This chapter explores the following questions:

  • How can philosophy help me improve my life?
  • What is the "good life"?
  • What is happiness?
  • What do I believe in?
  • What am I capable of?
  • What should I focus on?

First, let's see what philosophy has to offer us.

Philosophy is tool that we can use to build a better future.

The word philosophy breaks down to philo-sophy which translates to "love for wisdom". There isn't a universally agreed-upon definition for "wisdom" but for the purposes of this book, we'll define wisdom as "the ability to predict the future". If you can predict the future, you're wise. [footnote: This is a reductionist definition - I'm invoking "accuracy over precision", a personal principle that prioritizes accurate forward motion over academic exercise that seeks precision].

With this definition, philosophy becomes a powerful tool. If you can predict the future, you can control the future. If you can control the future, you can improve the future for yourself and everyone around you.

I don't want someone else designing my future for me. I'd rather do it myself, and I think that if we all do it ourselves, we'll come to a lot of the same conclusions about what the future should look like. This is why I strongly believe that it's important for us all to build our own personal philosophies, because the ones that cultures and institutions give to us might not always be healthy. I don't want you depending on something that isn't good for you.

Practical philosophy is the stuff that helps us design our own future.

To be able to design the future, you have to be able to accurately predict the future. To do that, you have to build robust mental models that accurately correlate causes to effects across a myriad of different situations and timescales. Robust mental models don't just suddenly appear, though. They slowly crystallize over long periods of time from dense pockets of knowledge and experience, each pressurized by continuous critical thinking.

To develop these mental models, you have to efficiently draw conclusions about reality from a finite collection of knowledge and experience. This requires three things:

  1. A massive and diverse sample size of knowledge and experience 
  2. A mastery of critical thinking that allows you to very efficiently extract truth from your experience
  3. Motivation

An algorithm for acquiring wisdom might look like this: [footnote: algorithms we live by]

  1. Gather as much knowledge and experience as possible from as many places as possible [footnote: breadth-first search]
  2. Exercise your critical thinking skills [footnote: this is what Chapter 2 is all about]
  3. Unleash your intrinsic motivation by exploring, empowering, and loving yourself [footnote: intrinsic motivation]
  4. Go to step 1

As you loop through this algorithm, robust and predictive mental models will form and strengthen. You can then use your predictive powers to invest your time and energy in experiments that positively impact the future!

We can cultivate the growth of our own mental models by harvesting the most practically useful knowledge from the world around us. What makes something "practically useful" depends on your definition of utility. Is something "useful" only if improves your life? What if it improves your life while making someone else's a little worse? What is "improvement"?

To answer these questions, we need a moral frame of reference.

A moral frame of reference can help us decide what to focus on.

Morality is a weird, fluid construct that really only makes sense in relative terms. What appears to be immoral from one perspective could be seen as moral from another. Morality lies in the perspective of the beholder. But if we don't try to articulate our own moral principles, then we could end up gradually succumbing to the kind of ideological decay we see in Orwell's 1984 or Huxley's Brave New World.

My moral philosophy revolves around the preservation and enhancement of life. These two priorities serve as the frame of reference against which my "principled approach to designing a kickass life" has been designed. The stuff that empowers me to preserve and enhance life at large is the signal that I pursue - that's the stuff that I'm sharing with you here. Everything else is noise that I try to minimize as much as possible.

I have a lot to share with you and I have to somehow sculpt my message into an engaging, cohesive line of thinking. This is where Karma's Curriculum comes into play.

Karma's Curriculum is a self-education framework that helps us cultivate a good life.

The public education system in the United States has been handicapped by the standardized testing industry for a long time. As a result, teachers spend the vast majority of their time teaching to the test and neglecting arts, humanities, and life skills. [footnote: Ken robinson, school that lets kids play as they wish, assessment of how to measure quality of education]

The Karma Curriculum is my self-administered antidote. It's how I organize the knowledge that allows me to live a kickass life.

It's not an arbitrary curriculum. I think a good, happy life is what you get when you help other people live a good, happy life. And in order to do that, you have to take care of yourself, first. And then you can help others. And then you can help everyone.

The Karma Curriculum has been designed to turn you into an optimistic virus. Its scope begins with "things that help you" and then expands to "things that help your relationships" and eventually "things that help society". The objective of the curriculum is to plant the seeds that later blossom into practical visions of a universally good life. [footnote: chapter on pragmatic utopia, game theory]

Positive psychology tells us what a "good life" might look like.

