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

Africa is (literally) the future

Africa, the continent with the youngest population in the world, is very literally the future. More specially, South Africa, with its progressive constitution that lead the world in terms of dealing with questions around gender and race relations; and it’s early warnings around the limits of the social contract and the (now global) energy crunch, … Continue reading Africa is (literally) the future

the 1000 Year Project

It's about time you reclaimed the future. Especially the far future, which we all seem to have forgotten about. The possibility of the far future has got lost amongst the perma-crisis that clouds geopolitics literally (or less so, depending on where in the world you live...). But here's the thing : there are no rules … Continue reading the 1000 Year Project

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

As above, so below

I've been thinking lately about codes. Not cryptography, but rather the codes by which we govern our lives. At the societal level, the two critical poles come down to trust or control (or liberty or authority). At the individual level, this becomes a choice to be governed by duty or by authority. Similar to how … Continue reading As above, so below

Spin and doctors

The new field of “behavioural linguistics” is very similar to the more well known behavioural economics; in that they are both are part of the same discipline of persuasion, essentially looking at behavioural science principles and how you can apply various ‘behavioural nudges’ to help guide people in specific directions towards particular goals and outcomes; … Continue reading Spin and doctors

Real Scarcity

There is lots to celebrate about creating abundance out of scarcity. Creating scarcity out of abundance, however, is not a fantastic look for any society. And yet here we are - trying to do just that - to create legal monopolies out of thin air. Patents, copyrights, and now, NFTs all fall into this bastard … Continue reading Real Scarcity

The fine print

Perhaps the biggest policy skeleton key of them all has to be single-payer, free-at-the-point-of-purchase (that is, paid for by strangers) national health insurance / social security. This is, let us be frank, a new experiment. The first test subjects are still alive, and the future sustainability of these nice entitlements is far from guaranteed. What … Continue reading The fine print