We think of progress as a monodirectional activity, always advancing. There is reason for this, and it is supported by much of our experience of the world, but it misses half of the progress puzzle, and it fails to account for progress's contradiction.
Voltaire* in the early eighteenth century asserted “history is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” While this metaphorical explanation for the rise and fall of civilizations is unpopular these days, I think it has significant merit in explaining societies' evolution.
For all the millions of words which have been written, starting with The Federalist Papers, on the US Constitution, what is perhaps most striking about it from an initial inspection is its brevity.
It was in this pursuit that I came across John Milton's Areopagitica, which is considered by many amongst the first, cogent defenses of the right to freedom of speech.
In legal theory, common law and statutory law are the two primary forms of rulemaking in a given legal framework: statutory law being the explicitly written laws of legislatures, executives, and bureaucrats, and common law being laws derived from judicial precedent and from the implications of the shared moralistic and political environment.
I came across this essay recently on "The Power of Our New Pop Myths," which makes the argument that franchise-based storytelling in the style of Star Wars or Marvel is popular because it fulfils the same societal needs that have historically been filled by religious storytelling.
When I unearth an article that I can make applicable to writing and storytelling, I have no compulsions against sharing it with you. This week, that’s a paper from Science Advances on how societies initially arose: “Disentangling the Evolutionary Drivers of Social Complexity: A Comprehensive Test of Hypotheses.”
What separates human beings from other animals? What makes us distinct, different, unique, what traits do we alone have who have done things that no other species has on Earth? For that matter, what is different between a person hunting for subsistence and a person settling the Fertile Crescent?
couple of days, and I will get to my destination quickly, with readily available food, shelter, fuel, and other resources readily available in familiar forms all along the way. I can get in an airplane and fly anywhere in the world with a minimum of effort and time expended. Even more remarkably, I can take out my phone and conduct a live video conference with people in a dozen different countries, and we’ll hardly notice a delay.
I was a little worried, going into my reading of Aristotle’s The Art of Rhetoric, and subsequently The Poetics, that these classic texts might also fall into that category, where they are lauded for their continued relevance mostly because they are so general that they can hardly fail to be relevant.