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Showing posts from January, 2013

an essay

If anyone was wondering what my exact beef with economics is, I just found my final undergrad philosophy paper. (I was lucky and got free rein on question choice, so of course at once I chose to beat up on economics.) It's pretty derivative of Phil Mirowski, Steve Keen and John Emerson, but the framework is new. And from the writing style you can see why my markers often had a problem with me.

Given the word limit, it's just a sketch of a vast topic - and embarrassingly sketchy on the history, sociology and technical economic details (i.e. failing at everything that I accuse PE of) - but most of it strikes me as crudely true and worthy of a careful book in future.

Who are we when we play Civ?

'Jeanne d' Arc', by Eugene Thirion (1897)


What entity are we when we play Civ? Not a mere king; these games span 5000 years without any change in focalisation. Despite appearances, we're not a race either; the tiles in Civ IV show a mix of ethnies almost from the start. We can't be an institution or government because Iremain through my revolutions; in fact I cause a dozen revolutions when it suits me. Not God; there is too much we do not know and could not do if we did. (We can't even be a tribal god structure like Shinto, because all tribes begin without religion or even, mostly, the speculative mystical mindset.) A 'culture' is vague enough to fit, but almost meaningless, and worse, it gets in the way of my exciting idea.
But what does that leave - except the Geist of Hegel? Yes; our gameplay constitutes one tendril of one virtual iteration of Hegel's deistic God, the 'Weltgeist'. We play a Volksgeist which, through violent dialectic with…

the mathematical food chain

"Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum,
And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on,
While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on." - Augustus De Morgan
I do maths these days. But, even studying the elementarythings I am, I get vertigo off the scale of the differences in mathematical ability. It's super-logarithmic. Let's torture a metaphor:

God: Euler. Cos of his thousand instinctive transformations, foundation of the modern manner, and being 200 years ahead of his time. Hear us testify! "I discovered the works of Euler and my perception of the nature of mathematics underwent a dramatic transformation. I was... expelled from the Cantorian paradise." - Alexander Stepanov

"Like a Shakespearean sonnet that captures the very essence of love, or a painting that brings out the beauty of the human form that is far more than just skin …