The Angel of The Year: 2022

The Angel of The Year award is given to, “that person or entity who has been praised, lauded and publicly adored more than any other being on our planet over the past year.” To be awarded this honor, the recipient must have attained exalted status in more human minds than anyone else. 

The words “publicly adored” are a central criterion. The opinions of individuals vary widely, and counting them is all but impossible. But what appears in the public square is definable and even measurable. That allows the Angel of The Year award to be based upon more than personal opinions. Continue reading “The Angel of The Year: 2022”

Is It True That Only Moral People Can Be Free?

People sometimes talk about freedom requiring morality and even religion. The famous quote along these lines is from John Adams, who wrote that the US constitution was made for “a moral and religious people,” going on to say that it’s unfit for any other kind.

Nothing against Mr. Adams, but that passage is a mere assertion. It says nothing about why it might be true that freedom requires a moral populace. Such assertions really ought to be supported, and so far as I’ve seen, they haven’t been.

And so today I’ll address that void. Continue reading “Is It True That Only Moral People Can Be Free?”

Earned Knowledge, L3, P1

Variations And The End of The Model

As we mentioned in Lesson #2, once hard and aggressive people in other places knew that kingship worked so well in Mesopotamia, they began to copy it. And so the “kingship from Eridu” model began to spread all through the ancient Near East. But while all of them copied Mesopotamia, they weren’t entirely the same.

The largest and most successful of these variations of Mesopotamian kingship occurred in Egypt. And there was a very strong reason for that: People living in Egypt had almost no way to leave. Continue reading “Earned Knowledge, L3, P1”

Demon of The Year: 2022

The Demon of The Year award is given to, “that person or entity who has terrified more children, raised more blood pressure and/or been more reflexively hated than any other being on our planet over the past year.”

How grounded in reality any of the above may be is not an issue in determining the Demon of The Year; what matters is that the recipient personifies the image of the demon in the collective mind of the public. Continue reading “Demon of The Year: 2022”

What About Environmental Concerns Over Crypto Mining?

I learned long ago that when institutions decide to ride a subject, they can do so mercilessly. By endless repetition people are worn down into compliance… and then into defense of their compliance. I’ve seen it too many times.

And so, seeing them harping on “Bitcoin isn’t environmentally friendly,” I feel a need to defend reality, before it’s overrun yet again.

Let’s start with some basic engineering, so you can see that it isn’t people on my side who are making wild assertions, but people on the institutional side. Continue reading “What About Environmental Concerns Over Crypto Mining?”

Earned Knowledge L2, P4

What Happened Over Time

Mesopotamia, at 7,000 BC, even at 5,000 BC, was mostly a wide open place. But as rulership grew and spread, life there was progressively choked. By 3,000 BC, the entire area was controlled by centralized power… by a vast network of kings, overseen by a “king of kings.”

More than 100 factors of daily life were said to be ordained by the gods, and enforced by their representatives. And so life became stratified, which means that people were held in place: farmers and their children remained farmers, temple officials and their children remained temple officials, and so on. Continue reading “Earned Knowledge L2, P4”

If There’s Life And Death, There’s Right And Wrong

Life and death are absolute standards… absolute and objective standards.

The absolute standard of life as good is upheld, in actual practice, by every person who takes medicine, or by anyone who avoids danger. Oceans of rhetoric can’t negate this, and we’re not alone in it: Every other species on this planet acts to stay alive and to flee death.

Yes, there are thousands of dogmatists with a deep, psychological need to wipe away the possibility of an absolute standard. And yes, they carefully hone their skills of ridicule and vocabulary toward that end. Regardless, they betray themselves every time they take an antibiotic or buy organic produce. Continue reading “If There’s Life And Death, There’s Right And Wrong”

Earned Knowledge, L2, P3

How People Lived

These people were very similar to the westward-moving farmers, and enjoyed more or less everything we described in Lesson #1. What they no longer had was mobility. They were forced by rulers into tight clusters; that is, into cities, where they could be watched. (One of the oldest words for “city” meant “watched place.”) Many of these people left the city in the morning to tend crops and fields, then returned home at night. Continue reading “Earned Knowledge, L2, P3”

The FTX Heist, In Brief

The section I am repeating below was published two days ago in our Parallel Society subscription newsletter. I don’t like posting things that my subscribers have paid for, but in this case it’s only a small section of the letter and I think my subscribers would agree that it’s a worthwhile service to the greater community. (I have the best subscribers on the planet.) Continue reading “The FTX Heist, In Brief”

Post-Primate Society: A New Look At The Human Story

Last week I released a new book on Post-Primate Society. I posted it to our members page, available to all our paid subscribers. I’ve also uploaded it to Kindle. A printed book may follow at some point, but I’m not sure when. 

There is a lot to be said about this book, but I think I’d like to let others say it. I see the book as good, compelling and important, but I’ll stop there. 

Here, in this public post, is the introduction to the book, which I called (in the parlance of classical music) an overture.  Continue reading “Post-Primate Society: A New Look At The Human Story”