Word of the Day: Biko

First published on my legacy blog, Principia Politica, adapted from an essay submitted while studying as a first-year undergraduate student at University of Cambridge, 2018-19. The essay was awarded the mark of first. 'It will not be long before the blacks relate their poverty to their blackness in concrete terms. Because of the tradition forced … Continue reading Word of the Day: Biko

The art of questioning: A complete set of predictions for 2023

I would like to give a systematic set of predictions — some general and abstract, some more precise and concrete — for the coming year. I make predictions not principally to make a ‘prophecy’ about the future. Rather, I wish to test, in a very loose way, my analysis of the present by extending current … Continue reading The art of questioning: A complete set of predictions for 2023

Technology: The nuclear DNA of social evolution

First published in August 2022. 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 … Continue reading Technology: The nuclear DNA of social evolution

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

A hypothesis for slower ageing

Many hypotheses have been offered for why people age slower than they used to — in other words, why people look younger than they used to. It is sometimes said among those of a reactionary political inclination that the relative decline in violence among great powers means that usual rites of passage for ageing are … Continue reading A hypothesis for slower ageing

Northrop Frye and the divine majesty of ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Twelve years after reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy of high fantasy, I find myself revisiting the elegant film trilogy which was completed before I set eyes on the books. But I also find myself taking interest in Northrop Frye’s framework for literary criticism, which distinguishes the mythic transcendence … Continue reading Northrop Frye and the divine majesty of ‘The Lord of the Rings’

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

Darwin, Marx, and theories of evolution

In 1859, two ground-breaking works of science were published. One is Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’. The other is less obvious, but no less important: Marx’s ‘Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’. While Darwin posited a theory of biological evolution by natural selection, Marx proposed a theory of social evolution … Continue reading Darwin, Marx, and theories of evolution