Spiral Out: Modernity and the End of History
Ours is a unique place in history. Technology and industrialization have driven major social changes and the average person in the developed world has access to resources, information, and luxuries that would make the greatest king a century ago look like little more than an ignorant pauper. Are we better for it?
The FourGames Deck: Creating a Handy Oracle Card Game
It’s taken very nearly two years, but I’ve gotten the final invoice from our manufacturer at last, and the FourGames Deck is complete. What is the FourGames Deck, you might be asking? FourGame Dynamics, or FourGames for short, is a set of mental models created by Jamie Combs, founder of Natural Balance Foods. Jamie tasked me with creating a standard 52 card deck using FourGames that works both as a normal set of playing cards as well as an oracle deck, which is a general name for decks like Tarot or Lenormand that have symbolic meanings for the cards. Today, I’m going to give you a walkthrough of the last two years of this project from ideation, design, prototyping, and manufacturing.
Of Single Mind: Choice, Freedom, and the Future
Imagine, for a moment, if the minds of every person in the world were combined into one gargantuan hive-mind. Every nation would be a different region of the brain, responsible for different body functions responsible for keeping a massive human organism alive and functioning...
Minimum Viable Brand: How to Brand Your New Business Painlessly
One of the two mistakes I see many early founders and entrepreneurs making are either spending too little time or too much money on brand for their startups & small businesses. I say this as someone who sells branding to founders and entrepreneurs, so while this advice may result in reducing the number of clients I’ll have in the future, I think the possibility of early businesses saving money, and perhaps more importantly, not being terribly hard to look at, is worth the risk in my book.I want to introduce the idea of Minimum Viable Brand as a concept to aim at.
The Idiot and The Psychopath
I was once told that contracts exist not because of a lack of trust between the parties of a contract, but as a statement of the trust between the parties. Strange, but it seems true. Let’s imagine you’re entering into a business relationship with someone who emphatically promises you that you don’t need a contract because they’re fully trustworthy and that it would only complicate the relationship. You may see immediately where this might be problematic, but let’s pretend it’s not obvious.
The Free King
Let’s use King as a stand-in for singular leadership here- you can replace King with President, CEO, Prime Minister, or just leader in general as you see fit. I like King because there’s a particular sort of ownership and a greater degree of inseparability from the people than you find with Presidents, who are eminently replaceable. Consider the myth of the Fisher King, who, as a result of a wound, is made lame, and his kingdom withers in kind.
A Picture of Health
I want you to ask yourself a question:What does health look like?Who are the healthiest people you know? There are a number of different forms of health here: physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, interpersonally, artistically. (If you have any other types, please send them in, I’d love the input).
Enemy of The Good
Until recently, I was of the opinion that the ideal attitude towards the world was to accept that perfection was impossible but to strive for it anyway. This sounded good to me in theory, but I realized that as a result that you’re consistently measuring yourself against an untouchable standard, and thus you’re going to be persistently failing. That in and of itself isn’t actually so bad, if you can get down with the concept of AIΩN AΓΩN, but it becomes a problem when you’re dealing with systems. How come?
To Tread in the Place of Uncertainty
There is an ancient Indian parable that tells a story about perception:A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: "We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable". In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man rides the elephant...
Wicked Problems and the Edge of the Blade
The world is presented with such a staggering array of choices- consider the notion that for most of human history, basically no one would ever have been asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” If your dad was a farmer, you were either going to farm or join the profession of the hungry. Humans are not great at choosing. Once we get over seven or so things to choose from, we start making bad decisions and regretting our choices.(Yes, this is at least partially about trying to choose what to watch on Netflix, if you hadn’t guessed.) In design thinking, there’s a pair of concepts called diverging and converging thought:
The Last Question: Scarcity, Abundance, and Syntropy
What is the critical difference, the thing that makes one person thrive where another flounders? This is something I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about recently, and we’re going to explore it today. Along the way, we’re going to explore the concepts of scarcity and abundance, take a look at the Matthew Effect, revisit my Theory of Everything, and try and answer the last question.
The Sickness of the World: Coronavirus and Systemic Failure
Yes, you guessed it, I’m talking about the Coronavirus, COVID-19, or, as I will probably be referring to it after this point, the ‘Rona. Well, actually, this is going to be more of an excuse to talk about a few other things, but we’re going to start briefly with the virus...
Aesthetic Warfare and the Dream of the Beautiful World
There’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently- the role of beauty and aesthetic in the world. I’ve written about aesthetics a bit in my article Why I Don’t Talk About Politics (or: Philosophy 101), but never at length, at least as far as I can remember...
Of all questions asked by Man throughout the ages, central among them is likely the question of evil. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do we suffer? Why is the world full of pain and heartbreak, love lost and families broken, predators preying on victims and the innocence of our birth being consumed by the dark realities of this culture?
