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All Meta, All the Time (on Sundays)


I’ll try to actually talk about something this time!

Looking back at the posts I’ve made on this blog since it started, a lot of them are about politics. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that, but as I wrote recently, political writing is kind of a copout. It’s not that there’s no such thing as good political writing, it’s just rare, and I am probably not doing much of it. What should I write about instead, then?

Shortly after I began this blog, I began to contemplate what I might ultimately do with it. It occurred to me that a collection of posts could, with some good editing, potentially make a decent book. It would depend on what posts, of course, and how I tie them together into a cohesive whole. Keeping with the theme of this site, I would likely want to focus on the construction and examination of individual worldviews and how the interactions of those worldviews play out in our personal lives, as well as culture more broadly.

How are worldviews formed in the first place? Due to our experience of reality being entirely subjective, how do we come to consensus on the facts of the world around us? We believe in gravity, day and night, life and death–these things are as real to us as anything could be, but how does our human frame of reference limit our understanding or distort the underlying truth? How can anyone ever agree on anything? Clearly, it’s possible–little in the human world would work if we couldn’t find agreement on a wide variety of subjects. And what is happening to that ability to build consensus? If current political trends are any indication, democratically-driven consensus-building may vanish just as quickly as it appeared, if not even faster.

We are living in a strange time, one in which technology has enabled communication beyond anything imagined possible centuries ago. Humans are more interconnected than ever, and yet political and cultural turmoil are on the rise. Tools once expected to foster unity and cooperation are instead encouraging us to fragment and cling to very narrow peer groups while nurturing distrust for all others. It’s hard to say what the endpoints of these trends are, but they are hardly encouraging.

I may write more about this subject and the issues that underlie it in the near future, as I find them particularly fascinating and believe they will only become more and more crucial over time. Communication is only becoming more important, but it also seems to be what is tearing us apart. Like any tool, it can be used to build or destroy. Identifying and attempting to mitigate the destructive ends of communication will be essential if the experiment of human civilization is to survive this century. Much of that hinges on why and how we communicate the way we do–how we build, develop, and express our identities, and how we fit ourselves into the cultures around us.

It’s hard to say whether anything I write about it will make any sense. The only way to find out is to try.

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