After coming across some references to Posadism, I recently got sucked into the art and philosophy of the ectocultures (my term). I don’t mean the Occupy movement or Anonymous, but the real deviants, people who either were (or maybe should have been) institutionalized. There is almost no coherent categorization, except that they’re all highly conspiratorial, anti-rational, and often invoke alien or demonic powers (or both). … Continue reading The Strange Uniformity of Madness
In case you haven’t heard, The History Channel recently aired a documentary suggesting that Amelia Earhart survived her trek across the Pacific. The evidence was based mostly on a photograph, recently discovered in the National Archives (where it had apparently been misfiled), showing a woman with an appearance similar to Earhart’s sitting on a dock watching a boat haul a plane that also looked a … Continue reading A Case Study in Post-Factualism
I’ve ignored it twice in my life. At least. Which is kind of a big deal. For those who don’t know, the Call to Adventure is the first stage of the Hero’s Journey as outlined by Joseph Campbell in his 1949 opus The Hero With a Thousand Faces. As with any seminal tome, there are those who take it a bit too seriously — there is something … Continue reading The Call to Adventure
This is a wonderful, lucid, and short essay on the fundamental flaw of contemporary cognitive science written by a preeminent psychologist. The empty brain: Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer Philosophy of mind, particularly human judgment and decision-making, is a big interest of mine. I’ve said repeatedly, as the author does, that … Continue reading Your Brain is Not a Computer
Like branding, genre is an extended phenotype of our genetics. Humans need to be able to make sense of the world, so the brain developed a small armamentarium of “noise-reduction” shortcuts, almost none of which are aiming at what is really out there since “what is really out there” includes the rigidly uncertain and indeterminably cross-categorizable. At some point in our evolution, the brain hit … Continue reading Can We Escape Genre?
I am an atheist in the same way that Asimov was. In an essay late in his life, he said he had always referred to himself as agnostic, that the grand mystery of existence — why there is something rather than nothing at all — was just that, a mystery, and that when it came to God, he could no more prove the positive than … Continue reading The Proper Use of the Pitchfork
Just as chefs innovate for a repetition-weary palate, so too I try to offer today’s sophisticated readers something novel for their money. Turns out entertaining you all is hard when everything’s been done. When inspiration fails — which is most of the time (don’t wait for it) — my weapon of choice is INVERSION. I take something you know and turn it on its head. … Continue reading Zombies, Werewolves, and One Bad Apple: How societies reflect fear
the pulitzer prize-winning historian david hackett fischer once lampooned pop history writers and even some of his colleagues with the title of a paper on historical fallacies called ‘Dear Diary, the Hundred Years’ War Started Today…’ (if you don’t get the joke, you are not qualified to speak on any historical subject. ever.) people love to opine. i’m doing it right now! and when their … Continue reading Fetishism and History