‘Enlightenment,’ like all words, has myriad meanings. In a modern, Western context, it’s most often used as a synonym for such terms as wisdom, kindness, generosity, compassion, altruism, maturity — all the good stuff — or else as a reference to the historical period by the same name. In an Eastern or New-Age context, the word has a much more esoteric flavour, being charged as it is with all kinds of religious/mystical/metaphysical connotations, ranging from claims re human omniscience to the origins of the universe. …


Things go good and then they shatter into a thousand pieces before they put themselves back together and then go good again for a while before shattering once more and so on over and over, forever. That’s just how it is. Don’t believe me? read a book, watch a movie, have a geez at history, live a life for God’s sake, then tell me otherwise. Sounds like a rosy picture of things but it’s not coz the thing is without the shattering close by when the going’s good chance’s you don’t even know it, unless you’re a monk or someshit…


Health is — according to this construal of Reality — everything. That is, to be more precise, everything that matters. Thus to be healthier is, by definition, to be better in the broadest sense. If something is Bad, to consider the obverse, it is so only by virtue of its antithetical relationship to health. Accordingly, there is no such thing as “too much health”. There might, however, exist qualities that are generally associated with health that, if concentrated beyond a certain point, could result in corollary harms to one’s health. Indeed we know this to be the case. Too much…


We become what we fix our attention upon. Just the same, civilisation becomes what we collectively concern ourselves with — that is, how we allocate our attentional resources. Attention, it’s no overstatement, is truly our most sacred commodity, the means by which we direct — to the degree that we do — the course of cosmic events, the great unfurling of the future. In our personal lives, we tend to think in terms of what we’re focused on — at least the more reflective of us do, anyhow. We might ask ourselves, for instance, Are we spending our time wisely…


Underpinning the enhancement conversation is, naturally enough, that thing which makes us desire enhancement in the first place: the enhancement impulse. That is, our most ancient and engrained desire to improve what we are. Among the defining characteristics of the human psyche, see, is its yearning for more, for better, for different. We, from the earliest of ages, crave better looks, smarter brains, and, should we happen to be so wholesome, more open hearts. To the extent possible — to the extent the various facts of our physical organism and psychological will allow — we shape our lives in these…


Philosophy, I hope to have already convinced, is an essential component of the human project. It’s fruits (and its failings) represent the kernel of our collective operating system. And yet it’s become, at least outside of certain niche philosophy-loving circles, a somewhat dirty word. Today, philosophy is almost synonymous with pretentious, navel-gazing speculation — an activity performed by stuffy old professors or simply the lost and confused, something entirely detached from the everyday reality of human life. Accordingly, an interest in philosophy is today just as likely to be regarded as a reflection of pathology than it is any kind…


Like really really.

Would you believe it if I told you no-one knows? Well… no-one knows. There is a world — this thing we call Reality — and yet no-one has the slightest clue as to what it really is (like really really). Next to the brute fact of Reality itself, the fact that there is a Reality — a Reality we are a part of — and yet we don’t know what it is (in any kind of ultimate sense) is perhaps the most peculiar aspect of our already inherently peculiar existence. …


Aka on what’s really real.

The term ‘fundamental’ gets thrown around a lot, especially in intellectual circles. If one wants to attach a certain gravity to an object of inquiry, one might look to assert its ‘fundamental significance’. Generally, the word is simply used to stress that a certain thing is really important, that it matters a lot — i.e. ‘complexity is fundamental’. However, it’s also quite frequently used in a more specific — and indeed ‘fundamental’ — kind of way. That is, as an ontological claim — a claim as to what’s ‘really real’. For instance, take the idea that “consciousness is fundamental”. In…


Will we ever master the human condition?

Modern medicine has largely failed to live up to expectations, especially its own. With the exception of a very small list of interventions, we are yet to employ the use of modern technology to the benefit of human health, at least not to any significant degree. On the contrary, despite the advancements in basic science and biomedical technology — and they are substantial — health outcomes are, in many cases, actually declining. Given the immense progress we’ve made across almost every scientific vector, it would be reasonable to assume that said progress would translate to a healthier population — at…


And why it matters.

We don’t choose this world and we don’t choose our families. Yet here we are and there they are. And therein lies the dilemma. Some of us are born lucky, however, into great circumstances, “great families” — whatever that might mean. These lucky few — and perhaps it’s more than a few, but I highly doubt it — come to love the world, and their families, through seemingly no effort of their own. Happiness just comes to them, as it were. “OMG how good is life!”, “Soooo good!”, “How about family though!? Don’t you just LOVE them!?”. For the rest…

Nathan McNiece

@fair

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