Magic and Technology

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Digital Media & Videogames, Magic, Religion, Science

A state­ment often re­peat­ed in dis­cus­sions of tech­nolo­gy, whether within the realm of sci­ence fic­tion (and lite­rary criti­cism of the genre) or with­out, is Arthur C. Clarke’s so-called “Third Law”, which states that “any suffi­cient­ly ad­vanced tech­nolo­gy is in­dis­tin­guish­able from magic”. The reader may refer to Wiki­pedia for a bit of back­ground surroun­ding Clarke’s three laws and pos­sible pre­ce­dents for the third one men­tioned here. While the law obvious­ly makes pre­dic­tions about the per­cep­tion of tech­nology in real life, it is equally rele­vant to fic­tion, par­ticu­larly sci­ence fic­tion and fantasy, where magic and/or tech­nology occupy pro­mi­nent places as plot devices, motifs, etc. […] What inte­rests me in par­ticu­lar are the assump­tions lying behind Clarke’s third law, and how the law and its assump­tions can help (or hinder) us to under­stand the inter­play between tech­nology and magic as con­cepts of acti­vity

Ruins: Digital Dream Poetry

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Death, Digital Media & Videogames, Dreams, Music, Visual Art

This is going to be a very brief im­pres­sion, but there’s an­other game I wanted to share with you. Ruins, deve­loped by Card­board Com­puter, is a new dig­ital art piece in which you con­trol a dog, Agatha, who cha­ses a num­ber of white rab­bits in a dream­like land­scape which is do­min­ated by ruins, trees, fog, and piano.

From Dust: Playing God

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Digital Media & Videogames, Magic, Politics, Religion

Video­games by their very nature often make in­teres­ting argu­ments on the things they por­tray. This struck me quite power­fully while play­ing a recent digi­tally dis­tribu­ted title called From Dust. The game was de­signed by Éric Chahi and deve­loped by Ubi­soft Mont­pellier, and it essen­tially re­volves around being a god and over­seeing the fate of ‘your’ people.

Some possible principles of cultural evolution

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Evolution, Science

Fol­low­ing is a brief essay on some prin­ciples of evo­lution that could be use­ful in ana­lysing the spread of ideas, con­cepts, and ideo­logical com­plexes in human cul­ture. While there will be many prac­tical diffe­rences between evo­lution in bio­logical entit­ies and cul­tural ones, some gen­eral prin­ciples of evo­lution may per­haps apply to both.

Two recent books on biological, cultural, and spiritual evolution

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Evolution, Poetry & Prose, Religion, Science

Over the past few years, I’ve be­come more and more con­vinced that the concept of evo­lution is not only a power­ful ex­plan­ation of chan­ges and pat­terns in the bio­logic­al world, but also, by exten­sion, of changes and pat­terns in human cul­ture, or the world of ideas. If the sur­vival of (spe­cies of) organ­isms ulti­mately depends on their abil­ity to adapt to ever-chan­ging en­viron­ments, then the same might very well be true of ideas and con­cepts, and I believe it is a fruit­ful line of study to pur­sue this idea.