I’ve started this blog in order to create more coherent syntheses of my thoughts.  Most of the essays are very long for this reason: I find that taking the time to write very large and interconnected hypotheses help me move beyond a dreaded combination of truisms and whimsical speculations (still working on that.)

The topics of my posts are generally pretty abstract and hard to classify, with subjects such as economics, literature, cognition, health, and science serving as case studies and examples more often than being the actual subject matter.  That’s not to say, however, that I never digress into details: everything I write is ultimately meant to work as a story rather than as a fully abstracted hypothesis.  I am not particularly interested in empirically verifying the truth and falsity of specific hypotheses; I’m much more interested in questioning and changing conceptual frameworks in order to yield new insights.  More succinctly, I’m more interested in figuring out what questions to ask than how to answer new questions.

My approach, largely based on my continued intermittent attempts at creating interactive stories and narrative-based AI, can be seen as a synthesis between systems theory, semiotics, chaos, narratology, and reception theory (a branch of literary theory that posits stories as the result of dialectic.)  The “semiotic spiral” described in the tagline was inspired by John Boyd’s similar “conceptual spiral”, and represents my arguably-materialist/arguably-pantheist view that everything that happens is fundamentally an act of semiosis, and that we derive both systems and knowledge by forming them into “interpretants” (Peirce) through narrative organization.  The concept was largely clarified in my head when reading Tempo by Venkatesh Rao, who connected thermodynamic entropy and organization through the idea of creating perishable “organizing insights.”

At the top is a picture of another concept by Boyd: the OODA loop.  While I originally thought of organizing all the concepts I tackle into some kind of pyramid, it didn’t really do justice to the fact that these all connect and are not a strict hierarchy.  Instead, I decided they’d best be situated in a feedback loop, with their respective positions being very rough generalizations on my part:

Observe: phenomenology, embodiment, miscellania, edge-cases, feedback

Orient: semiotics, mythology, metaphor, aesthetics, analysis, code, narrative, negentropy, bricolage, ego

Decide: epistemology, economics, cybernetics, complexity, heuristics, leverage

Act: interactivity, tinkering, hormesis, dialectic, paradox, deconstruction, synthesis, entropy

Hopefully it’ll become at least a little bit clearer how all these terms interconnect.  It’s a pretty crude approximation, but it’ll have to do

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Jerry MSU

    Just returned from a few days away and saw the drama. Understand but you will be missed. Started this fb account to interact with thoughts from NNT. DB and the group consume more/most of my thought interaction now and you were the fuel behind it. Hope you can find a way to return in a limited and manageable way but if not, wish you all the best. Stay well

    1. alexboland Post author

      The neurological effects of quitting Facebook have been quite astounding. Unfortunately it really is the medium that matters. Was sorry to leave so many people behind though–all of you regulars on DB are my friends.


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