Manifesto for Welcoming

Unknown PaintingWhoever you are, be welcome.

I do not make this offer lightly.

There are some terrifying people in our world but I still extend my welcome to everyone who is able to talk respectfully, no matter who they are.

Even if I cannot bear your politics, or (worse) your tactics, I still welcome you to speak here - indeed, I want to hear what you have to say. Now, perhaps more than ever, we truly need to talk, because we seem to have forgotten how to do it.

I welcome with an especial warmth all the outcasts, the misfits, and the besieged; the metaphysical vagabonds, the ethical enigmas, and the wild and beautiful freaks who make this world wonderful without ever realising that they had this gift.

I welcome everyone who has made a mistake and not been able to realise it, or who came to understand yet could not bear the truth revealed. I greet with open arms all those whose world barely hangs together after suffering through all the distractions, lies, and confusion inflicted upon us by the powerful, the deluded, or the complicit.

I welcome all you desperate immigrants - legal or otherwise - whether you have fled from the ruins of a life that my nation or its allies intentionally or inadvertently bombed into oblivion, or are just hoping to eke out a life somewhere new. I have been - and am about to be again - an immigrant, but I have not suffered like many of you have since I am a white, English-speaking male, and can “pass” almost anywhere that the desperate pin their hopes.

I welcome the unvaccinated, these new lepers, accused witches, and despised untouchables who face segregation and hatred on all sides. All those with medical beliefs outside the majority I welcome, all those who are told they are vile by panicking hordes. They call you ‘anti-scientific’ with a sneer, yet ironically those who revile you still have (like everyone else, alas) quite a slender grasp of the complex puzzle box that even the simplest of empirical investigations represents. And even they, for all their ill-begotten hatred, are welcome here.

I welcome all those iridescent trans folks who are suffering still - even (especially?) all those outcast trans folks in the shady corners of discomfort who risk being abhorred if they admit that their own beliefs diverge from the party line. So too I welcome those lesbians and their allies who staunchly defend a regimented view of sex that is not my own, but that is logical, consistent, and clearly crucial to your understanding of being in the world. Whichever side you find yourself, whether in this heartbreaking culture war or any other, you are welcome here.

Please know that no matter how we disagree I will never tell you what you are obligated to believe about politics, medicine, sex, gender, patriarchy, God, the Goddess, hot dog buns, or anything else. Every 'ought' I speak depends upon the principle it follows from, but it is up to you and you alone to choose those principles you must follow. And whenever someone tries to silence, deplatform, marginalise, abuse, ignore, or demonise you - or anyone else engaged in peaceful discourse - I will always lend my support to your free speech, and the freedom of thought it defends. How could I do otherwise...?

I won’t say I don’t take sides - even journalists lie to themselves when they think they can play at neutrality - but I want to listen. I want to hear what troubles you, I want to know how others have marshalled pressure against you, and if you have been excluded I want to include you here, even (especially?) if you are not welcome elsewhere. Because nothing good comes from seeing other people as demonic. Even those grotesque dictators, those Nicolae Ceaușescu and Idi Amin who brutalised the innocent, they too were still human, all too human.

So, be welcome.

Be welcome whoever you are.

Be welcome whatever you believe.

Be welcome here for as long as you can talk respectfully. Yet even if you lapse into demon-scrying screeds, I will still forgive you. I must. For you are my sisters, my brothers, and everything in between and beyond.

Be welcome, and please, no matter how difficult it may be, no matter the extent of our pain, distrust, or fear, let us try to talk.

The origin of the opening image is unknown to me, but if anyone can identify it I will add the attribution. As ever, no copyright infringement is intended and I will take the image down if asked by the respective rights holder.


Hiding in Shadows

Shadows and TreesDear friends,

After worrying about what comments would be waiting for me I have eventually returned to find... no comments. I suppose that is not the worst outcome. However, at this time I have no plans to return to Twitter in the near future, and I am not resuming posting articles until I complete my dialogue with Babette Babich on vaccinations (which is ongoing). I am reachable via blog comments or all the other usual channels in the meantime. I am not saying I am never coming back to Twitter, only that at this time I am evaluating whether Twitter is a tool I can morally justify engaging with.

