All posts in category Thoughts

Faith in Humanity

There’s a quote from the glossary at the end of Star Maker – a book so good that even its glossary is worth quoting at length – that came back to me today. I’ve mentioned it before, but hadn’t thought about it for a while. I believe that it encapsulates most clearly what the world […]

Art Is Not Politics

It has become fashionable to treat art as politics. The inclusion of millionaires of a certain gender or “race” in the latest corporate entertainment product is taken to signify an improvement in the conditions of people who share superficial traits with those individuals, even as nothing changes in their wages, pensions, rights, or healthcare situation. […]

We Are Not A Virus

In recent decades, there has been a growing tendency in the politics and philosophy of ecology that can only be described as anti-humanist. While this doesn’t constitute a coherent movement as such, there are several ideological assertions that crop up repeatedly across the entire spectrum of anti-humanist thought. The anti-humanist argument tends to include the […]

Human Nature

We can’t create a better economic system. We can’t beat cancer. We can’t achieve interstellar travel. We can’t overthrow the Czar. We can’t beat the plague. We can’t create machines that fly. We can’t overthrow the kings. We can’t prevent the infants from dying. We can’t cross the oceans. We can’t work together with the […]

Voting, Democracy, and the People

Whenever another election nears, the world fills up with paeans to the power of voting and doom-filled laments about people failing to do their democratic duty. Whenever someone suggests that people should actively avoid voting, no matter how they arrived at this conclusion, they are immediately hit by an immense amount of outrage, usually expressed […]

An Authentic Opinion

In online debates, the idea will frequently show up that people who don’t belong to a particular (ethnic, sexual, cultural) group are not only ethically wrong to express an opinion on that group’s political situation, but are in fact incapable of doing so accurately due to being somehow essentially different from people belonging to that […]

Error and Sin

It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that makes them angels, but because they do not expect holiness from one another, but from God alone. – William Blake One of the major issues any social group has to figure out how to deal with is disagreement. Disagreement is inevitable, a natural […]

The Good Stuff

I’ve been depressed lately. OK, bit of an understatement there. It’s actually been pretty crippling. On some days I barely function. I’m not going to bore you with the details, except for the one relevant bit: most of the reasons I’m depressed are not personal. My work’s going well and my marriage is a source […]

Austerity Ecology

I’ve been struggling to articulate just why this book is so tremendously important – not because it’s hard to talk about, but because it’s just so full of utterly vital ideas and arguments. I want to see this book in every library and on every political reading list. If you have even the slightest interest […]

Worship the Algorithm

Imagine there was a civilization that worshipped an algorithm. Not used an algorithm – understanding and applying it – but worshipped it. A civilization that allowed all of its capabilities to be guided by numbers produced by this algorithm without even remotely understanding what they meant. A civilization that made important decisions about its resources […]