Your Soul, and How to Swing It: The Moral Distinction Between Kinds of Knowing.

In a previous piece, I discussed the difference between explicit and implicit knowledge. The conversation was situated in a wider context: the context of advertising and behavioural manipulation. In another piece, I mused about the importance of reciprocal-adversarial loops in generating all sorts of interesting systems. I’ve also written about how to avoid letting your verbal/propositional knowledge take over and drown out your experiential/participatory knowledge.

It’s worth noting that I see this piece as fitting in quite neatly with those, and if you like it, I bet you’ll get more out of it from reading the rest.

Today, what I want to talk about is how to balance knowing that something is the case and knowing how it is to be something, in important practical ways. I also want to talk about the danger of not minding your knowing how it is. That way lives evil and madness, I suspect.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the idea that experts in a certain skill are some of the least likely people to be able to explain how to do it well. I’m sure you’ve seen a friend do something amazing, and then when you ask her how, she’s unable to tell you. This means that it’s possible to be able to do something without being able to describe what you did to get the result.

Continue reading Your Soul, and How to Swing It: The Moral Distinction Between Kinds of Knowing.

A Dialogue on Personhood and Suffering.

Scene: Solitus and Communus are sitting in a diner, eating bacon pancakes. The pancakes contain bacon.

Solitus: At this moment, what is the truest thing you know?

Communus: That’s a weird way to start a conversation.

Solitus: Just answer me anyway.

Continue reading A Dialogue on Personhood and Suffering.

The World is a Dream, and All of it Comes for Free.

Expectancy bias is real, and it shapes your reality. This means in some sense that what you expect is what you get. When I was a kid, I used to stand on my head so I could see what the world looked like upside-down. To look at the world from that perspective transfigured it.

My otherwise familiar living room would become something new and absolutely fascinating. As far as my visual field was concerned, all the shapes and colours were exactly the same, only inverted.

What bridged the gap between my familiar reality and the alien landscape — where the roof was the floor — was that I made it impossible to keep pretending that I understood what I was looking at. Instead, I just looked at it.

Continue reading The World is a Dream, and All of it Comes for Free.