I note that robots may post to Twitter on my behalf in the meantime, and I apologise for not being there to respond... but if you actively want to talk to me, there are plenty of good options for doing so.

I hope everyone is well and that we might return to collaborating towards living together some day soon.

Chris.


Coming Up

Frankenstein LabA week from today, Act II of the Philosophy of Science 'campaign' will resume... I've realised at this point that the name of this particular adventure is The Magical Science Campaign, since its theme is precisely the disparity between people's feelings about the sciences and the actual practices of scientists. I started out thinking this was a mini-campaign, but it's clear at this point that it is a fully-fledged epic like the Metaphysics Campaign and the Ethics Campaign before it.

In this second Act, we will begin by exploring the greatest philosophical resistance movement of our time, the Four Oxford Moral Philosophers, then we'll venture forth to explore relationships between the sciences and other aspects of the human experience - specifically religion, journalism, and ultimately, death. From providing a framework of the problem (the state of pseudoscience, and the way magical science can trigger that collapse of scientific practice), these pieces confront some of the symptoms of the current epistemic crisis and perhaps also illuminate some of its causes too.

The Game resumes in earnest next Tuesday.


Intermission and Ice Cream

IntermissionAre you old enough to remember when movies stopped after the first few reels and a person came down the aisles to sell ice cream...? I think this was all over by the end of the 1980s. The last movie I recall with an intermission was David Lynch's sumptuous adaptation of Dune, which he apparently hated - a view shared, I think, by most of the audience at the screening I was at in 1984! I am a fan of intermission as a concept, and grateful that it survives in the theatre if not in the movie theatre.

And in the spirit of Intermission, please take this opportunity to get your own metaphorical ice creams, as I'm not ready to resume my musings on our tortured relationship with the sciences just yet. The new pieces for the Philosophy of Science mini-campaign are coming along quite robustly, but they're fighting among themselves as some things want to come out that I hadn't originally intended and I'm having to give them space to breath. As a result, I don't think I'll be running the second act until April.

In the meantime, I shall leave you with an intermezzo piece on personal identity that actually connects to a forthcoming Philosophy of Science piece but stands better on its own. It turned out to be about Freddie Mercury. But it was always also about me. And I suspect it's also about a few other people as well... maybe everyone. We'll see. It's called 'Coming Out'. You can read it tomorrow.

Please return to your seats before the next reel commences.


Slowly Awakening

SunriseGreetings and salutations!

I am still gearing up for blogging and such, and not yet on top of anything (least of all Twitter, which I've not touched since early November). I have some philosophy of science pieces ready to run, but I need to get my head into my work a little more before I can start kicking things off here at the Game.

I confess, it was not my intention to go back to philosophy of science - The Mythology of Evolution was the one project I had intended in that space, and that was motivated by political diplomacy. I see now that the tension between the sciences and politics alluded to by Bruno Latour is far more problematic than I had previously imagined, and that if there's any hope of rescuing the Kantian project of living together, it is not only in the evolutionary sciences that we shall have to be careful not to mistake fantasies for facts.

So we'll have something of a mini-campaign on philosophy of science in the back-end of the Winter, and depending how long it takes to wrangle the drafts I'll be moving into political philosophy with Rethinking Intellectual Property in the Spring. Watch this space!

New rambling nonsense soon...


Limited Service

SunriseMy Autumnal Social Media break has been such a relief that I don't quite want to come back... but still, I must write, so I cannot hide forever! I am making good progress on the Rethinking Intellectual Property serial, but it is frequently becoming complicated as I work through the specific issues, so I can't quite see this reaching a climax any earlier than Spring 2021. In the meantime, I have some philosophy of science pieces for January, since it seems that we are desperately in need of debugging our hopelessly broken relationships with our research communities, and I obviously can't simply keep my mouth shut when there are philosophical confusions abroad that are bringing about dire unintended consequences.

However, as the title says, it's only a 'limited service' this December. I shall be available on the blogs for the next two weeks - and I already have two blog-letters to reply to, which should keep me very busy during that time! I will also be replying to any comments on the blogs (as usual) but I shall not be having any significant engagement with Twitter or anything of the kind until January 2021 at the earliest. I will probably turn on the robot for ihobo, though, and Typepad will echo blog posts and comments onto Twitter too, so if you see activity there it will be a robot rather than me personally. Please accept my apologies for not replying on Twitter while I am elsewhere.

