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


Saturday, February 18, 2012 | ESSAYS

Urban No-Mind: a phenomenological diary

This essay exists because I needed to test some ideas in practice; ideas concerning the different ways one’s mind works in different circumstances, and particularly in extreme circumstances where it does not receive much if any external input. I need to test these ideas as part of a larger project, which in turn forms the cornerstone of my doctoral research.

For some years I have been exploring the ways in which certain kinds of synthetic (or “virtual”) worlds may be used for self-exploration and self-learning. When we “enter” a synthetic world we switch our attention from external reality to a carefully constructed pseudo-reality in which the ebb and flow of narrative obeys very different rules.