Profit maximization is a 'clean', strong forcing idea, i.e. one that allows for the abstraction from local context. It binds human actions together in a social structure that proves very hard to disentangle. Communal welfare cannot abstract from life in this way. The internal motivation hinges on local outcomes and thus erodes, leading either to societal collapse or suppression, which represent more primitive forcing ideas, namely following orders and immediate survival.
“Can I talk to a real computer please?”
Culturally, the watershed moment will be when people begin to prefer AI over other people. Only if and when that happens, will there be something like a 4th industrial revolution - a revolution that ultimately overcomes homo sapiens itself. From: Kamiel Choi, our last century.  
It's not about what you do. It's about what you don't do because of it.
whatever can be explained by inertia shouldn't be explained by a conspiracy
Is literary writing the art of making cultivated loneliness feel like engaging conversation?
"A value debased and an illusion unmasked have the same pitiful form; they resemble each other and there is nothing easier than to mistake one for the other." From: The Joke by Milan Kundera
How I avoided Depression
The original title of this article was “How I Overcame Depression” because it sounds more spectacular and is more likely to propel me into the realm of fickle yet immensely enjoyable Internet fame. But I didn’t want to lie. I don’t believe my symptoms, burdensome and debilitating as they were, warranted the diagnosis of clinical ...
Review: Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
Seven years after his The Better Angels of our Nature, the book in which he presented abundant statistics and reasons why violence has declined, Steven Pinker has published an even more ambitious tome defending the idea and ideals of Enlightenment. The controversy that arose from the 'cautiously optimist' view he presented in 2011 might have ...
Don't underestimate the power of pretty scientific models! On the catwalk of the universe they are all we have.
the I is a by-light a grievance by a wild fire the grammar of layered time
Be careful
Be particularly careful about the following four words: sacrifice, eternity, purity, redemption. If you hear any of these, sound the alarm. And if you happen to live in a country whose leader routinely says things like 'Their sacrifice will redeem the purity of our eternal nation' – know that you are in deep trouble. – Yuval Noah Harari, 21 lessons
I seek the company of others not to celebrate my narcissism, but to suppress it.
We breathe calmly. The word purpose agitates. Propos, to 'put forth' says the etymology. We are familiar with a hierarchy of purposes. At the end of a curious child's inquisitive series of "why?" every adult will resort to "just because". The purpose of growing up is to contribute to society. The purpose of society is ...
My words that are idiot contracts written to the music of escape.
Meditation on Hope
We sit and pretend we are terminally ill. We breathe calmly. What is hope? What do we make of the bonmot that 'hope dies last' if we are lost in a desert without the prospect of water? And isn't the human condition hopeless 'in the end', if we presuppose a rough understanding of hope as ...
Meditation on Time
Let's take some five second breaths to begin. Maybe even a ten second breath. We will breathe a finite number of breaths in our lifetime and it is less than one billion. Being aware of this fact is supposed to make us value every single one. We understand the present moment as the nexus of ...
Meditation on Happiness
We begin with music. It is our intention to influence our own happiness. Breathe calmly. Imagine you have full control over your hormonal levels and neurotransmitters, especially oxytocin and dopamine. Would you keep them at a constant, optimal level so you can experience the most happiness that is physiologically possible. A standard response to that ...