What Is Ritual?

by Sarah Perry 02.11.2015

Sarah Perry  is a resident blogger visiting us from her home turf at The View from Hell. If we should inquire for the essence of “government,” for example, one man might tell us it was authority, another submission, another police, another an army, another an assembly, another a system of laws; yet all the while […]

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Refactor Camp 2015: Narrative

by Venkat 02.02.2015

It’s Refactor Camp time again for the fourth time.  As with the last three years, the event will again be held in the Bay Area over the first weekend in March.  This year, that’s the weekend of March 7-8 in San Francisco. Click here to register. The theme this year is narrative. Even though this […]

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The Heroine’s Journey

by Haley 01.28.2015

Haley Thurston is a resident blogger visiting us from her home turf at The Sublemon. What are women afraid of? Why do women matter? How are women useful? Do these questions have gender-specific answers? In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell says that a hero is “someone who has found or achieved or done something beyond […]

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Let’s Play! Narrative Discovery vs. Expert Guides

by Ryan Tanaka 01.21.2015

Ryan Tanaka is a resident blogger, visiting us from his home turf at http://ryan-writer.com. The latest musical work that inspired this article can be found here. (Animated music video!) If you’ve been watching South Park’s recent episodes, you might have noticed YouTube commentator PewDiePie making a few cameos here and there near the top corners […]

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On the Design of Escaped Realities

by Venkat 01.16.2015

Human beings have this amazing ability to retreat from reality without knowing precisely what reality is, in which direction it lies, and how to solve the converse problem of deliberately approaching it. We have gotten so good at this game of retreat that we’ve even managed to define an entire frontier of virtual reality to […]

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Ritual and the Consciousness Monoculture

by Sarah Perry 01.08.2015

Sarah Perry is a resident blogger visiting us from her home turf at The View from Hell. A selective sweep occurs when a new, beneficial gene mutation appears and quickly sweeps across a population, erasing the genetic diversity that existed prior to the sweep. Similarly, languages have “swept” across continents as the cultures they belonged […]

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Black Mirror as Hell-Is-Other-People Futurism

by Venkat 01.01.2015

Over the break, I watched Black Mirror, the highly acclaimed British futurist show.  I am tempted to call it a tech-dystopian show, but it isn’t quite that. To count as dystopian, you need a corresponding utopian vision that has failed or is stillborn, and the show doesn’t offer or suggest any. People have also been comparing it to […]

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Complete 2014 Roundup

by Venkat 12.22.2014

Here’s the complete roundup of the year’s posts, in chronological order. New readers this year might want to check out the 2013 roundup. If you want to do some binge reading further back into the archives, there is a page for the Rust Age (2007-12) with both curated selections and complete roundups. We had 45 posts this […]

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Learning from Crashes

by Venkat 12.18.2014

I came up with a neat and compact little definition of a crash as a result of the recent ongoing obsession with the idea we’ve had around here. A crash is an unexpected subjective reaction to an unexpected real-world outcome. Both parts are important. If you have an unexpected outcome to an activity, but are able to […]

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Striving, Surviving, Suffering and Slacking

by Venkat 12.11.2014

The more I learn about the life stories of others, the more I tend to view mere survival as an accomplishment in the median case. This is an odd view of humanity, but an accurate one for the vast majority. We are misled about the actual difficulty of basic survival because societies are built around […]

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