Out of the 100 books I read last year, I wanted to highlight a few that I found particularly rewarding.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.