My report from Natal Con 2023. Including reflections on Tommy Boy, seatbelts, and the proliferation of polycrises.
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by: Robert Wright
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by: Matthew Desmond
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by: Robert Pirsig
Finite and Infinite Games by: James Carse
Fever Pitch by: Nick Hornby
Sun and Steel by: Yukio Mishima
Coraline by: Neil Gaiman
The Gods Never Left Us by: Erich von Däniken
Mere Christianity by: C. S. Lewis
Is there such a thing as a group mind? If so how does it affect the thriving and surviving of groups? What do such group minds look like from a historical perspective? What about a modern perspective?
Love is very important for Christians, but has there been too much emphasis placed on it? And has this emphasis warped it into something else? To put it more simply is perfect Christian love the same as unlimited tolerance? This post argues that it's not, and that in fact if you're looking for the ultimate Christian principle it might be "repentance".
How Elites Ate the Social Justice Movement by: Fredrik deBoer
To Hell and Back by: Audie Murphy
The Ministry for the Future by: Kim Stanley Robinson
The Mysteries by: Bill Watterson
A Desert of Vast Eternities (Pilgrim's Path Book 2) by: Vic Davis
The New Copernicans: Millennials and the Survival of the Church by: David John Seel Jr.
John Seel Jr.'s book, The New Copernicans, is the worst book I have ever read. He puts forth a dubious premise. In support of which he provides no data to back it up, nor any anecdotes which illustrate it actually occurring. To the extent there is anything backing it up, it's provided by extensive misrepresentation of other books.
Dostoevsky wrote, "There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings." What does that mean? I think he meant that whatever suffering we’re experiencing it’s suffering God felt we were capable of handling. We need to prove worthy of that trust. This has always been hard to do, and now that we have numerous ways of mitigating suffering, it's not only hard, but confusing.
Humanity has struggled and suffered for so long that we might be unable to survive without them. We dream of such elimination through technology, but will that dream turn into a nightmare?
Historically we didn't worry about wars in far away places because we weren't aware of them. Now we're aware of them, but with the rise of AI we're going to have a similar difficulty acquiring accurate information. This is going to complicate our ability to intervene righteously.
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by: Natasha Dow Schüll
The Evolutionary Limits of Liberalism: Democratic Problems, Market Solutions and the Ethics of Preference Satisfaction by: Filipe Nobre Faria
A Language Older Than Words by: Derrick Jensen
WTF?!: An Economic Tour of the Weird by: Peter T. Leeson
Blowback (Second Edition): The Costs and Consequences of American Empire by: Chalmers Johnson
The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds by: Caroline Van Hemert
So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by: Cal Newport
Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy by: Jostein Gaarder
The Sandman 4 by: Neil Gaiman
American Gods by: Neil Gaiman
The Eye of the Bedlam Bride: Dungeon Crawler Carl, Book 6 by: Matt Dinniman
Letters to a Young Mormon by: Adam S. Miller
Imagine that someone walks up to you and demands all your money. If you fail to comply they threaten to kill all the inhabitants of some far off planet. How would you react? And is this similar to Pascal's Wager?
There are three obvious paths forward: religion, atheism and transhumanism. But each of these paths must be chosen. There's also a fourth path, that of apathy. Which should we choose?
Depressed people are more prone to addiction. If social media engagement looks a lot like addiction, does that mean algorithms for increasing engagement also increase depression?
It is believed that, during his mortal ministry, Jesus granted immortality to three of His American apostles. Known as the Three Nephites they now wander the Earth until His return, doing good. This has lead to many stories of miraculous assistance. This is the greatest of all those stories.
Why are many people so willing to believe evidence of UFOs and Aliens, and so unwilling to believe evidence for God?
When things aren't going well, those in power will sometimes introduce some speculative chaos in the hopes that what emerges on the other side will be better. It mostly doesn't work.
In the book Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis there is a scene where the King is arguing with a priest about what seems to be an unreasonable demand from one of the gods. The priest says something profound, something I'm still trying to wrap my head around. This episode is an effort to do just that.
The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by: Matthew B. Crawford
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by: Oliver Burkeman
Generations: The Real Differences between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America's Future by: Jean M. Twenge
When Violence Is the Answer: Learning How to Do What It Takes When Your Life Is at Stake by: Tim Larkin
Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution by: Tucker Carlson
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by: Gino Wickman
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by: B. J. Novak
Animal Farm by: George Orwell
Slaughter-House Five (Graphic Novel) by: Kurt Vonnegut and Ryan North
Children of the Mind (The Ender Saga, 4) by: Orson Scott Card
Chariots of the Gods by: Erich von Däniken
There are many potential apocalypses, and when people imagine them they imagine that everyone will die. On the contrary most people will live, and it will be messy and miserable.
Last week we looked at how technology appears to multiple our temptations, but what does it do to our better impulses. If we move from considering the Deadly Sins to the Capital Virtues does technology undermine our efforts or assist us?
Apparently even the "smart" people are finally ready to admit that we should start reducing our annual deficit. In 2017 I was unclear on what the endgame was. I'm still unclear.
What effect does technology have on the temptations we experience? If we examine the seven deadly sins it would appear that in all cases technology makes these sins more tempting and more accessible. Why would that be?
End Times: Elites, Counter-Elites, and the Path of Political Disintegration by: Peter Turchin
Minds Make Societies: How Cognition Explains the World Humans Create by: Pascal Boyer
How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by: Steven Johnson
Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by: Peter Attia MD
Jump Gate Twist by: Mark L. Van Name
Send Us Your Armies (Pilgrim's Path Book 1) by: Vic Davis
Lonesome Dove by: Larry McMurtry
Science Fiction Short Stories compiled by: Guy d'Andigne
Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent by: Larry Correia
The Myth of Sisyphus by: Albert Camus