weaponized autism train pepe face cover image

Weaponised Autism as the Font of Human Creativity

What makes humans special? How is it that we are able to unleash the energy of the atom, transmute handfuls of sand into powerful djinn, and generally manipulate matter in any way not strictly forbidden by the laws of physics, while our hominid ancestors gather dust in the natural history museum? What tectonic forces have torn such a chasm between us and our surviving cousins, still banging rocks together in the animal kingdom?

For most of history this was no great mystery: only humans have an immortal soul, granted to us by a Creator who made us in His own image.

Then Linnaeus and Darwin revealed we were merely naked apes, sparking the great debate that remains unresolved almost three hundred years later: what is our secret sauce as a species?

Some rely on bold conjectures: it’s our big brains. Others make convincing arguments for our language skills, or twiddle their opposable thumbs suggestively.

Wrong, says Simon Baron-Cohen. In fact, the font of all human creativity, the source of all our knowledge, and the key to becoming masters of the universe is… autism.

The Beginning of Infinity, by David Deutsch: A book review

Book Review: The Beginning of Infinity

Pound-for-pound The Beginning of Infinity has to be the densest collection of batshit-crazy ideas I’ve ever come across.

Never mind the bit about how there are trillions of copies of you constantly branching throughout the multiverse. Deutsch also claims there is nothing in principle stopping us from colonising the stars, transmuting matter like the alchemists of old, bringing an end to death, reversing global warming, and solving any other problem that arises. But that’s not ambitious enough: we also need to casually dismantle the central problem of metaethics, and toss in an argument for objective beauty while we’re at it.

For a maximally disorientating reading experience, Deustch delivers these ideas without the slightest hint of deference towards the multiple fields he bulldozes through—not so much as a deliberate flex, but with the airy detachment of the Don Draper meme: “I don’t think about you at all.”

At first I was annoyed. Then I was amused. Then I was intrigued…

The Best Things in Life Really Are Free

In my former life, I enjoyed a great deal of schmoozing. There were many long lunches at fine restaurants, champagne in business class served by the CEO of the airline, and corporate boxes at the sportsball. I’ve also spent weeks barely moving my carcass from a tropical island hammock except to skin up a joint or get another bottle of wine. I would be lying if I denied that all of these things are tremendous fun. On the other hand, they don’t tend to lead to much lasting satisfaction, losing their flavour as quickly as an over-chewed piece of gum. The best things in life really are free…