The grammar of happiness: a turn towards everyday life?

A culture is guided by its concept of happiness, and how that is located in the overall grammar of human existence – and our society is one that is focused on living a happy life. A result of that is that we often ask ourselves if we are happy – whether consciously or not. We compare our level of happiness with others, and then translate … Continue reading The grammar of happiness: a turn towards everyday life?

What is the optimal degree of separation in a society?

Almost everyone has heard about the notion of “six degrees of separation” – that there are six jumps between any two persons in, say, the US. The experiment or game actually originates in a short story by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy, The Chain, where the object of the game was to connect two random individuals. It was then popularized by experiments where social scientist Stanley … Continue reading What is the optimal degree of separation in a society?

Deterrence and memory – is it dangerous to forget nuclear weapons?

Economist Thomas Schelling made an important observation in his Nobel prize talk in 2005 when he said: “The most spectacular event of the past half century is one that did not occur.We have enjoyed sixty years without nuclear weapons exploded in anger.” Thomas Schelling Nobel Prize Talk. This observation is no less true today, but we can add a worrying conjecture to the observation – … Continue reading Deterrence and memory – is it dangerous to forget nuclear weapons?

Magic and miracles (Mental Models XIV)

One key problem for the church in medieval times was to explain why raising the dead, defying the elements and conjuring things was not magic. The challenge here was that Jesus did all of those things, and if they were interpreted as magic, then Jesus would be a wizard or sorcerer, not the son of God. So – being human, and hence really brilliant about … Continue reading Magic and miracles (Mental Models XIV)

Red queen evolution and industrialization / informatization

A simple model to think through (for flaws as well as merits): industrialization was a process with efficiency as the core competitive dimension, informatization is a process with learning as the core competitive dimension — in a coarse grained model this would almost correspond to the different dimensions in evolution; the first adaptation to the environment (efficiency) and the second adaptation to other adaptive systems … Continue reading Red queen evolution and industrialization / informatization

The US Supreme Court, ENA and institutional reform

It is probably correct to say that there has never been as much pressure to reform the US Supreme Court as right now. President Biden has proposed a commission to report in 6 months on court reform, and today a number of democrats presented a bill that would lead to expanding the number of justices to 13. This, in itself, is interesting – the Court … Continue reading The US Supreme Court, ENA and institutional reform