The Conversation #52 — Walter Block

Benevolence isn’t inef­fi­cient and I’m a big fan of benev­o­lence. It’s just that it’s not enough. It’s okay for a group of twenty-five or fifty peo­ple where every­one knows every­one. But when you have 300 mil­lion in the US or 7 bil­lion in the world, if we were self-sufficient and we had to pro­duce every­thing for our­selves we’d all die, or 99% of us would die. So we have to coop­er­ate with each oth­er. But the only way to coop­er­ate with each oth­er in such large num­bers is through mar­kets.

A Network of Sorrows: Small Adversaries and Small Allies

In an envi­ron­ment where every­body can pick up everybody’s tools, we’re all weird­ly empow­ered now. And I mean kind of weird in an almost fey sense like, our pow­ers are weird, they make us weird, and they make our our con­flicts weird. It’s again that idea that our tools are inter­act­ing with our human flaws in real­ly real­ly inter­est­ing ways.

The Conversation #25 — Frances Whitehead

Some of my artist friends think what I’m doing isn’t art, and I’ve giv­en up on art. It’ll take care of itself. You know. I mean it’s always been there, it will always be there, and we always know that new art nev­er looks like art at first, ever. So why should this be any dif­fer­ent? We just have to trust the process. And I would say that must be true for every oth­er dis­ci­pline.

The Conversation #19 — Joseph Tainter

I see a set of con­straints fac­ing us in the future, and they’re all going to be very expen­sive. First is fund­ing retire­ments for the Baby Boom gen­er­a­tion. Second is con­tin­u­ing increas­es in the costs of health­care. The third is replac­ing decay­ing infra­struc­ture. The fourth is adapt­ing to cli­mate change and repair­ing envi­ron­men­tal dam­age. The fifth is devel­op­ing new sources of ener­gy. The sixth is what I see as in all like­li­hood con­tin­u­ing high mil­i­tary costs. The sev­enth is the costs of inno­va­tion.

The Conversation #14 — John Zerzan

I always won­der about peo­ple that are very pro-tech on the Left, for exam­ple. Oh, we’ve got to keep all this. Of course. That’d be crazy.” You know, you want to pre­serve all of the lev­el of tech­nol­o­gy. The ques­tion that occurs to me is, oh so you want to keep how many hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple in the mines, in the smelters, in the foundries, in the assem­bly lines? I would like to see them be able to do some­thing else. But you’re going to have to keep them there one way or anoth­er if you want to have all this stuff.

The Art of Discovery, As Seen by a Physicist

The sci­en­tif­ic method was per­fect­ed in the cru­cible of nat­ur­al sci­ence, and physics in par­tic­u­lar. And an old pro­fes­sor of mine once told me that a good the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist is intrin­si­cal­ly a lazy per­son. And so these heuris­tics of ignor­ing super­flu­ous detail, sim­pli­fy­ing the prob­lem to its barest essen­tials, maybe even mak­ing a car­i­ca­ture out of it, solv­ing that sim­pler prob­lem. If you can’t solve that sim­pler prob­lem, solve an even sim­pler prob­lem. This actu­al­ly works in physics. Because the uni­verse is intrin­si­cal­ly a lazy place.

The Conversation #2 — Max More

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.

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