What makes for a good life, though? This is the question that positive psychology tries to answer. Interestingly, this domain of science tells us that the desire to preserve and enhance life might not be a purely philosophical one, after all. We're seeing more and more evidence that this motivation emerges from our biology and psychology in ways that lend morality to approximately objective assessment [footnote - sam harris].

Given any action, we can ask ourselves, "to what degree will this improve the sustainability and quality of life for all lifeforms?"  Then we can select another action and answer that same question. We can then compare the results and form a moral judgment regarding the preferable action. This is absolutely a reductionist take on morality, but by reducing such a complex and multifaceted problem into a simple heuristic, we can sacrifice precision and move forward with accuracy [footnote: reference "accuracy over precision" here again - my acceptance of approximate objectivity and accuracy over precision are related to a concept I call fluid rationality. We'll explore this more in the next chapter.]

My belief that morality is sort of objectively measurable is a perspective that we'll refer to as empirical morality. It's a perspective that attempts to rationally examine moral motivations through the lenses of biological sustainability and quality of life [footnote: We can sort of measure biodiversity and homeostasis... and we could theoretically measure happiness with some weird combination of neurochemical monitoring and self-reported / other-reported psychometrics].

To understand where these moral motivations come from, we'll start with Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - a heuristic he wrote about in his 1954 book titled Motivation and Personality.

Maslow's Hierarchy links the "good life" to "self-actualization".

Abraham Maslow was a humanist psychologist. Humanist psychologists believe that everyone has an innate drive to fully understand and fulfil their own capabilities [footnote]. 

This is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:

Maslow shares his thinking in Motivation and Personality:

"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization. This term, first coined by Kurt Goldstein, is being used in this paper in a much more specific and limited fashion. It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming." - Abraham Maslow, Motivation and Personality, 1954

What exactly does it mean to "self-actualize" though? 

It depends on your personal philosophy. Mine has been influenced by Carl Rogers, another prominent humanist psychologist. He believed that self-actualization is a lifelong process more so than a fixed state of being.

Self-actualization is a lifelong journey, not a destination.

"In my early professionals years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth? I have gradually come to one negative conclusion about the good life. It seems to me that the good life is not any fixed state. It is not, in my estimation, a state of virtue, or contentment, or nirvana, or happiness. It is not a condition in which the individual is adjusted or fulfilled or actualized. To use psychological terms, it is not a state of drive-reduction, or tension-reduction, or homeostasis. The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination. [...]

In my deepest contacts with individuals in therapy, even those whose troubles are most disturbing, whose behavior has been most anti-social, whose feelings seem most abnormal, I find this to be true. When I can sensitively understand the feelings which they are expressing, when I am able to accept them as separate persons in their own right, then I find that they tend to move in certain directions. And what are these directions in which they tend to move? The words which I believe are most truly descriptive are words such as positive, constructive, moving toward self-actualization, growing toward maturity, growing toward socialization." - Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person, 1961

Rogers expands upon this in his A Way of Being:

"I am not alone in seeing such an actualizing tendency as the fundamental answer to the question of what makes an organism “tick.” Goldstein (1947), Maslow (1954), Angyal (1941, 1965), Szent-Gyoergyi (1974), and others have held similar views and have influenced my own thinking. [...] Szent-Gyoergyi says that he cannot explain the mysteries of biological development “without supposing an innate ‘drive’ in living matter to perfect itself”. The organism, in its normal state, moves toward its own fulfillment, toward self-regulation and an independence from external control." - Carl Rogers, A Way of Being, 1980

I absolutely believe that life has an innate drive to thrive. Our genes use us to travel through time just like we use cars to travel through space. The appearance of designed perfection emerges as our genes get better at animating the raw materials of their environment with cleverer and cleverer designs. "Happiness" is chemistry's way of incentivizing biological structures to keep moving forward. Happy hormones are sort of like nature's money [footnote: happy hormones, neuroeconomics quote here? Mention of assessing the value of economic systems through this lens?].

We feel "good" when we serve our genes, and the primary motivation of our genes is to persist through time. To me, self-actualization is the process of appealing to our genetic motivation by doing things that help life thrive - now and far into the future. This includes you, your family, your community, your species, and the broader organism of life.

