20 JUL 2017 by ideonexus

 The Need for Moral Universals in Democracy

Working societies — if they are to endure, grow, and cohere, if they are to prosper, hang together, and really mature — need moral universals. Moral universals are simply things that people believe everyone should have. In the UK, those things — those moral universals — are healthcare and media and welfare. In Germany, they are healthcare and media and welfare and higher education. And so on. Moral universals anchor a society in a genuinely shared prosperity. Not just...
  1  notes
 
30 MAY 2016 by ideonexus

 The Universe is a Dark Forest for Civilization

The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost, gently pushing aside branches that block the path and trying to tread without sound. Even breathing is done with care. The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. If he finds other life—another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod—there’s only one thing he can do: open fire a...
  1  notes
 
09 NOV 2015 by ideonexus

 The Big Gods Hypothesis

...without supernatural enforcement of cooperative, “moral” behavior, ancient Egypt—as well as nearly every other large-scale society in history—wouldn't have been able to get off the ground. All-knowing big gods are “crazily effective” at enforcing social norms, says Norenzayan's collaborator Edward Slingerland, a historian at UBC Vancouver. “Not only can they see you everywhere you are, but they can actually look inside your mind.” And once big gods and big societies existed...
Folksonomies: civilization theology
Folksonomies: civilization theology
  1  notes
 
18 FEB 2015 by ideonexus

 How Humans Living in Civilization are Like Domesticated A...

The first characteristic is living in an artificial environment. Humans established cities and converted the space we live in, to the utmost degree, into an artificial environment. We carry out our lives surrounded by houses, roads, water and sewer systems, automobiles, trains, and electricity. Waking up early, riding a train to one’s place of employment, and working in an air-conditioned office bears a certain resemblance to a chicken in a livestock factory. [7/8] The second characte...
  1  notes

An interesting argument, but feels like a stretch.

04 FEB 2015 by ideonexus

 Foundation and Empire

"Well," Bayta's eyes misted with thought as she curled her bare toes into the white softness of the rug and nestled her little chin in one plump hand, "it seems to me that the whole essence of Seldon's plan was to create a world better than the ancient one of the Galactic Empire. It was failing apart, that world, three centuries ago, when Seldon first established the Foundation – and if history speaks truly, it was falling apart of the triple disease of inertia, despotism, and maldistributi...
  1  notes
 
24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Energy Needed to Power Civilization

The numerical results of my calculations show that the quantities of energy required for permanent survival and communication are surprisingly modest. For a society with the same complexity as the present human society on Earth, starting from the present time and continuing forever, the total reserve of energy required is about equal to the energy now radiated by the Sun in eight hours. The total energy reserve contained in the Sun would be sufficient to support forever a society with a compl...
  1  notes

There is an overabundance of energy in the universe.

09 AUG 2014 by ideonexus

 The Northeast Megalopolis

The megalopolis encompasses the District of Columbia and part or all of 11 states: from south to north, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. It is linked by Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1, which start in Miami and Key West, Florida, respectively, and terminate in Maine at the Canada–United States border, as well as the Northeast Corridor railway line, the busiest passenger rail line in the count...
Folksonomies: society civilization cities
Folksonomies: society civilization cities
  1  notes
 
09 AUG 2014 by ideonexus

 Insulation of Elites Compounds Societal Collapse

The scenarios most closely reflecting the reality of our world today are found in the third group of experiments (see the scenarios for an unequal society in section 5.3), where we introduced economic stratication. Under such conditions, we nd that collapse is dicult to avoid, which helps to explain why economic stratication is one of the elements consistently found in past collapsed societies. Importantly, in the rst of these unequal society scenarios, 5.3.1, the solution appears to be on a ...
  1  notes
 
21 JUN 2014 by ideonexus

 Chinese Civilization is the Beauty of the Other

But Chinese civilization has the overpowering beauty of the wholly other, and only the wholly other can inspire the deepest love and the profoundest desire to learn.
Folksonomies: civilization sinology
Folksonomies: civilization sinology
  1  notes
 
26 FEB 2014 by ideonexus

 A Small Contribution to a Large Project

That evening, at a café near the work site, I had a drink with an iter physicist, who was despondent, fearing that the machine would never work. Why he was staying with the project he couldn’t say. But a few weeks later, after thinking about it, he told me that his mood had lifted. He had come to see his role in both small and sublime terms—akin to a stonemason toiling for years on the York Minster cathedral (begun 1220, finished 1472) without witnessing the work being completed. “I no...
  1  notes

What's it like to be a single individual working on a project that takes many lifetimes? Perspective.