Monday, February 12, 2018 | RECENT NOTES

Musement: an idea to resurrect

In 1908 Charles Sanders Peirce wrote “Enter your skiff of Musement, push off into the lake of thought, and leave the breath of heaven to swell your sail. With your eyes open, awake to what is about or within you, and open conversation with yourself; for such is all meditation”.

He defined musement as a form of play that involves “considering some wonder in one of the Universes, or some connection between two of the three, with speculation concerning its cause”; as a specific form of meditation.

Sounds useful to me: both as a term and an activity.


John Perry Barlow

I learned this afternoon that John Perry Barlow died in his sleep last night, aged 70. I had admired him in many ways since before the world wide web existed. In my mind he stood as an example between cultural activists in England and Europe: primarily, the difference between gung-ho creativity and optimism versus politely cynical and worried pessimism.

He moved easily and naturally between writing lyrics for the Grateful Dead and farming, and helping establish the Electric Frontier Foundation. He achieved a lot in ways that invite admiration, and invite us to try harder to achieve more ourselves.


Sunday, February 18, 2018 | THE TIME OF DAY


Friday, December 02, 2005 | ESSAYS

Analogy is better than Reality

In this paper I try to tackle a problem that has been disturbing me for some time now: the way that the self-serving term “virtual reality” has been allowed to fashion and shape much of the discussion that takes place around this topic, to the detriment of everyone except a small group of hucksters and cheerleaders. I conclude by suggesting a way out of this: an analytical approach that is, I believe, more securely anchored, and more logically coherent, than the mish-mash of second-hand film theory and third-hand semiotics that currently passes for ?virtual theory?

It was delivered at the second annual League of Worlds conference, held in October 2005 at AppState University, Boone, NC.