Energy is Structure, Structure is Beauty

“Summer Idyll” by Auguste Leveque

It was Louise Pasteur who said “A bit of science distances one from God, but much science nears one to him,” an epigram I’d also use for “A bit of materialism distances one from god, but much materialism nears one to him.”

Or if not god, something just as interesting.

Like any idea, materialism is no monolith. You can see ‘empirical pessimists’ like Yuval Harari, for example, arguing that people desire money and status — but that both are ‘fictions.’ Why do these fictions influence us the most? Harari answers: they are the biggest…

At Kip’s Bar

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

There’s a climate between piney Oregon and strip-mall Los Angeles only a Northern Californian of a certain variety can appreciate. Like greyhounds cornering a track, fog blows in from the Pacific and funnels into the Golden Gate. Rounding the elbow of the Bay, it trips and hurls itself onto Oakland and Berkeley, covering the towns in a grey shell of overcast that breaks as often as it doesn’t. Visitors often leave disgruntled. They wanted the Santa Monica pier. But the overcast is almost always around 50 to 60 degrees. …

Photo by Dim 7 on Unsplash

The cafe I found had 4.5 stars and one ‘$’ on Google Maps. It was also adjacent a medieval little alleyway which fed into the Ufizzi square. I had a great sandwich there, so it was good value for someone bumming around like me.

“A six and a half, please,” I had asked the butcher.


“A six and a half?” I repeated, pointing at the menu, “A six point five?”

“Ah, seeeks point five, certo certo,” he confirmed.

He waved me to a cafe table next to the alleyway. It was in the shade of a castle type building…

Digital nomadding, living out of a backpack, thoughts from the outside

The Via Appia. PC: @agoltra on IG

In my last post on how I changed my mind this year, I wrote about capitalism and brought up some personal experience. Since this anecdote was one argument I made among others, it was necessarily short and pretty rhetorical. In this post, I’ll expand on it, mostly off the pitch that I’ve started on reflecting on things from a different angle digital nomadding and living out of my backpack.

When I graduated college, I just wanted to gobble New York up. What was to be gobbled? Who’d be involved…

Bourgeoisie Nihilism, the Efficient vs. the Effective, Promising Antitheses

Nietzsche once wrote that philosophy is the mere biography of it writers, rationalizations packaged in prose and complexity even for the authors who wholly believed themselves ‘impartial.’ Socrates insisted sex with little boys was spiritually pure? He also insisted that philosophy was the highest calling? Of course he would! Don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut.

To the degree some of my stuff approaches philosophy, some of my thinking has changed over the past year in-step with my lifestyle shift. From working full time in New York, I’ve started…

One anime’s lethal refutation of Love, ‘Tech’ — ‘Western Civilization’

Poster for “The End of Evangelion”

As with the creativity that comes from traveling, the need to approach writing with fresh eyes, or absence as the best aphrodisiac — some ideologies grow too close to a culture and need to be approached from the outside to be re-understood.

Specifically, what is Christianity to us today? As of late 2019, the general associations are to Kanye West, Republicans, and perhaps Joel Olsteen’s Prosperity Gospel. Optimistically, Christianity smells like decay. Pessimistically, it’s pastiche people cling to during American decline.

Though not to give its creators short thrift, it’s…

Concluded with: ‘What is philosophy?’

As we’ll find out, what happens when facts have no values and all deaths are treated equally as numbers.

It’s no exaggeration that science and tech have replaced Catholicism for a certain American. Off the backs of Carl Sagan, Neil de Grasse Tyson and Elon Musk tease us with promises of the cosmos and trans-humanism. Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson draw thousands to public events in an apparent debate between neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and left vs. right. …

It’s modernism’s fault, not postmodernism’s

Politics is indelibly downstream from culture, and so its always impressive to see them synthesized as in David Ernst’s Donald Trump is the First President to Turn Postmodernism Against Itself. Ernst argues that postmodern TV primed us for Donald Trump through moral relativism and anti-hero protagonists. Ernst cites The Soprano’s Tony Soprano, as he tells a bunch of country club WASPs:

What you lookin’ at? You all a bunch of f — in’ a–holes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need…

Freedom’s abbreviated history in Sparta, America, and Modernity

Leonidas at Thermopylae, Jacques-Louis David

Scholars will comment on many things concerning our ‘West’, but by far the most particular will be our obsession with ‘freedom’. Freedom! This one concept almost transcends our reverence for Christianity and modernism. America’s epithet is ‘leader of the free world’ and ‘land of the free’. By our liberal hegemony, every other state is evaluated under freedom with the same fervor Christendom regarded the heathens.

Meanwhile, Hollywood drums on our reverence for the archetypal rebel. Star Wars rebels against the Imperial Dark side. 300 rebels against Imperial Persia. Harry Potter fights Voldemort…

Analyzing GOT, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men

PC: A.R.G.

Consider the various endings of Shakespeare’s plays and how it affects the palate. In Romeo & Juliet, one finds a tragic ending in which characters wring their hands. In As You Like It, the comedy ends with three couples married all at once. Hamlet ends in an orgy of violence. As much as Shakespeare covered the emotional valleys, did he write to the absolute peaks.

Many scholars trace that type of palate to a Christian society. A culture anxious over heaven and hell could entertain similar extremes in its art. …

Aidan Goltra

Director of Programs at an EdTech startup. Studied philosophy at Columbia (CC’18). Likes Nietzsche a lot. Favorite Sci-Fi is Dune. All views are my own.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store