Isaac Newton Wasn’t a Newtonian, Socrates wasn’t Plato…


Perhaps a little one, as insights go, the title of this post came to me last week. I've long railed at the power of a reductivist, Newtonian world view that has given those who see the world as a series of problems to be solved the tools, from ballistics to The Calculus, to run down… Continue reading Isaac Newton Wasn’t a Newtonian, Socrates wasn’t Plato…

Integrity, and the Shape of Competence, Boats for difficult times.


This latest post on Boats for difficult times connects with the stream of concerns we delve into here.

Algorithms and Intention


Algorithms. While teaching a week-long course in half-model making and marine drafting I came across a tangible definition of an algorithm. In drafting we use splines, long, thin wooden battens that we bend around control points held by lead weights called ducks or whales. The shape, density and grain of the wood influences how it… Continue reading Algorithms and Intention

Life Is Between


I continue to resist the desire to be catchy and to be interesting with hooks and arresting phrases that can be isolated and passed along to spread the word. I keep returning to the realization that whatever is profound is also very close to what appears trite, even obvious. That it takes a certain plodding,… Continue reading Life Is Between

On Being Outside, a meditation on precarity


Vinay Gupta wrote a piece recently, The Subtle Art of Precarity. It's a nice article, and an interesting neologism, precarity. It relates to a familiarity and even comfort with being on the edge. His thesis, one I've long ascribed to, that as we get deeper into collapse the crises of leadership and expertise drive, and… Continue reading On Being Outside, a meditation on precarity

Living Like a Caveman


I've had the pressure of a thought building up for a while. It has to do with what is so misdirected about the entire virtual-world-based enterprise. You can see that this might give some pause. Still, this day of Steve Jobs' passing might be the time to flesh it out. I sit here writing on… Continue reading Living Like a Caveman

Routine, Another Cost of Efficiency


The ripples keep expanding from Krishnamurti's insight into the way knowledge, especially psychological knowledge, locks us into routine responses that, as he put it, atrophy the brain. In my penultimate post, I speculated on how this could be a way to speak directly about a significant aspect of what's led us to where we find… Continue reading Routine, Another Cost of Efficiency

Notes On Ritual


Some years ago, a dozen? Maybe more, I had an insight regarding ritual. I was thinking about the way Norse boatbuilders carved intricate designs on their craft. They were almost proto modern in so many other ways, creating boats that are still marvels when approached along our common notions of form following function. The Norse… Continue reading Notes On Ritual

Innovation as Impermanence


Watching this BBC documentary about the Islamic History of Europe I came across the Islamic roots of Convivencia, a term I've associated with Ivan Illich, perhaps its most recent heir, himself part of an Hispanic tradition going back to Al Andaluz. This film is a refreshing look at the contributions of Islamic Culture to the… Continue reading Innovation as Impermanence

Gort barada nikto


I've just realized that a propelling fantasy behind so much of what I do is in an attempt to put myself in the position of Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still, when he goes into the study of the "Einstein" character and writes some notes of correction and clarification on his blackboard. In… Continue reading Gort barada nikto

Innovation, Creation, and Change


Sick as we are, finding further bad news of our diagnosis and prognosis at every turn; we look to innovation, creation, and change for some way to turn back the clock, or at least carve out some detour from the horrors we see in our path. This is understandable. Predictable. But is it good or… Continue reading Innovation, Creation, and Change

Stray thoughts on the purpose of gatekeepers


I've had difficulty dealing with the disruption in publishing over the last decade or so. I was unlucky to find myself entering the lists just as the publishing world began to fall apart. Those fragments of an old guard I was fortunate enough to encounter showed enthusiasm for my fiction, though in trying to find… Continue reading Stray thoughts on the purpose of gatekeepers