Although genetic motivation isn't really "motivation" - it's an ongoing chemical reaction. This is why my moral philosophy revolves around the preservation and enhancement of life. Chemistry has given me a privileged life. The least I can do is pay my dues by trying to figure out how to be more of a catalyst than an inhibitor [footnote].

Self-actualization is directly related to the maintenance and enhancement of life.

Chemical reactions gave us energy, which gave us genes, which gave us biochemical reactions, which gave us complex biological structures. Genes use these ever-evolving structures to paddle through time [footnote: river out of eden].

Though I'm using the word "use" a bit carelessly here. Genes "use" our bodies to persist in the same way that chemicals "use" genes to keep moving, or that chemical reactions "use" raw materials to keep reacting. The motion of life depends on chemical reactions, but this motion is automatic and based on the laws of physics [footnote: biological determinism, sapolsky].

My sense of moral duty is rooted in my appreciation of biological impulse, which is rooted in the chemistry of evolution, which is rooted in the laws of physics. And I'd like to keep the reaction going for as long as possible. Because if there's anyone watching from the other side of a cloud or computer screen, I want them to feel inspired or at least entertained, you know? 

So for me, the "good life" is all about feeling like my little story is helping our bigger story. This translates to enabling genetic expansion by defending and enhancing our ecological diversity and sustainability. To do this, we need to step back and assess the health of life's spirit from a broad, holistic perspective. Then we need to diagnose the root causes of any ongoing health risks and formulate a treatment plan that focuses on sustainable lifestyle improvements.

We are life's leaders.

Evolution has given us bodies and brains [footnote - or god, or simulation, or whatever. Those are nonzero possibilities. But The most likely explanation is a gradual process]. Our brains are really big compared to our bodies [footnote]. Our neocortex gives us the power of abstract thinking [footnote]. Our bipedalism gives us the ability to use tools and build civilizations [footnote]. We're the only species with the power to destroy all other species. That power translates to a responsibility - the same kind of responsibility that our brain has for the rest of our body. Our species is just one organ within the broader organism of life [footnote].

Just as your neocortex is responsible for planning and critical thinking within the scope of your body, our species is responsible for planning and critical thinking within the scope of life's broader organism. What makes us truly intelligent isn't just being aware of ourselves... it's being aware of our broader self. We're responsible for directing the evolution of life. To every other species, you're God. You determine their future.

Though we're having a hard time coming to grips with this responsibility at the macro scale. How do we accelerate our collective embrace of this duty?

Society needs therapy.

The organism of life is being directed by an unsustainable flavor of human society [footnote] and we're due for some macro behavioral improvement. In order to improve our behavior, we need to improve our thinking. At the individual scale, this is the domain of cognitive-behavioral-therapy, or CBT.

"When people learn to evaluate their thinking in a more realistic and adaptive way, they experience improvement in their emotional state and in their behavior. For example, if you were quite depressed and bounced some checks, you might have an automatic thought, an idea that just seemed to pop up in your mind: “I can’t do anything right.” This thought might then lead to a particular reaction: you might feel sad (emotion) and retreat to bed (behavior). If you then examined the validity of this idea, you might conclude that you had overgeneralized and that, in fact, you actually do many things well. Looking at your experience from this new perspective would probably make you feel better and lead to more functional behavior. [...]

For lasting improvement in patients’ mood and behavior, cognitive therapists work at a deeper level of cognition: patients’ basic beliefs about themselves, their world, and other people. Modification of their underlying dysfunctional beliefs produces more enduring change." - Judith Beck, Cognitive Behavior Therapy

CBT is a collaborative process that focuses on collecting data that can be used to help the patient define and refine their conception of self so that more adaptive responses can be formulated. 

Judith Beck's Cognitive Behavior Therapy is regarded as essential, authoritative reading for therapists who utilize CBT. Within it, Judith shares ten basic principles of cognitive therapy. Let's pretend that our "patient" is "society" and explore how these principles might be useful to us at the macro scale.

Principle No. 1. Cognitive therapy is based on an ever-evolving formulation of the patient and her problems in cognitive terms. 

An effective therapist helps their patient articulate their difficulties across three time frames:

  1. The present. What self-limiting beliefs exist, and how do those beliefs reinforce unhealthy behaviors?
  2. The recent history. What recent factors influenced the development of dysfunctional beliefs?
  3. The distant history. What distant factors influenced the development of dysfunctional beliefs?

