One of the best aspects of modern culture is that we are exposed to so many other people’s weird beliefs. Plenty of people in our daily lives hold different opinions and even core values from ours, but rarely are these ideas arranged into whole systems. To encounter an entirely alien worldview, you used to have to travel. But now you only need the internet, which will happily ship stories and images of Earth’s totalizing theories directly to your house. Today is Friday, and the world is a patchwork of non-overlapping magisteria. Won’t you deride the unfamiliar with me?
Consider for a moment how much more complex our world is than the one in which our ancestors lived. The physical environment is roughly the same—albeit with abortion protestors where burning witches used to be—but our interpretation of that world is far more nuanced. Prose fiction, classical physics, the germ theory of disease, moral relativism, environmental stewardship, being cool—all these concepts overlay one another to make the modern world stand in relation to the past as an origami crane relates to a sheet of paper. It’s Friday, and the more you know the more improbable that seems. Today’s link roundup is full of fine writing and heady concepts, plus fungus. Won’t you deepen the manifold with me?