Rhys' Newsletter #13

Defining Paradigms

This newsletter covers humanity’s ongoing paradigm change.

It goes out to more than 1,000 ambitious frontier people: bentoists, sociotechnical researchers, progress studiers, effective altruists, metamodernists, ~gameB players, crypto-anarchosyndicalists, social justice activists, VCs, doughnut economists, systems thinkers, and more. Share it with a friend!

Hi you!

1) This week’s article is on Defining Paradigms. Why did I write it? Paradigms are super confusing. I hope it clarifies them and helps you understand our current moment. In summary, paradigms are the combination of:

  • Epistemology: How do we know things?

  • Ontology: What is true?

  • Ethics: What is good?

We can use this to understand our current crisis—what was the Industrial Age paradigm and how is it transitioning into the Information Age? Read the piece to find out!

2) Last week I shared my “art piece” full of illustrations and dialogue: Marriage Counseling with Capitalism Itself. Check it out if you’re looking for something fun!

3) Two pieces from the archives that are relevant to our current moment:


1) The American Academy of Arts & Sciences put out a great report: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century. It has 6 high-level strategies and 31 specific recommendations. Check it out for a future vision of the US government. My favorite recommendations:

  • Drastically increase the size of US House of Representatives. Right now one person represents 750,000 constituents—too many!

  • Pre-register 16 and 17-year-olds so they can "practice" voting. Like a driving permit!

  • Create a public-interest mandate for social media—to have public-friendly digital spaces. Like zoning!

Also, if you’re not following everything Danielle Allen does, now would be a good time to start :).

2) Changing Minds. Although this site looks old school, it’s actually a great resource for understanding how humans work. There are 7,000 pages on a wide variety of topics, like a mini-Wikipedia. Here, they differentiate values from morals: “A person can be described as immoral, yet there is no word for them not following values.”

3) Your weekly reminder that action precedes motivation.

4) Two fun updates in This___DoesNotExist, which use GANs to generate “fake” examples. ThisWordDoesNotExist has fake dictionary definitions. I got demusology: the interpretation of religious teachings. For the second GAN, here’s a fake satire site: FakeFakeNews. One example: Child Just Got Off Job And Getting Even Younger.




Moses Sumney: græ Album Review | Pitchfork

Moses Sumney’s new album (græ) features amazing interludes by the writer Taiye Selasi. Here’s a playlist with my favorite three interludes. Quotes from two of them are below.


I believe that people who define you control you
The most significant thing that any person can do
Especially black women and men
Is to think about who gave them their definitions
And rewrite those definitions for themselves

“also also also and and and”

I insist upon my right to be multiple – even more so, I insist upon the recognition of my multiplicity.

What I no longer do is take pains to explain it or defend it.

So I've reached a point where I am aware of my inherent multiplicity. And anyone wishing to meaningfully engage with me or my work must be too.

These strongly align with Coherent Pluralism. The first interlude is on zooming out from childhood socialization and rewriting our definitions of self. The second interlude is gesturing towards intersectionality. As Walt Whitman wrote in 1855, “I contain multitudes.”

Thanks as always for reading. Please share this newsletter if you like it or reply if you have feedback!

Hope you have a good week. Warmth, Rhys