Fire in the water: ‘Pacific Rim’ and tectonic geopolitics

Guillermo del Toro is a remarkable film director. From Pan’s Labyrinth to The Shape of Water del Toro has delighted viewers and critics alike with spectacle, intrigue, and (for want of a more precise word) humanity. So when he made a science fiction blockbuster about great big beasts (Kaiju, from the Japanese, ‘giant beast’) emerging … Continue reading Fire in the water: ‘Pacific Rim’ and tectonic geopolitics

On the origin of societies: Towards a theory of social evolution

The following is also available as a YouTube talk, here, after I presented these tentative findings as a "three-minute thesis" at Selwyn College in the spring of 2022. Darwin's 1859 On the Origin of Species speculated that traits are more likely to be passed on from organism to organism if they aid the organism's survival … Continue reading On the origin of societies: Towards a theory of social evolution

Technology: The nuclear DNA of social evolution

I would like to propose a sociology which mimics both physics and biology in its emphasis on the molecular code of relational life. Everything is connected to everything else in the web of reality, but certain elements ‘code’ for other elements, like how a recipe ‘codes’ for the food that is then cooked, prepared, and … Continue reading Technology: The nuclear DNA of social evolution

Hobbes, the Person of the State, and the Beginnings of Balance

In the beginning, there was a simple thing — be that nothing, something, or everything at once. From this simple, eternal implosion of reality exploded the elaborate fantasy of this divided physical realm. Perhaps even then there were seeds of division immanent to the physicality of this world. Before time and space, however, can we … Continue reading Hobbes, the Person of the State, and the Beginnings of Balance

Principia Musica: The art of politics

I have some claims I would like to defend. These are claims I cannot possibly defend in one blog post. But here are some, which I will elaborate at a future date, subject to revision. Classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, writing at the birth of commercial society in the musical eighteenth century. I. Class conflict … Continue reading Principia Musica: The art of politics

Darwin, Marx, Mearsheimer: Towards a theory of social evolution

I have an interest in the connection between two theories. At school, I developed an interest in theories of international relations, including Mearsheimer’s structural realist theory of great power politics. At university, I developed an interest in political economy, particularly Marx’s theory in that field. My tentative thesis title was: ‘Darwin, Marx, and the evolving … Continue reading Darwin, Marx, Mearsheimer: Towards a theory of social evolution

How peace causes war

It is a common reaction to warfare in the twenty-first century to express shock, or horror, or surprise. But war is not surprising, or historically shocking, though it is always horrifying, or morally shocking. Let me explain. Alliance blocs of Europe, on the eve of war. In peacetime, competition does not end. Indeed, competition among … Continue reading How peace causes war

The birth of the moral state: On the politics of social strength

The market state is a private state; politics for some. The moral state is a public state; politics for all. The market state destabilises basic necessities, weakening the commonwealth and strengthening private wealth. The moral state stabilises basic necessities, strengthening the common wealth by weakening the wealth of private interests. Lycurgus of Sparta, who founded … Continue reading The birth of the moral state: On the politics of social strength

Fukuyama, the state of India, and SYL’s ‘Sidhu Moose Wala’

At the top of today’s list of trending music videos on YouTube is SYL’s ‘Sidhu Moose Wala’. The production is slick and the lyricism imitative of American hip hop, following the recent move in K-Pop from north of the South China Sea towards rapped, rather than simply sung, lyrics. Indeed, like K-Pop, Indian pop seems … Continue reading Fukuyama, the state of India, and SYL’s ‘Sidhu Moose Wala’

Will history end? Musings on the war of ideas

A legacy piece from 2017. “History” is an ambiguous word, albeit a common one. But defining history’s limits is worthwhile, as we all partake in history’s course every time we speak to a friend, write a letter or send a meme on Facebook. For philosophers Hegel, Kant and Marx, history was the history of ideas. … Continue reading Will history end? Musings on the war of ideas