It’s so weird reading twentieth century philosophers. They were genuinely panicked about the loss of epistemological foundations. Not as an academic intellectual thing, but as “oh my god what am I personally going to do!”

It’s impossible to fully recover that feeling now.
I just barely grew up in modernity, as it was collapsing around me, and I can sort of remember feeling that panic myself in my 20s, but the shape of it is barely discernible through the fog of time.
I mean, seriously. This is from 1988, at least a decade after modernity was over. It’s practically the TVTropes definition of Wangst. Image
Contrast this 2021 book _A Defense Of Nihilism_ from two philosophers who are so young that they actually can have no understanding of what nihilism was or how anyone could have thought there was a problem: Image

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More from @Meaningness

20 Jul
Literature review. Nearly all the books supposedly about nihilism come out of English departments, and boy are they tediously identical.
Nihilism books that come out of the philosophy department are rare, and they are never actually about nihilism.

They are always “Philosophy: The Grimdark Reboot! Darker, Edgier, With More Death And Also Death!”

You know they’ve Jumped The Shark before you get past the title…
TVTropes reliably trounces philosophy if you want explanations of meaning.…
Read 4 tweets
18 Jul
🧘⚠️ Catastrophic effects of meditation: a compelling, terrifying first-person account, with reflective analysis.

h/t @eigenhector, @paulbaumgart…
Meditation and science are two of the things I value most. It’s hard to know when too much “this can be extremely bad” publicity becomes counter-productive. Both can be extremely good.
It’s seems we’re close to the point where every reasonably clueful lay person understands science is in trouble. Then tweeting more of that will be counter-productive.

We’re still a long way from every reasonably clueful lay person understanding that meditation can kill you.
Read 13 tweets
25 Jun
I'm never quite cynical *enough*. The only part of the report I didn't anticipate was their putting machine learning in there. In retrospect: of course they did, how could they have passed up that opportunity?
The UFO report certainly tried to be as vague as possible, in order to allow people to continue believing what they like.

My reading was “Yeah, we haven’t got anything, but if you give us LOTS more money, it’s imaginable that we’ll find something.”

Read 4 tweets
11 Jun
🚂 Steam locomotive under construction. Brand new, not a restoration! Nevada Railroad Museum, Carson City. A must for engineering geeks in the region Image
🚂 This one is a restoration and it’s stunning ImageImage
🚂 A Victorian tech giant: Baldwin was the world’s biggest maker of steam locomotives.… Image
Read 7 tweets
22 May
🎙࿇ @joffe_p on tantric Buddhist sex (“karmamudra”). He and his teacher Dr Nida Chenagtsang have been the first to teach this openly, after centuries of Tibetans making a big fuss about how secret it is, for dumb political reasons. Hooray!…
@joffe_p ࿇ Tantric sex is one approach to tantric energy practice (“tsa lung”). For dumb political reasons, the Tibetan mainstream narrowed tsa lung to a single system, the Six Yogas, rigidly applied. The Six Yogas are good mostly only for teenage boys.
@joffe_p ࿇ A much broader range of energy practices survived on the margins of Tibet, where the oppressive monastic hegemony of Lhasa barely reached.

Historical research within Tibetan texts turns up many more, and there are similar practices in Shaivism, Taoism, and elsewhere.
Read 7 tweets
20 May
My pinned tweet is about that. You can read the comic essay it links as a deadly serious exploration of the deep structure of wicked problems:
.@vgr’s essay ends with what I’ve called “wizardry.” When you understand the inseparability of pattern and nebulosity, you can weave the flow of energy around and beneath islands of interpretability. Your effective action will appear incomprehensible.… Image
@vgr I’ve made this point in the context of Buddhist ethics…… Image
Read 6 tweets

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