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).
I review the book Hit Makers and go on about how it loses its point in a sea of storytelling . Read more (10 min, 3300 words).
I pick up the "hit" concept "decoupling" from my article about Sam Harris and Ezra Klein and develop it further. There are five different ways to describe it, four categories of disagreement that builds on it, three factors that determine whether someone does it or not in a given case, two ways to handle dangerours ideas, and one new ideology needed to save political egalitarianism when the importance of biology becomes undeniable. Read more (22 min, 5500 words).
A long postmortem of the conflict between Sam Harris and Ezra Klein over Harris's podcast with political scientist Charles Murray. I explain their disagreement as stemming from differences in interpretation of the original podcast, cultural expectations and psychological tendencies. Read more (36 min, 9100 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).
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)
Doubting conventional wisdom doesn’t necessarily make you a conspiracy theorist - skepticism should be universal and not only applied to "legitimate targets". It’s not always irrational to not change your mind when confronted with a piece of contrary evidence, and it can sometimes even be justified to increase your confidence that you’re right. Read more (11 min, 2800 words)
Phrases like "fake news", "fact-resistance" and "post-truth" have recently become common. They support a narrative implying that a large segment of the population have lost contact with reality and become impervious to facts. This is a dangerous simplification that makes things worse. Read more (5 min, 1200 words)