Category Archives: Life

Milan, Florence, Rome

A great weekend in three wonderful cities. Milan, as ever, not my favourite city in the world, but most impressive duomo in the world, with what is now my second favourite statue:








The sheer elegance and beauty of seeing ‘David’ blew me away. My new favourite statue:









And last but not least, the bone crypt combines all that is best of art and wonder:



The New Revolution

It is now clear to me, and more and more to the people I speak to, that we are on the cusp of some sort of revolution. A revolution of ideas as per Kuhn, rather then a revolution of violence. Those my age, the “Millenials” are looking at a set of political and economic structures whose collapse is all but inevitable. There are a number of elements of this:

1. The oligarchal system of the 20th century depended fundamentally on the idea that in a growing economy everyone is a winner. As long as the middle classes could see that their lot was being improved, the new class of the super rich were not only tolerated, but were held as exemplars. With permanent economic stagnation all but assured, the oligarch’s have irrevocably damaged their own place of power, by doubling down on their wealth, rather then taking some minor short-term pain through taxes and debt forgiveness to keep the middle classes happy. A history of oligarchies shows that it was ever thus, the oligarchal class always step too far.

2. The failure of institutions such as the EU and the US governments has made people finally see that their needs cannot be met by traditional institutions. The current generation in power has failed us. Daily I work with titens of finance and daily I see that the drive is for self-protection within the confines of existing institutions.

3. The clear unsustainability of GDP growth as a means for societal progress. We have started to see that as we finish up with the low hanging fruit of fossil fuels and early industrial productivity gains, that it is hard to see where future growth comes form, outside ever increasing technological productivity. Ever increasing productivity has the knock on effect of altering the types and quality of jobs people can do. This will create more and more stress on the current political system, and makes the emergence of a new system ever more likely.

4. Technology and our leaps in the ways ideas and people connect is still very ill-understood. It will take the maturation of the millenials, the first digital generation, to make sense of the world that is emerging around us. Societal and political shifts followed each previous technological advance, Agriculture the beginning of civilization, Industrialisation the end of feudalism and the beginning of capitalism. The digital advance has not had the same change in societal structure. I am more certain then ever, that History has not ended, that a new system will emerge.

5. A new conception of consciousness. This is the most wishy washy thing to pin down, but following Spiral Dynamics there are hints that many people can start to move into “second order” thinking. I cannot articulate the elements of this shift, but its the most profound of all and will be the worldview that will dominate following the paradigm shift we are on the cusp of.


One thing to note, I do not beleive in the objective progress of humanity. Any new system will not be “better or worse” then capitalism or fuadlism etc. but will simply be the next system humans use to organise themselves according to a new habitat. New systems are adaptive, not progressive.

Further I cannot say how a new paradigm will emerge. I feel it, I feel we are on the cusp of a black swan, who knows when, tomorrow, in a generation, it feels very inevitable.

Social Black Swans

Let’s say there are an infinite number of possible worlds. In the range of all possible worlds one can imagine the following: at every part of the smallest slice of time a person can split into another version of themselves; in my case, I split into River 1, River 2, River n+1. Let us  presume that the me that is me in this world is River 0. But every other River n+1 regards themselves as the one true River 0. In a sense then, River 0 is uniquely linked to all possible River n numbers, by the fact that all River n+1, share the property of believing they are River 0. Its all a matter of perspective from which world I find myself in. This is the only way I can think of for free will to exist in a meaningful way. A choice is simply the decision to decide which River 0 one wants to be, and every other possible choice is made by another River n+1. Further, to an infinite number of other River n+1 (each of who regard themselves as River 0s), I (me as River 0) am simply a thought experiment, as they are each to me. That is fine, in a sense, that makes them each my brothers, our presumption of uniqueness, of our decisions being the starting point, of our being the true River 0, that is our shared bond.

Ok so, I am River 0. River 0 had certain turns of luck that led him here to this world. And some the Other Man 0 in this world happens to have had bad luck. Both of us worked hard. The one difference is that River 0 tried to enhance the serendipity of his life by simply never turning down a social event unless it was physically impossible to be there. Amazing things came from that. River 46 was always someone who stayed in on Saturday nights. As would River 15 (Fridays too it seems!). And I suspect Other Man 0 also did. Socially, there are black swans, I will go out a million nights for handful of remembrances and those are worth it, worth every boring moment, worth every tired head. And I will go back as I am doing now and try and narrate the steps as I am human, but all I can say is there are many Rivers that would have missed out because they were not willing to put themselves out there. And I am very happy to be River 0. But the other point is, its not a value judgement. River 0 is no better than River 87 in any moral way. Simply I want River 0 to have certain attributes, and one cannot give oneself attributes, but merely try and expose oneself to the range of experiences that might give an emotional black swan. And from such black swans (falling in love, feeling infinite happiness, partying to an unreal level) comes the experience to develop new attributes. Shyness disappears. But also humility comes with the security of knowing one’s own limits. DO not turn something down if you are tired, or feel it might be boring. You never know. Take the fucking chance.

Listen Up

Moldova Eurovision 2010 – Run Away… As an ode to last weekend!

An Ode to Partying

Partying is so impulsive, compulsive, the sheer living of life embodied in a crowd of people all just wanting to BE. It is infinitely selfish, every given moment only counts if more outrageous then the previous moment. The freedom of nudity, of challenging social mores in random Irish pubs. Of creating a vibe that is inclusive in a special way; to join the “club” one only needs to not judge the others. And in the end, its appeal lies in the fact that it is when I feel most myself. I feel most animal-like, pushing to my most basic animal states, feeling air on skin, music through all of me, being surrounded be people all feeling the same. Climbing roofs, being kicked out of nightclubs without violence, but with smiles on both the bouncers and our own faces. Making a million friends who we will never meet again. I have partied hard in my life, but there is something special about partying with your brother, knowing that these moments together will become rarer and rarer as we move our different paths. So that was my weekend. And I look forward to the next such moments. And I also look forward to some of the other animal like moments of life; being lost in a city on your own, but surrounded by people. Watching the world wake up on a grey morning. I love it all.

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