On Philosophy

Category

Fire, further

It’s not just capitalism that’s like fire. It’s the internet, it’s advertising, it’s lawyers, it’s video games, it’s beer. Where there’s power, there’s almost always danger. That the world’s filled with fire shouldn’t be cause for despair. It is a good cause for vigilance, though. “We didn’t start the fire It was always burning Since the world’s been turning” -Billy Joel Feel free to use the fire, in all of its forms. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s your friend....

Fire

Two things are undeniable about fire: it’s useful, and it’s dangerous. Anyone who’s been burned by a match or gotten too close to a campfire knows the latter for a fact. Yet it’s true that fire is useful as well. From cooking our food to warming our homes to powering the entire industrial revolution (and many of our cities today), fire has been at the center of much of human progress. Fire is powerful. Yet it’s still dangerous, as even children know. So we pin...

Political lifehack: assume you’re wrong

I’ve cultivated a useful trick over the past couple years. When someone makes a point, and it doesn’t seem right to me and I want to argue back, I pause. Before I say anything, I ask myself a question: “What if I’m wrong?” I’ve found that when I start from a point of certainty, I don’t listen. I’m just thinking about what I’m going to say next. But when I start out questioning, and accept that I might be wrong, I come from a...

On statistical murder and killing by inches

This is an open letter to Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John Roberts, and the GOP majority: How many people have you killed? You’ve probably never picked up a gun or knife and taken a life directly, though even if you have—in the military, one hopes—the number of lives you’ve taken is probably higher than you think. It might not even be a whole life, but it’s probably not zero. How many lives have you saved? The same is...

Vote like a minority

It’s election season in the USA, so let’s talk about that. Not the candidates, but my philosophy of voting. (Though I’m not going to talk about the candidates, it’s probably easy to figure out who I’m voting for from my twitter feed. If authors expressing political opinions annoys you—though it shouldn’t—I suggest you avoid that. If not, have fun.) First and foremost: vote. No no no—I don’t care if your vote “won’t matter.” I don’t care if it’s “logical” to say that your one...

A billboard in congress

I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts, and the Tim Ferriss Show is one of my favorites. Tim interviews high-performing individuals, and he often asks his guests a few reoccurring questions. Here’s one: “If you could have a billboard anywhere in the world, where would you put it and what would it say?” I’ve wondered what I would say, to this and many other questions. It probably depends on what I’m thinking about at the time. If it’s art and writing, my answer would...

What are your two skills?

I was listening to an episode of the Tim Ferriss Show podcast (which I finally started, even though I’ve been following Tim for years. Highly recommended), and one of the guests mentioned something in passing that I found quite interesting. From the episode with Dr. Justin Mager and Kelly Starrett, one of them mentioned that, if you asked his wife what his “two skills” are, she would say: He can mimic anyone. That allows him to understand how you move and why you move, and...

Be the anime blogger

“As world-famous air guitar heroes, one of the questions we get asked all the time is, ‘Do you get groupies, playing imaginary guitar?’ And I am ashamed to admit this, but… “Yes. All the time. Tons of them. “As it turns out, if you do something with all your heart before a crowd full of people, they will react to that thing, no matter what it is.” From Be The Air Guitarist, Ferrett Steinmetz If you don’t want to read the...

Keep moving forward

Keep Moving Forward – Manly Guys Doing Manly Things I never felt I was especially good at being a kid. I wasn’t temperamentally suited to it, I think, until I discovered alcohol, after which college worked reasonably well. But even then, I’ve always preferred to be an adult, and I’ve always preferred the person I am now to the person I was then. That’s because I’m always trying to improve myself, so the current me always leaves the old me in the...

Impostor syndrome

Some creatives suffer from Impostor Syndrome. It’s a very real problem, and it’s always fascinated me, because I have no trouble with it at all. Neil Gaiman, in the commencement speech which I reference frequently, said: The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It’s Imposter Syndrome, something my wife Amanda christened the Fraud Police. In my case, I was convinced that there...