The posts on this blog were mostly considered emails written to people interested in a particular approach to addressing the problems facing humanity and our relationship to the planet. If you are interested in what you read - please leave a comment...

December 12, 2011

Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle

There - that's a catchy title for a blog post, innit? This one'll go viral for sure.....
Actually, I'm being wilfully obscure (me?) - Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle were (are, it seems) a German post-punk band, whereas this post is actually about the implications of suggestions by scientists that free will is an illusion, written in response to this interesting post: The survival value of 'free' will.
In summary, the post rehearses recent suggestions from a number of scientific angles that free will does not exist, and looks at why we might have stuck with (developed?) such an illusion for evolutionary reasons.
I have read quite a bit around this topic - it comes up in New Scientist fairly frequently - and I've frequently come across this sort of statement;

"So why then do we believe in free will?
It’s simple: if we didn’t, we’d all die a lot sooner.

November 28, 2011

Letter to Christopher Alexander

I wrote this letter after seeing Chris. Alexander speak at the kevin Lynch Memorial lecture, held by the Urban Design Group in London, November 2011:

Dear Chris,

Thank you for the presentation at the UDG event on Wednesday. I was pleased not only to be able to come and hear for myself, but to bring along some others who have long known of my interest in and dependence on your work.

I have been and remain terribly frustrated (in the US sense of the word) by the lack of forums in which intelligent debate and development of the many ideas, possibilities and imperatives implied by your work. I have often attempted to discover others who might be interested in such work and talk via the Internet - only to fail.

I am really seriously concerned that humanity should not miss the point and value of your work. Although I know that you have focused strongly on architecture and the ability of humans to create beauty (as have I), I have a very strong feeling that the tools you have perforce had to create in the attempt to develop reliable approaches to inherently complex and indeterminate  (as in not-computable) systems have an enormous potential beyond the world of architecture (filled, as it frankly is, with intellectual duds, mountebanks, egoists clever and stupid, plodders, chancers, cynics, and sweet, deluded mystics of all kinds - plus the odd self-entranced genius of course).