In this model, therapy is the process of collecting data with the patient while facilitating the patient's own discovery of insight. 

Macro relevance: If we want to improve society, then I think we need to understand how our past has given us our present state of affairs. We need to understand what the broader organism of human society believes and then logically deconstruct some of the dysfunctional and self-limiting components of those beliefs. 

Chapter X (Anthropology, Sociology, Culture, History, and Geography) explores the origins of modern-day society, while Chapter Y (Self-Limiting Society, Sustainability, and Contemporary Issues) explores the present through the lens of CBT. In both chapters, data is used to support a formulation of past and present societal behavior in relation to past and present ideology. If we identify dysfunctional thought at the macro scale, maybe we can propose some alternative thinking. This is the focus of Chapter Z (Anarchism, Decentralization, Economics, Technosocialism, and Futuristic Business Models).

Principle No. 2. Cognitive therapy requires a sound therapeutic alliance.

The patient should trust and collaborate with her therapist, which means that the therapist should demonstrate all of the ingredients necessary in a counseling situation: warmth, empathy, caring, genuine regard, and competence. This can be demonstrated by making empathetic statements, listening closely and carefully, accurately summarizing her thoughts and feelings, and being realistically optimistic and upbeat. The therapist should also ask for feedback at the end of each session to ensure that the patient feels understood.

Macro relevance: If we're going to effectively deliver therapy to life, then we need to be able to respectfully listen to and learn from one another. Cyberpunk Therapy is being developed and shared on Karma, a platform built to facilitate large-scale, open-source authorship and collaborative self-education. Warmth and empathy are core components of Karma's culture and are aggressively defended to preserve our collaborative culture.

Principle No. 3. Cognitive therapy emphasizes collaboration and active participation. 

Therapy is teamwork. Many decisions have to be made about meeting frequency, therapy homework, and therapy focus. These decisions should be made together. The therapist's responsibility is to make informed suggestions, but the patient should be encouraged to take a more active role in this decision-making as therapy progresses. The goal is to equip the patient with mental models that help them identify dysfunctional thinking and devise improved behaviors.

Macro relevance: We can work together to build tools (like Karma) that help us build and share useful mental models at the micro level so that macro behavioral improvement might emerge over time.

Principle No. 4. Cognitive therapy is goal oriented and problem focused.

Therapy should begin by enumerating problems and setting goals. For example, an initial problem involves feeling isolated. With guidance, the patient states a goal in behavioral terms: to initiate new friendships and become more intimate with current friends.

The therapist should help the patient identify unhealthy thought patterns like “I have nothing to offer anyone. They probably won’t want to be with me.” These thought patterns should be scrutinized together based on evidence. The patient can then be encouraged to test the thoughts more directly through experiments in which she initiates plans with an acquaintance.

Once she recognizes and corrects the distortion in her thinking, the patient is able to benefit from straightforward problem-solving to improve her relationships. The therapist's responsibility is to identify problems that present obstacles to the patient's own problem-solving. Some patients have already developed problem-solving skills that need only be exercised; others will need to learn these skills from scratch. It's the therapist's responsibility to calibrate the level of intervention accordingly.

Macro relevance: If we collaboratively identify our greatest systemic risks and then collaboratively propose some solutions to those problems along with an incremental experimental design, we might be able to accelerate our healing [footnote - experimental design].  Chapter X Y Z address these.

Principle No. 5. Cognitive therapy initially emphasizes the present. 

Therapy begins with an appraisal of current problems. It's through the collaborative assessment of these problems, their causes, and their solutions that we can move from the present to the past. It may be important to discuss childhood events with the patient midway through therapy to help them identify any beliefs and coping mechanisms that they learned as a child: (“If I achieve highly, it means I’m an okay person,” “If I don’t achieve highly, it means I’m a failure.”)

Macro relevance:

Principle No. 6. Cognitive therapy is educative, aims to teach the patient to be her own therapist, and emphasizes relapse prevention.

Therapy also begins with an explicit articulation of what cognitive therapy is, and how the patient's thoughts influence her emotions and behavior. The therapist's responsibility is to teach the patient how to set goals, identify dysfunctional thoughts, evaluate beliefs, plan behavioral change, and maintain mental health. An important component of this teaching is encouraging the patient to record - in writing - important ideas, dilemmas, victories, and obstacles.

Macro relevance:

Principle No. 7. Cognitive therapy aims to be time limited. 

