Just a brief holding post to tie up a couple of incomplete conversations.
I’m a fan of David Deutsch generally, and specifically recently his thoughts on optimism fleshed out by his Constructor Theory with Chiara Marletto.
He’s posted a few talks and articles recently specifically on what he means by optimism, including this one at Warp News. In response to the wall-to-wall doom and gloom from the Extinction Rebellion / Just Stop Oil brigade and in particular writer Ray Monk, whose work I’ve admired here, being “captured” by that agenda, I questioned whether he knew this aspect of Deutsch’s work. He didn’t and when I shared that link he pronounced it “vacuous twaddle”. (Monk is a biographer of major thinkers and scientists.)
Secondly, lots of post-Pandemic chat now morphing into Net-Zero / ULEZ / “Global Boiling” opinions about sane responses to proper understanding of the scale and nature of risks – a backlash to the doom-mongers. As well as the general pub chats mentioned before – people really do get it, even if concensus on sensible actions remains difficult – there was a group of young lads clearly affected by the pandemic lock-down disruptions to their lives (education > unemployment) and, with two in particular, a fair bit of talk about Systems Thinking and Optimism. I need to draft something and add signposts.
And reminded myself that “Optimism” was already a chapter in his 2011 book “The Beginning of Infinity – Explanations that Transform the World.” Had already made an impression then.