This video is incredible, and I’m shocked I’d never heard of Levin before. He’s a Tufts professor researching morphology—i.e. how do clumps of cells, all carrying the same genome, self-organize into complex structures. He’s working on some crazy moonshot applications, including regrowing human limbs. The “xenobots” he shows off in the video at 1:13:00 are bonkers.
Too often, Westerners think of Buddhism as a blanched philosophy, devoid of the sort of superstition and mythology that we’ve come to associate with the Abrahamic religions. The Wikipedia article on the Buddhist conception of hell serves as a good counterweight, and a reminder that Eastern religions too utilize powerful memes to propagate themselves.
I have a deep admiration for the self-awareness and candor of Louis C.K.’s comedy, and was shocked by his masturbation scandal—seeing your hero’s dark side can create a huge amount of cognitive dissonance.
In the years that followed, I found myself defending him (though not his actions) in private discussions, and tended to paint him as both villain and victim. I really hoped that in his “comeback” specials he’d address what happened with the candid self-deprecation he’s always brought to his work.
I finally watched pieces of Sincerely, Louis C.K. this week, and was disappointed by the self-centered non-apology we got instead. Lili Loofbourow’s criticism in Slate echoes my feelings perfectly.
I stumbled into the strange, terrifying rabbit hole that is JrEg’s YouTube channel through a comment on Hacker News. His strange brand of irony epitomizes everything I don’t understand about the Internet-steeped generation currently coming of age. He does a fairly poor job of summarizing his philosophy in this video, but it seems to be one of the few sincere things he’s posted, and for me it contained a key to unlocking the enigma that is 2022 twenty-somethings.
If you want a less audio-visually grating intro to JrEg and his weird brand of neo-humor, this Medium article is a decent place to start.
If you can look past the moralizing in this essay by Mary Harrington, it highlights an interesting phenomenon that I’ve been wrestling for a while: as American Christianity became a religion of intolerance, Satan became seen as the good guy, defender of reproductive rights and the dignity of LGBT folks. But a full 180 from Christian to Satanist values—which focus heavily individualism and hedonism—would be deeply destructive.