Most straightforward patients with depression and anxiety disorders are treated for 4 to 14 sessions. The therapist's goal is to provide symptom relief, to facilitate a remission of the disorder, to help her resolve her most pressing problems, and to teach her tools so that she will more likely avoid relapse. The collaborative decision to reduce therapy frequency can be made based on measurable, evidence-based improvement from one session to the next.

Macro relevance:

Principle No. 8. Cognitive therapy sessions are structured. 

Every session should follow a set structure. Check the patient's mood, asks for a brief review of the week, collaboratively set an agenda for the session, elicit feedback about the previous session, review homework, discuss the agenda items, set new homework, frequently summarize, and seek feedback at the end of each session.

This structure remains constant throughout therapy. As the patient becomes less depressed, their therapist encourages them to take more of a lead in contributing to the agenda, setting their homework assignments, and evaluating and responding to their thoughts. Following a set format makes the process of therapy more understandable for both patient and therapist

and increases the likelihood that patient will be able to do self-therapy after termination. This format also focuses attention on what is most important to the patient and maximizes use of therapy time.

Macro relevance:

Principle No. 9. Cognitive therapy teaches patients to identify, evaluate, and respond to their dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs. 

The therapist helps the patient focus on a specific problem (finding a part-time job), identify dysfunctional thinking (by asking what is going through their mind), evaluate the validity of the patient's thought (through examining the evidence that seems

to support its accuracy and the evidence that seems to contradict it), and devise a plan of action.

This is achieved through gentle Socratic questioning, which helps foster their sense that the therapist is truly interested in collaborative empiricism - helping them determine the accuracy and utility of their ideas via a careful review of data (rather than challenging them or persuading them to adopt the therapist's viewpoint).

In other sessions, the therapist may use guided discovery, a process in which he continues to ask the patient for the meaning of their thoughts in order to uncover underlying beliefs they hold about themself, their world, and other people. Through questioning the therapist also guides them in evaluating the validity and functionality of their beliefs.

Macro relevance:

Principle No. 10. Cognitive therapy uses a variety of techniques to change thinking, mood, and behavior. 

Although cognitive strategies such as Socratic questioning and guided discovery are central to cognitive therapy, techniques from other orientations (especially behavior therapy and Gestalt therapy) are also used within a cognitive framework. The

therapist selects techniques based on his case formulation and his objectives in specific sessions.

"These basic principles apply to all patients. Therapy does, however, vary considerably according to the individual patient, the nature of her difficulties, her goals, her ability to form a strong therapeutic bond, her motivation to change, her previous experience with therapy, and her preferences for treatment.

The emphasis in treatment depends on the patient’s particular disorder(s). Cognitive therapy for generalized anxiety
disorder, for example, emphasizes the reappraisal of risk in particular situations and one’s resources for dealing with threat (Beck & Emery, 1985). Treatment for panic disorder involves the testing of the patient’s catastrophic misinterpretations (usually life- or sanity-threatening erroneous predictions) of bodily or mental sensations (Clark, 1989). Anorexia requires a modification of beliefs about personal worth and control (Garner & Bemis, 1985). Substance abuse treatment focuses on negative beliefs about the self and facilitating or permission granting beliefs about substance use (Beck, Wright, Newman, & Liese, 1993)." - Judith Beck

Macro relevance:


While our society is led by politicians and executives, its true power lies with the people [quotes]. This also means that the responsibilities of human society lie with the people. As much as I'd love for our leadership to begin talking about and experimenting with dramatic systemic change, our current economics and incentives just don't support a top-down approach [footnote]. 

I think systemic therapy needs to be designed and delivered as a grassroots effort that treats the complex organism of life as a patient in need of our love, attention, and coordinated support. That means we have to alter the course of human society, which means we have to alter the course of everyone's individual ideology at the same time.

"I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." - The Little Engine That Could

The galactic scope of this responsibility might seem overwhelming, but I don't think it is. It's like every other kind of obstacle that life throws at us. 

We need to step back, come together, assess the problems, envision some potential solutions, and then chart the path from here to there with humble, data-driven experimentation. 

And we need to believe that we're all heroes.

To be an effective therapist, we need to believe in our own heroic potential.

do you want a therapist who's lacking in self-assurance, or do you want one who's confident that they can help you?

Then, as the organism of life, which would you want?

