I don’t think that anything will save the world in the sense of bringing Utopia to Earth. But I think the world could be improved, and that would be the version of the question that I’m very much interested in.
I think at a fundamental level I just believe in human agency. And I think that everyone should feel like they can participate and shape the economy, rather than feel like they’re experiencing symptoms of the economy. When the recession happened, there was all this chatter around well, the Fed is going to do this. Or the banks are going to do this. And government is going to do this. And there was no narrative around what people are going to do.
The question that philosophers have asked since antiquity is how should you live? What is the good life for a human being? And the two answers that have repeatedly come back time and time again are that there are two things that matter. One is agency. That’s to say being in control of your life, actively, creatively engaging with the world. And the other is community.
I don’t think ecological awareness is a sort of “happy happy joy joy, we are all earthlings” thing. I think it’s actually a kind of uncanny realization. On the one hand there’s no away, on the other hand what the hell is this? “This is not my beautiful waste. This is not my beautiful toilet. This is not my beautiful Pacific Ocean.” You know, all of a sudden these things become somehow not exactly what we thought they were.
My main goal is not to die in the first place. I hope to keep living, hopefully long enough that science will have solved the aging problem and I won’t have to die. But since I don’t know how long that’s going to take, cryonics is the real backup policy for me.
Unfortunately at the moment I think typically philanthropy is not being used very effectively, and that’s partly because of the kind of non-judgmental attitude that philanthropy advisors and people generally have about philanthropy.
What if we arrive at fun not through expanding the circumstances that we’re in in order to make them less wretched, but actually by embracing the wretchedness of the circumstances themselves? What if, in a literal way, fun comes from impoverishment, from wretchedness?