Solastalgia in the 2020s

a/n: I don’t think the idea is fully fleshed-out yet, but I can always add and revise. TL;DR According to Sterling, the twenty-teens are defined by Dark Euphoria, a cultural temperament of exhilarating unthinkableness. This is the topic of the preceding post. The tone of Sterling’s speeches in the past couple of years has moved on from more »

Dark Euphoria in the 2010s

Bruce Sterling has a knack for coining/adopting rich phrases to describe cultural sensibilities. I watched some of his recent (2017) talks, and I wanted to record some notes on them to share. I figured a good place to start would be on his earlier talks on the current cultural moment. Bruce Sterling’s talks on “Dark more »


Today: Several riffs on options and “multivocality”. Tomorrow: A little bit on “totalitarianism” and my recent readings. —   I. Options I’ve painted a worldview that’s very messy, but not so messy that it demands inaction and trembling. I do think that engineering drastic moves is dangerous when you can’t see very far. (I also more »

Mulling: The “Sheeple” Problem

(Relax, I’m not using that word seriously.) I have a tendency to wax on a bit, especially when idea is still new and exciting to me- writing helps me crystallize things and turn them around in my hand. I wanted to be clear about a few positions before I start picking up another line of more »

Learning from Fictions

I wanted to make some broad strokes to tie together some previous posts before I move on from this thread of thought. Below, two tangentially-related ideas.   I. “What is true is to be believed; what is fictional is to be imagined.” -Kendall Walton I have long talked about ‘apologetic‘ as an operation for cohering tribes. more »

Law of Unrecognized Novelty

I. “Nothing new under the sun.” I think that any sufficiently new idea will be confused for a repudiated old one. Nuance regularly dies in-transit from speaker to listener, due to lack of a shared episteme (and the social pressure to properly understand in the first place may not be there either). An idea cannot be so freakishly new  that nothing more »

Unknown Knowns

Note: I thought that “Totalizing Views” was a perfectly cromulent and useful phrase when I first noticed it, when it was announced as the theme for Keith Adams’ upcoming blogging residency at Ribbonfarm. Since then, the Baader-Meinhof effect has been in full swing. I’ve certainly seen it from the anti-essentialist crowd, including in Unit Operations. I have myself used the phrase more »