Become what the organism of life needs - its hero.

pseudo: hero quote from zimbardo

believing down to our core - the identity level - that we are the heroes in this story.

A growth mindset can automate our optimism.

Just like habits become automatic after lots of exercise... 

Relation to As a Man Thinketh

The heroic mindset can be learned.

optimism can be automated with cbt.

Carol dweck and colleagues

link between altruism, intrinsic motivation, growth mindset

Once you believe that you're a hero, you can design the future.

That belief gives you the moral obligation and the motivation to utilize your life for the greater good.

With that motivation, we can then move onto the harvesting of Just-In-Time knowledge. [expando].

There's a lot to learn, so we should learn how to learn efficiently.

  • Like a catalyst - lowering the activation energy of truth

Symbolics and metaphysics give us the tools we need to learn efficiently.

  • This is a prerequisite to designing the future - efficient metabolism / metametabolism
  • bam, segway into next chapter


In order to live an intensely happy life, I think you need to try to be a hero of some kind.

scratch ~

RE life's seeming impossible complexity - just like bits give us and gates, processors, neural networks. One just has carbon and chemistry, while one is built by organic neural networks - an emergent property of chemistry.

as a man thinketh belongs in next chapter too

community, belonging, contribution

happiness hypothesis

neurochemistry of happiness

hedonistic treadmill - neuroeconomics here - lifestyle chapter

empirical support for maslow's hierarchy

fluid rationality in next chapter

More tightening of empirical morality / objective morality / approximate objectivity

then some concise conclusions about what it means to live a good life

then finally a reexamination of the questions

Compare and contrast with other philosophies while extracting beneficial pieces


One component of critical thinking is believing that there's always more truth to be discovered, and that your truths may change. This describes humility, which is closely related to wisdom.

To be able to predict the future about your own happiness, you have to be able to predict your own psychological tendencies and neurochemical ebbs and flows. Being able to anticipate and then manage your own psychology requires immense self-awareness, which is closely related to wisdom.

Pop Sources:

