School of Mock

by rsbakker

Definition of the Day – Critical thinking: the intellectual version of Christian humility. The ability to simultaneously believe you are open-minded and pretty much right about everything you already believe.

So, The White-Luck Warrior is about to come out, and I find myself pondering the reactions. As always, there’s a thousand things I wish I could go back and change: my great retirement fantasy is to go back and rewrite all my books a la Henry James. But my primary feeling, believe it or not, is hope. The White-Luck Warrior is where the iceberg rolls over, and the monumental stakes of The Second Apocalypse become clear–even if only for a flashing instant. Things are getting epic

As usual with my fantasies, Publishers Weekly has given it a qualified thumbs up. I keep hoping that they will come to appreciate what I think is the scale and the originality of the series, but alas, no.

It looks like Light, Time, and Gravity will be out with Insomniac Press this fall. I still don’t know what to think of thing. Meta-wankery. Reading The Wraparound Universe gave me some nifty ways to analogize the fictional philosophy in the book. Feels tighter.

I watched Transcendent Man the other night, and I have to say, found myself mightily impressed. What I thought was going to be a slavish tribute to Ray Kurzweil turned out to be a poignant and incredibly subtle character study–refracted through the abstract lense of the singularity debate no less. It’s as much a documentary about fear and hope–and the way they collapse into each other–as it is about anything else. Kurzweil’s terror of death leads him to embrace the singularity, which is but another form of death. Contradictions and ironies abound. Fascinating stuff.

I’ll be on a panel at the University of Western Ontario late this afternoon, discussing the ways my ‘humanities education’ facilitated my success. I’ll grit my teeth while others natter about their amazing critical thinking skills. Then I suppose I’ll talk about how the only way to succeed in a bullshit culture is to be a highly skilled bullshitter.

I’ll do my best to be polite, but there’s really no delicate way to dump in the salad. Given all the people I’ve offended, I’m beginning to think I need to change my strategy. Maybe I’ll try to call attention to just how preposterous my claims sound, to the way they trigger some automatic instinct to dismiss. Then say something trite and Andy Warholesque: like, ‘you’re only a critical thinker the degree to which you realize you are not a critical thinker.’

Something like that.

Then I’ll go home and get drunk with my buddies.