Just came across a great kinetic typographic rendition of a Neil DeGrasse Tyson clip that I’ve always enjoyed.

Great video via Po-Chen Chia (link).

Check it out:


A Beautiful Paradox

Posted: July 16, 2011 in Philosophy, Quotes
Tags: , ,

“[Our] paradox is the ceaseless, constant drive to understand something that is inherently un-understandable. Now, of course, the paradox lies in the fact that we understand it is not to be understood, and yet we understand that we continue to try to understand. It’s a beautiful paradox.”

– Dr. William Rowlandson

via Matrix Masters (link)

Self-Image Leads to Pain

Posted: July 16, 2011 in Philosophy, Quotes
A great Krishnamurti quote came across my feed reader today:
“Why divide problems as major and minor? Is not everything a problem? Why make them little or big problems, essential or unessential problems? If we could understand one problem, go into it very deeply however small or big it is, then we would uncover all problems. This is not a rhetorical answer. Take any problem: anger, jealousy, envy, hatred&,we know them all very well. If you go into anger very deeply, not just brush it aside, then what is involved? Why is one angry? Because one is hurt, someone has said an unkind thing; and when someone says a flattering thing you are pleased. Why are you hurt? Self-importance, is it not? And why is there self-importance?
Because one has an idea, a symbol of oneself, an image of oneself, what one should be, what one is or what one should not be. Why does one create an image about oneself? Because one has never studied what one is, actually. We think we should be this or that, the ideal, the hero, the example. What awakens anger is that our ideal, the idea we have of ourselves, is attacked. And our idea about ourselves is our escape from the fact of what we are. But when you are observing the actual fact of what you are, no one can hurt you. Then, if one is a liar and is told that one is a liar it does not mean that one is hurt; it is a fact. But when you are pretending you are not a liar and are told that you are, then you get angry, violent. So we are always living in an ideational world, a world of myth and never in the world of actuality. To observe what is, to see it, actually be familiar with it, there must be no judgment, no evaluation, no opinion, no fear.
– J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

I was thinking about posting this a while back, but The Rookie Cynic beat me to it!

A great Carl Sagan video – This Pale Blue Dot:

A couple months ago, a video started circulating among the internet niches I frequent, called “Six Easy Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization.”  The video was a recording of a lecture given by David Eagleman at the Long Now Foundation and broad-casted by FORA.tv.  I don’t know why I didn’t post it back then, but I wanted to get it on the blog just because it’s a great, thought-provoking talk.  Here’s the link to the FORA.tv page for the talk.

The reason I was encouraged to post this FORA.tv talk was the result of a recent interview I listened two where David Eagleman spoke Jay Hughes of the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies on his “Changesurfer Radio” podcast.

Description from the IEET post on “The Net, Brains, and Civilizational Resilience“:

Dr. J. chats with David Eagleman, a fellow of the IEET and director of the Laboratory for Perception and Action and the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law at Baylor College of Medicine. Eagleman is author of the bestseller Sum, on fictional afterlives, Wednesday is Indigo Blue, about synaesthesia, the e-book Why the Net Matters and the forthcoming Incognito: The Brains Behind the Mind. They discuss the thesis David outlined for the Long Now Foundation that the Internet makes our civilization more resilient than previous ones.

Given just how central energy is to sustaining complexity (i.e. making everything work), I’m still not entirely convinced that the internet will solve all of the problems we face in this century.  I certainly agree that it gives us a better chance of managing our civilizational risks – but that assumes the keepers of the status quo don’t fight it.  With concerns over the freedom of the internet growing every year due to cyber warfare and other disruptive possibilities, it seems at least possible that much of the liberating potential of the net will be muzzled instead of cultivated.

In terms of opportunities, I think any strategic thinker, entrepreneur, or good investor would be wise to seek opportunities related to the 6 ways that the internet could avert the collapse of civilization.  Presumably, if these are actually ways to avert or mitigate major future catastrophes, then those who figure out how to align with these ideas will stand to protect & benefit themselves and those around them.

For quick reference, the 6 “civilizational life-savers” according to Eagleman are:

  1. Try Not to Cough on Anyone
  2. Don’t Lose Things
  3. Tell Each Other Faster
  4. Mitigate Tyranny
  5. Get More Brains Involved
  6. Try Not to Run Out of Energy

Perhaps in a future post, I’ll explore these areas in a bit more detail – looking at their potential to actually avert civilizational collapse, or possible opportunities that arise out of focusing on these ideas.

Stay tuned.



I couldn’t really find any background info on the video posted below, but it is one of the best combinations of audio & video about the cosmos & nature of reality that I’ve ever come across.

In the film, the speaker talks about the nature of reality and our ever expanding understanding of it.  Despite how much we seem to know, the speaker makes it clear that actually know very little.

“It’s not that I think I know.  It’s that I know, with absolute certainty, that I don’t.  And I know, with seemingly identical certainty, that nobody knows, because nobody can.”

“Our poets do not write about it; our artists do not try to portray this remarkable thing.  I don’t know why.  Is nobody inspired by our present picture of the universe?  The value of science remains unsung by singers…This is not yet a scientific age.” – Richard P. Feynman