Consider the human experience without social amnesia or ignorance. How much would our humanity change if we had perfect, albeit technologically facilitated, recall? Have we not evolved useful forgetfulness?...continue reading
Say you're a multinational with operations spread around various countries. You need to know where you can perform your operations most economically and efficiently, and you also need to factor the corporation tax you pay in different countries....continue reading
"Bleedback" is my name for a peculiar phenomenon that is well documented. Dramatic events are often prefigured in art and literature. There was a book published in the early 1900s that described the sinking of a mighty ocean liner called the Titan. The story featured many uncanny similarities to the Titanic incident a few years later....continue reading
Many balk at the idea of embracing the artificial, but how artificial are we already? How much of our outer selves is enhanced by bolt-on bits and pieces? What becomes of a "self" when it is a composite of commercial components, be those medical or cosmetic, off-the-peg or bespoke?...continue reading
If you can reconcile these statements, you are closer to enlightenment than you know:
<> When I was born I knew nothing of where I came or who I was.
<> When I die there will be longer exist a me to know or experience anything.
Nietzsche's concept of the "superman" intrigues me. What would the super version of you be? It is perhaps difficult to imagine, because the ideal *super* self would (should?) be fully unfettered of the programming of his/her primate caregivers and all other societal influencers, since nothing "super" in a self can be the product of less-than-super others.
That bond-breaking must be the first task of the freedom seeker. But can we conceive of a new self when the self we know is a composite of other people's ideas about how we should live and think? If others essentially define the individual, can we even imagine, let alone realize, a higher self? Do we have to reference the ideals of others to arrive at a notion of our own, super-realized being? If so, there is no self that is standing free and independently. There is only the self inflicted on us by circumstance and socialisation. Is there an authentic, "pure" self? Might that be the superman that we should strive for?
The ego is a puzzling phenomenon. When I was living overseas, every expat I encountered was richer and more fabulous than I could ever be. Every one was embarking on an amazing new business scheme (the specifics are a trade secret, sorry), was ex special forces (can't tell you too much, sorry), had friends in high places who owed them favours (better not say who, sorry), or was an ex professional sportsman (shouldn't say which teams because you might not believe me, sorry)....continue reading
You might have noticed. In life, risk is guaranteed, but safety never is. Risk is part of life. Risk is natural. Safety might be desirable, but assuming that safety is always preferable and consistently deciding in favour of safety over any risk will lead to insularity, fear, conservatism, and, ultimately, stasis. No oceans would ever have been crossed, no engines designed, no skies navigated, and no satellites launched if risks had never been taken. And, of course, high risks return high rewards. Heroes are risk takers. Pioneers seek risk and places bear their names for eternity. History forgets the cautious.
A few years ago, I watched a great movie: Safety Not Guaranteed. The name of the oddball genius character gave me a wry chuckle: Kenneth. Strange to hear my name said so often by Americans in a movie, and used on a very interesting character - whose eccentricities are all fully redeemed by the way! I always thought my name was a dreadful handicap, a relic of the 1940s that never had a moment of cool to its credit. Although the Kenneth in this movie isn't much of a philosopher, several of the movie's themes touch on existential issues: the fallacies of assumption, the value of recognising the transient nature of our being, and the need to live our lives in the eternal present, wringing from them every drop of joy we can and even savouring the notion of our demise for the quality it gives those moments.
The brilliant psychonautic author Robert Anton Wilson spoke about an information source deeper than Freud's subconscious, something that he described as external in sensation. I wonder whether he was experiencing what the ancient Greeks called "the muse". He said it was the power behind his creative productivity, powering his hands over the keyboard deep into the night, spewing information into type with hardly any cognitive awareness on the part of his daily consciousness....continue reading