Anyway, I'm still here, and you can still reach me for virtuous discourse. It's just that other kind of 'communication' I'm not ready to attempt yet...

More soon!


Please Wait...Shuffling the Deck

Tarot CardsJust a short post to say that new material is coming, but I have some fraught weeks working on the page proofs for the second edition of  Game Writing and wrangling tasks for clients. I am still puttering around with blog material in the gaps of my time - there are just fewer gaps! First out of the gate is looking likely to be an ihobo serial called Game Dissonance, but a philosophical interrupt here is always a possibility too, assuming I can get my head out of the nonsense (there's a lot around at the moment). Should be posting before the end of the month, chaos willing.

Also worth saying that with #100Cyborgs completed I am open for blog-letters of all kinds, to which I always reply, one way or another! (Of course, I was never closed for these, but I am specifically inviting them over the next year.) Never written a blog-letter? It's a great time to start! No blog of your own? It's never too late to start one!

To everyone who has supported my blogging over the years, my infinite and unlimited gratitude, love and support.


Fifteen Years Today!

15 CandlesHard to believe it was fifteen years ago this day that I first began typing my extraneous thoughts into blog posts. It's been quite a journey! In the time since I began, I've published a great many philosophy books that began as posts here on Only a Game. Alas, I have also watched discussion on the blog fall from its peak as a lively forum for exchange of ideas to the current wasteland of comments where a month where I get more than one short comment is exceptional.

So I frequently ask myself: why continue?

The answer is that I have to write, and it feels right that I should share those writings publicly, where at least the possibility exists for discussion. I do long for more discourse and less narrowcast, but it is clear that the golden age of blogging is over, and while I am still a member of the Republic of Bloggers, the exchange of blog-letters is a rare event - although always cherished. My especial love and gratitude to Chris Billows and Jed Pressgrove for their exchanges with me, which have been of inestimable value.

Sometimes it is suggested that I move to Medium. I am wary. I cannot move my blog to a place that is not my own, and the prevailing quality of all social media is that the content is at the mercy of the mob. I have not ruled it out, but the weight of fifteen years of practice keeps me to doing it the way I always have. And I am sceptical that changing platform will resolve the problem with discourse, since the problems with discourse is the core the problem of the early twenty first century.

So, what now?

Firstly, I must complete the epic two year project that is A Hundred Cyborgs, which is now just ten cyborgs away from concluding. (I know what most of the final ten will be, but I've no idea what #100 will be!) After that, I intend to go back to freeform blogging for a while, as I have throughout June. I've been enjoying it. It would be nice to be read as well as to write, but to write is still enough for me. I might have a go at rethinking intellectual property law in the spirit of Kant's rethinking of law in the context of morality. I'm also always up for suggested topics, since when someone suggests a topic it means I am about to engage in discourse. And this is the point of the exercise.

Well there be another fifteen years of Only a Game? Let's find out.

A Hundred Cyborgs begins again, for the final time, next week.


A Wild Blogger Appears!

Ditto

My social media break is officially over, but as usual I'm reluctant to rush back into the chaos of the hive mind, and taking my sweet time at reconnecting to it all. I've caught up on comments (a whole one of those...), but I have yet to uncork Twitter.

Maybe next week.

Have enough #100Cyborgs pieces to see out the year, but I am hoping to get in a couple of blog letters this December that I still need to find the time to write. Also, I have to start thinking about what happens when A Hundred Cyborgs ends, which is going to happen sometime next year. Chronologically, it's the longest blog campaign I've run (although it might not have as big a word count as The Ethics Campaign)... it's going to be strange when its over!

The Game resumes shortly!


Brevis Absentia

Monet_LilliesNext week I'm at Gamescom speed dating publishers again, and then I'm on vacation. A Hundred Cyborgs is on hiatus now until Autumn, but will return later this year with more ponderings about the strange creatures we become with our technology. And coming up for September, the Designer's Notes for Silk, which is much more philosophical and political than anything of its kind anyone has ever written, myself included (which is why I'm running it here and not on ihobo.com). Stay tuned!

The Game resumes shortly.