  • The Happiness Hypothesis
  • Maslow
  • Rogers
  • Goldstein
  • William Godwin
  • Practical Philosophy sources
  • Practical Morality sources
  • Think by Blackburn
  • Thomas Nagel
  • The Truth
  • The Problems of Philosophy
  • A New History of Western Philosophy
  • The Philosopher's Toolkit
  • Plato's Five Dialogues
  • Craig's A Very Short Introduction
  • Durant's The Story of Philosophy
  • History of Western Philosophy and its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances
  • Ghandi's story of Experiments with Truth
  • The Republic
  • Shinto
  • Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
  • The Art of Living - Epictetus
  • On Liberty - John Stuart Mill
  • The Conquest of Happiness - Russell
  • Buckingham - The Philosophy Book
  • A Global History of Philosophy
  • CBT principles
  • Hobbes’ Leviathan ~ trading freedom for security
  • Cosmos: A Personal Voyage
  • Pale Blue Dot
  • A Way of Being
  • A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy
  • On Becoming A Person
  • Freedom to Learn
  • Client-Centered Therapy
  • The last lecture
  • The sane society
  • Zen and the Art of motorcycle maintenance
  • Man’s search for meaning
  • The development of personality
  • Freud scientifically reappraised
  • Leading an inspired life
  • The happiness hypothesis
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
  • Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
  • Psychology of Science: A Reconnaissance
  • Michael Polanyi's great book Personal Knowledge
  • Psychology of Science - Maslow
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
  • All of maslow's footnotes
  • I have decided to omit the last chapter of the first edition of this book, "Toward a Positive Psychology"; what was 98 percent true in 1954 is only two-thirds true today.
  • This book focuses much more on the first problem-the fully-human person, than on the second problem-what kind of society makes him possible. I have written a good deal on the subject since 1954 when this book first appeared, but have refrained from trying to incorporate these findings into this revised edition. Instead I will refer the reader to some of my writings on the subject (291, 301, 303, 311a, 311b, 312, 315) and also urge as strongly as I can the necessity of becoming acquainted with the rich research literature on normative social psychology (called variously Organizational Development, Organization Theory, Management Theory, etc.). The implications of these theories, case reports and researches seem to me to be profound, offering as they do a real alternative, for instance, to the various versions of Marxian theory, of democratic and authoritarian theories, and of other available social philosophies. I am again and again astonished that so few psychologists are even aware of the work of, for instance, Argyris (15, 16), Bennis (42, 43, 45), Likert (275). and McGregor (332), to mention only a few of the well-known workers in the field. In any case, anyone who wishes to take seriously the theory of self-actualization must also take seriously this new- kind of social psychology.
  • "Things are only impossible until they're not" - Captain Jean-Luc Picard
  • “it’s possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.”
  • Roko's basilisk
  • "...Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, alone; you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' Why not?-Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty. Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, 'everyone' is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there would be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, 'It's not so bad' or 'You're seeing things' or 'You're an alarmist.'
  • And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can't prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don't know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have....
  • But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked-if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in '43 had come immediately after the 'German Firm' stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in '33. But of course this isn't the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.
  • And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying 'Jewish swine,' collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in-your nation, your people-is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way."
  • Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945
  • I see "cyberpunks" as the people pushing forward the changes necessary to allow technology to reinvent what it means to be human. I had a chance to hear from a lot of people who worked on early computing (lookup "1968 mother of all demos" if you're curious about one of them) and their opinion was that it should have changed things a lot faster and a lot sooner. They hadn't anticipated concepts like "intellectual property", and large corporations that would purposefully hinder information in the name of profit. They all shared code back then.
  • Just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's wrong; legal does not equal right; wiggle the codified law. Only wiggles in response to stretching like a muscle fiber. White-hat criminals are like mutations / ATP of our legal muscles.
  • I love Maria Popova's views on actively resisting cynicism.
  • Our brains/bodies are succeptible to physical/ideological viruses just like computer systems are.
  • Krista Tippett's "On Being"! She interviews all sorts of interesting people about the big questions in life: stuff like "what's our purpose in the world?" and "how can we be good to each other?"
  • Tippett's Interview with Yo-Yo Ma:
  • Tippett's Interview with Esther Perel:
  • The Cultural Significance of Cyberpunk
  • The war of art
  • Lots of Jung, Campbell, Jed McKenna, Alan Hawkins type material on the understanding of the subconscious
  • Given his Wikipedia article I’m disappointed Carl Rogers didn’t come up in any of my college psychology classes. But then again neither did Taibi Kahler who has produced the most actionable psychology advice I’m aware of.
  • Taoism
  • William james
  • Thriving should be a universal right - Universal declaration of lifeform rights
  • The scope of our vision is handicapped by noise - okefenokee, elephant, etc
  • Articulating a broadly scoped vision gives us lifelong security in the same way that religion does. It's an antidote against nihilism. But if the scope is too big, then nihilism comes into play because really, who the fuck cares about any of this. But I'd like to wake up feeling driven, not aimless and dull. Optimistic nihilism.
  • Battle Angel Alita - Yukito Kishirow
  • Ghost in the Shell - Masamune Shirow
  • The Brothers Karamazov
  • I, Robot
  • Foundation
  • The hero with 1000 faces
  • Great expectations
  • Crime and punishment
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • 1984
  • Animal farm
  • Brave new world
  • Primer from diamond age
  • Love Death and Robots
  • Johnny Mnemonic
  • Greg Egan
  • The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" by Ursula Le Guin :)
  • Greg egan diaspora
  • The Diamond Age
  • Accelerando, by Charles Stross.
  • Mondo 2000, the Happy Mutant's Handbook, and William Gibson books on supermarket shelves
  • Two-Minute Papers
  • Geeks get powerful, and if they haven't been treated right, they reflect their subconscious desire for revenge into their future selves. Culturally, we need to make nerds, geeks, and techy fringes very sexy and desirable. Inject MMA and bodybuilding culture into tech domains?
  • Godel Escher Bach
  • The ICT touches on it and is in conversation with that history. As is Huizinga's book.
  • ICT Essays
  • Use these for videos:
  • Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill and Them Changes by Thundercat respectively.
  • Death by a thousand cuts
  • Jack Ma and Elon Musk Debate: A Cyberpunk Analysis
  • The Great Filter
  • Eve's Guide to Mental Health
  • On International Relations
  • On Holistic Programming
  • On Self-Actualized Software Systems
  • On Cyberpunk Programming Principles
  • On Cyberpunk Enterprises
  • We Should Encourage Tesla To Innovate In Data Ownership By Allowing Vehicle Owners To Understand And Own Their Data
  • We Should Encourage Pornhub To Directly Compete With YouTube
  • On Cosmology
  • On Astrology