The Means are the End: Simple Stories and Distal Effects
There’s a concept that I use a lot that somehow I’ve managed to have not written about yet, so today we’re going to rectify that. Today, we’re going to be discussing how “the means are the end,” as well as why the end does not justify the means. In the process, we’re going to explore the nature of second (+) order effects, interconnectedness, and the role that ethics play in our actions. Let’s get started.
Lessons From My Father
By the time this article is posted, it will be my father John Dailey’s 50th birthday. I turned 25 this year, so this will be the last year that he’s ever more than twice my age. On that note, today I’m going to share with you some of the best lessons that I’ve learned from my father, as well as relate to you some stories that you may appreciate.
Post-Individualism: Synthesis and Expanded Self Interest
Today, we’re going to go in depth and attempt to solve what I see as one of the primary problems with modern culture- the seeming paradox that exists between humans as social animals and our identity as individuals, or perhaps even our lack of identity as individuals.
The Indictment of Potential: Obligation and Self-Interest
There’s a concept I’ve been playing with for a bit that I call the Indictment of Potential. To put it simply, this is the burden that having ideals, goals, and the possibility of success places on the individual, as it represents some sort of inherent insufficiency in the present that must be overcome. Today, we’re going to be exploring that concept, as well as the nature of obligation in the individual, and what obligation a man may have to society.
The Demon of Razgriz: Destruction and the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory
Today, I have for you what will probably be the most obscure thing that I ever write an article about- a fake myth/poem from a PS2 game that I played as a child. That game is Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, and that myth is about the Demon of Razgriz, which was apparently significant enough for me to remember for 15 years after playing it- that’s gotta be worth something, right?
Beyond Influence, I: A Light in a Darkened World
I had a realization the other day- there doesn’t seem to be any comprehensive resource or educational tool in the world to train individuals in the art and skill of resisting influence. This struck me as relatively incredible, considering there’s a market for all kinds of needlessly foolish nonsense, so why not this?
All Things in Time: Chronos, Kairos, Aion
Today, I’ve got a wild one for you. We’re going to be taking a look at the nature of time itself, as seen through the lenses of the three Greek conceptions of time, Chronos, Kairos, and Aion. Along the way, I’m going to bring this back to Eden and the Dreamtime for a new perspective on the dawn of Man, and we’re going to try and tie in natural law, attractors, inevitability, and more.
Meditations on Frame: Manipulation and the Framing Effect
Welcome back to another wildly speculative article- today, we’re going to return to a topic I talked about in an article last year, the concept of frame. This isn’t going to be a continuation of that article, and to be completely honest, I’m not going to reread it before writing this one- I’m primarily looking to explore some ideas today and see where it goes. We’re going to start with the “framing effect” in psychology, then we’ll take a look at the various lenses we use to see the world as they relate to our overarching frame, and from there, how our frames compete in social situations and why that matters.
Invictus: Developing the Unconquerable Mindset
Today, we’re going to be exploring the story behind what I consider to be one of the greatest poems ever written- Invictus, by William Ernest Henley. Along the way, we’ll take a look at the nature of adversity, the difference between the psychological responses of prey and predator (and how those relate to our capacity for resilience), and why you can only become unconquerable when you decide to ask for more punishment.
The Spear of Destiny, Symbol of the Will
There’s a myth that’s fascinated me since I first watched Constantine as a kid- the legend of the Spear of Destiny. For a long time, I figured it was a literal spear in the sense that a lot of the stories about it describe as a physical historical artifact, but some recent developments (and the fact that myths are rarely factual in the “veritas” sense that science is factual) have led me to take a closer look at the myth. Today, we’re going deep into the symbol of the Spear and what it means to man as a whole. Along the way, we’re going to be exploring some famous heroes and gods know for wielding spears, the evolutionary origins of thrown weapons, and more.
The Parable of the Blacksmith and the King
Once upon a time, there was a prosperous kingdom. The people lived in peace and abundance, all thanks to the even-handed rule of the wise king. His door was always open, and he made himself available to hear the troubles of everyone, from lofty noblemen to even the lowliest peasant.
Against Fear: Inertia’s Razor and the Culture of Ignorance
Today, we’re going to revisit a topic that I attempted to write about for what would have been the second article on the site way back in the summer of ‘17- fear. As you’re going to learn here shortly, “fear is the mind-killer,” since we so often lose before we even begin due to our fears preventing action. We’re going to take a look at the origins of fear, its effects, and how to deal with (or perhaps just act in spite of ) fear.
