The Social Contract Revisited

1. Don’t correct me if I say ‘two thousand and fourteen’ instead of the more modish ‘twenty fourteen.’ I waited a long time for the year 2000, and have quietly let die the science fiction hopes I once nurtured in its numerical name. So, let it pass in silence when I choose the less modern manner of speaking. Leave me this indulgence, younger ones.

2. I will not side with you or with anyone in social circumstances wherein two familiar faces are set against each other in enmity. I will not broker peace between you, but I will mediate by speaking to each of you alone about the other.

3. We loudly proclaim our investment in freedom and human life, but the louder we raise our voices, the less we actually implement our non-secular humanist agenda.

4. We need a world government which will be wise enough to create a Department of Actuarial Design, which will vary the rate of acceptable risk from a social engineering view. Those ideas which should exist will be given a subsidized charter which will limit its liabilities and elevate its interests just out of the reach of capital consequence.

5. The Singularity event spoken of by Ray Kurzweil, Vernor Vinge, Bill Joy and others is too often spoken of by middle-aged technocrats too validated by life to cede death. Any artist working today has to be a bit of a futurist. We need to consider what the acceptable human loss would be in the event of such a sudden change of state.

6. We will encounter other viable branches of pyramid-possessing worldlines when our predictive simulacrum of the alien is found to contain a reasonably-precise model of us.

7. The fifth dimension is story.

8. The viral element which draws us in again and again boils down to a germinal disconnect: ‘Is this person crazy or are they savvy?’

9. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hutchens: you aren’t wrong, but there’s a larger right. The irrational appetites over which we slather impel our internal Apollonian architect to grandeur.

10. Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, early harbinger of the twenty-first century’s media mix, was first named ‘The Cathedral of Erotic Misery.’ I have made my home within those weeping stone walls.

October 7, 2014


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