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The funnel of human experience

Eukaryote Writes Blog

[EDIT: Previous version of this post had some errors. Thanks for jeff8765 for pinpointing the error and esrogs in the comments for bringing it to my attention as well. This has been fixed.]

The graph of the human population over time is also a map of human experience. Think of each year as being “amount of human lived experience that happened this year.” On the left, we see the approximate dawn of the modern human species in 50,000 BC. On the right, the population exploding in the present day.

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It turns out that if you add up all these years, 50% of human experience has happened after 1309 AD. 15% of all experience has been experienced by people who are alive right now.

I call this “the funnel of human experience” – the fact that because of a tiny initial population blossoming out into a huge modern population, more of…

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Quote

Tyche

The theories about progress and the ‘genius which always pierces through’, arise from the fact that it is intolerable to suppose that what is most precious in the world should be given over to chance. It is because it is intolerable that it ought to be contemplated.

Creation is this very thing. The only good which is not subject to chance is that which is outside the world.

The vulnerability of precious things is beautiful because vulnerability is a mark of existence.

The destruction of Troy. The fall of the petals from fruit trees in blossom. To know that what is most precious is not rooted in existence—that is beautiful. Why? It projects the soul beyond time.

The woman who wishes for a child white as snow and red as blood gets it, but she dies and the child is given over to a stepmother.

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin (Reading Applied Ballardianism)

Toy Philosophy

Simon Sellars, Applied Ballardianism (Urbanomic, 2018)

I have never cared that much for science fiction, or Ballard for that matter, save for a handful of short stories. Which is obviously not the best way to start a review of a book you are passionate about and which is entitled Applied Ballardianism. But monikers and references, as always, can be fundamentally misleading, to the extent that they can be reappropriated, reinvented, and deformed—to such an extent that, in the end, they may as a matter of fact have no association with their point of origin other than a thin connective tissue of impressions, personal experiences, and vague affiliations which are subordinated to the course of time, and therefore subject to change and impermanence. Such is the case with Simon Sellars’s cross-genre work, in which (his [over-]interpretation of) the Ballardian worldview is applied to his conceptions of himself and the world…

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Nebraska, the Taiga, and an Escape from Modernity

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About halfway through the film, as the trappers set out in hand-made canoes to journey back into the heart of the Taiga, Herzog expresses his ultimate evaluation of their lifestyles:

Now, out on their own, the trappers become what they essentially are: happy people. Accompanied only by their dogs, they live off the land. They are completely self-reliant. They are truly free. No rules, no taxes, no government, no laws, no bureaucracy, no phones, no radio. Equipped only with their individual values and standard of conduct…every man has his own destiny, his own plan, his own territory…