The Power of Symbolism and The Architecture of Mind
I was originally going to make this a Twitter thread when I thought about the idea for this article during a run, but I think this probably deserves a full article. If you’re familiar with me or this site (re: The Meaning of AION, I), you probably know I’m a huge fan of symbolism, both for graphic design purposes (check out my work) and for more meaningful pursuits. Today, we’re going to take a look at the power of symbolism with some of the underlying mechanics that symbols operate on in the mind, their value in the culture, their role as memes, and a whole lot more.
Minimum Viable Philosophy (MVP): Keeping it Simple, Stupid
Today, we’re going to talk about my approach to philosophy, which is a little different from how most other people have tried to approach things. This article will be complementary to some of the concepts I discussed in Metanarrative, but it’s not going to be entirely necessary to read that for the sake of this. In essence, there’s a concept from the business world called minimum viable product, which is the bare minimum you need to get started when launching a startup. In that vein, I’m going to discuss what I call minimum viable philosophy, which is the bare minimum of things that people need to agree on to function together in society well.
Not in the Monastery: Enlightenment, Through Struggle
There’s a quote I’ve used in probably four articles on this site that I think finally deserves its own article. I can neither tell you where I heard this quote, nor have my prodigious Googling skills revealed any hints as to where it came from, but if I had to guess, Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance would be my thought. That book is required reading, in my opinion. Anyway, the quote is “Enlightenment is found not in the monastery, but the marketplace,” so we’re going to talk about what that means, the nature of “enlightenment,” and the value of moving towards the struggle.
The Unbroken Golden Chain: Inversion and Recombination
There’s a symbol I’ve always been a huge fan of- the Unbroken Golden Chain. This has actually been used a number of different ways historically- in western religions, it’s the unbroken chain of salvation (from a Puritan theologian called Perkins), in middle eastern religions, it’s a line of spiritual authority claimed by the Shia Muslims (and a similar concept exists for the Sufis as well), and the Freemasons use the concept as a name for one of their sub-organizations (nothing fancy, just for wives of Freemasons). There’s also a Hermetic text using the name. I may even make an argument that Jacob’s ladder constitutes a use of the symbol, but that’s going to have to wait until we really unpack what the Unbroken Golden Chain represents.
Traitors in the Palace: Ideology in the Absence of Truth
This article is going to serve as something like the theoretical fleshing-out of a fictional piece I’m planning on adapting from a Twitter thread called “The Blacksmith and the King.” The idea behind the thread (and the fable I’m turning it into) is effectively a narrative version of my article The Desert of Nihilism and the Throne of God, specifically as it pertains to ideology in the modern age. On that note, today we’re going to be looking at the idea that “all memes aspire to the position of God,” as well as the effects of the absence of the highest-order value in the culture and how that leads to the rise of ideology and justification.
The Culture War and the Blood-Stained Goddess
There’s a topic I’ve touched on briefly a number of times here, but today we’re going all in on it- the Culture War. I’ve called this the War for the Soul of Man and the War for the Human Spirit, but those are a bit more specific in my usage. The Culture War (yeah, that’s getting capitalized) is almost certainly the greatest conflict facing the modern world at present. I’ll qualify that statement as we get into it, because it sounds like really pretentious first-world-problems thinking, but it goes so much deeper than that. This is a battle for the hearts, minds, and even the bodies of every man, woman, and child on this planet. There is no escape from the conflict, because it reaches down into all areas of life.
Childhood’s End and the Rise of the Metahuman
There’s an idea I’ve been playing with for some time- the notion of the metahuman. I’m convinced that there’s a distinct difference between those who possess metaconsciousness, and those who don’t. So many of the normal human pitfalls, like racism, sexism, classism, and all the other fun kinds of tribalism are symptomatic of this absence of metaconsciousness. Duality is a prison that traps most people, stuck in a worldview where a clearly defined “us” and “them” exists, and (surprise,) it’s always the “them” that are the bad guys. The metahuman is free from such delusions, or at least has the capacity to transcend them with effort.
The Human Animal: Modernity, Biology, and New Tribes
The subject for today is going to be the nature of Man as a self-domesticated “human animal” that seems to be in denial of this fact. We like to think we’re somehow separate from the rest of the animal kingdom and the natural world, and I think this denial is tied to many of modern society’s ills.
UltraSelf II: Running My First 50k
It didn’t take as long as I thought it would in the last chapter to get to my first 50k (31 miles)- I ran one yesterday. Originally, my plan was to do a week of 10 miles every day, but that ended up being unrealistic. For me to run 10 miles on a work night means I’d be going to bed late every single day, and that’s a quality-of-life hit I’m not willing to take. On the bright side, I’m moving from Reno to Raleigh in a little over a week, so I’ll be free from Tesla’s 12 hour shifts and will have significantly more time (or at least a more flexible schedule) to train.