Why are supposedly serious and profound fiction often difficult and boring to read? Is there a necessary connection between the two? I argue yes, a bit, but it's hard to tell when the connection is illusory and fake. Read more (23 min, 5700 words).
A tale on the nature of footnotes, writing in general, and other things, told almost entirely in footnotes. Read more (18 min, 5500 words).
I'm apprehensive about transhumanism, and have no particular desire to live forever. A big part of the reason is that I believe happiness is precarious, and our chance at achieveing it in radically altered circumstances is not great.
Read more (13 min, 2800 words).
I wrote a spontaneous piece on the tensions between cultural/intellectual accessibility and ambition that under later scrutiny wasn't quite up to snuff. Instead of publishing something sub par or discard it I used it as a jumping off point for discussing the nature of creative work, writing and thinking in general. Read more (13 min, 4200 words).
"The Elephant in the Brain" had an interesting effect on me, which made me think up a typology of ways reading can change the structure of your mind. Read more (10 min, 2500 words).
Using the movie ”Arrival” as a jumping-off point, I rant about the ubiquity of personal drama in storytelling, defend ”flat” characters and positive emotions over negative, and criticize the ”figure it out yourself” ethos in fiction. Read more (15 min, 3700 words)
Reading David Foster Wallace’s ”Infinite Jest” over a period of six months provoked a lot of thought about what makes a good book and why I didn’t particularly care for this one. Read more (16 min, 3900 words)