we give up and outsource our responsibilities, the … Continue reading The Future Starts Now

Cultural Amnesia

"But in Rome, the consuls, the Senate, the knights, rushed headlong into servitude" ~ Tacitus What an utterly extraordinary book. There are not many people who made me feel badly read - Clive James is one of them. Clive James's Cultural Amnesia is an incredible, rich, well researched provocative book. It is a collection of … Continue reading Cultural Amnesia

The Beginning of Infinity

David Deutsch's The Beginning of Infinity is such an important book. For a start it's unashamedly optimistic (which is heretical these days). Indeed, it defends optimism as not only being rational (after all, if we project the likelihood of tomorrows's problems with today;'s technology and understanding, we are bound to err on the side of … Continue reading The Beginning of Infinity

We have been harmonised

We Have Been Harmonised by Kai Strittmatter makes for uncomfortable reading. The book details the seemingly unstoppable slide towards the total surveillance state (or the 360 degree, 4D WiFi curtain, as I like to call our emerging omniscient open air prison reality), not just in the Communist Party of China's China, but all over the … Continue reading We have been harmonised