Context as a replacement for “self”

A fugue on symbols, consciousness, zen, choices, and enlightenment People are happier when they think less about themselves. In this essay I want to propose a computational reason for that difference. In Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, author Douglass Hofstadter describes a process where a brain mirrors the external world, and gradually starts […]

Infrequently Asked Questions

These questions are rarely asked, which is unfortunate. I have gathered their answers here, for your edification. Q. If I am navigating a high-dimensional space, how do I avoid getting lost? A. Move slowly and observe as much as possible. Q. Do I currently believe anything that is false? A. Yes. Almost certainly. It would be very […]

Energy, Emotion, and Capital

Consider the economy as software governing a chemical reaction. Note: Previously, I wrote about one way I look at money: as a mathematical language. Because people found that essay interesting, I thought I’d write another in the same vein: let’s look at the economy as a process of energy, as if it were a chemical […]

Why the Something Feels the way it Does

A just-so story. At first, there was nothing. This was very confusing. “Why is there nothing?” Everyone asked. “Wait — who is doing the asking?” Clearly, this wasn’t going to work. So we decided that there would be something. We called the something a game, because we were playing at creation. The first game wasn’t all that interesting. […]

How to Be Happier

Put down that selfie stick, and get on your hoverboard! Consumer culture has produced two perfect metaphors, which will allow me to illustrate a great approach to better happiness. Consider: The World as a Selfie Stick Some people treat the world like a selfie stick. They keep it at arm’s length, and use it to create […]