Thicker narrative

Gossip is a vital element of community, according to historian Yuval Harari, necessary as an ingredient in social bonding. People who gossip also like to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, then pass along what they hear. Dialogue in stories meets a similar need. Stories that include dialogue encourage engagement. Readers put themselves in the position…More

Text therapy redux

Text therapy is simply communication between clients and their counsellors, clinicians or therapists via text media, such as email (non-synchronous) or real-time (synchronous) chat. Text chat has grown in many consumer contexts, abetted by automation: archiving, analysis, templates and AI-assisted bot technology. Those who are sufficiently literate sometimes prefer the protections and security afforded by…More

Text therapy

I met with my text therapist last week. She advised me to incorporate more story-telling into my writing. “It will help you connect with your readers on a deeper level,” she said. “How do I do that?” There was a pause. This communication was online. She could have been sipping her coffee, or composing her…More

Lucky places

Imagine two worlds: one in which apparently random events have a positive outcome for most people most of the time — it only rains when you have an umbrella, you only run out of petrol while next to a petrol station, a knocked vase falls on a soft cushion, toast always lands jam side up.…More

Quantum VR

A widely cited article in IEEE states the goal of virtual reality (VR). “The overarching goal of VR is to generate a digital real-time experience that mimics the full resolution of human perception. This entails recreating every photon our eyes see, every small vibration our ears hear, and other cognitive aspects (touch, smell, etc.)” (111).…More

Work-life imbalance

Severance is a dark scifi comedy-drama about a high-tech company capable of splitting the memory life of its office workers in two. As soon as a worker comes into the office she/he loses all recollection of what happened on the outside. When she leaves the office she immediately forgets what happened at work as she…More

In here and out there

The theory of extended mind, elaborated by philosophers David Chalmers and Andy Clark, appeals to anyone involved in the built environment. The theory proposes that cognitive functioning (reasoning, perceiving, remembering) rely on various augmentations from the environment we are in. Hence, we have notepads, drawing tools, computers, smartphones, the Internet. These extensions are not just…More

Ultimate VR

In his book Reality+ philosopher David Chalmers restates a common view about the future of VR. My guess is that within a century we will have virtual realities that are indistinguishable from the nonvirtual world. Perhaps we’ll plug into machines through a brain-computer interface, bypassing our eyes and ears and other sense organs. The machines…More

Heidegger and panpsychism

Martin Heidegger’s teacher Edmund Husserl foregrounded consciousness, though Heidegger adopted a different vocabulary and different concepts. Nor does the term “panpsychism” or anything like it crop up in Heidegger’s writing, though no doubt it can be inferred. In his latest book Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy David Chalmers references Heidegger. The 20th-century…More

Panpsychism versus religion

Religion, religious practice, and religiosity are central in architecture and built form, not least as domestic, commercial and civic buildings mimic or resist the elements, forms and types of religious buildings — altars, pilgrimage routes, temples, churches, mausoleums . Religious ritual and performance are enacted, repeated, copied and even parodied in open and purpose-built spaces.…More