aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
Posted by dav at 2005 June 25 04:33 PM
File under: FinishedReading

I've been pretty bad about keeping up with my reading list here like I intended. I'm going to try to catch up now with a lot of books I've read over the past year. Unfortuantely since they aren't fresh in my mind my comments will probably be less than pithy, but this is more for my record than anything else so I apologize for filling your aggregator with crud.

One of the better ones was Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright. I saw Robert Wright talk at the first Accelerating Change Conference back in 2003. That is still one of the best conferences I've ever attended, and Wright's talk was one of the best ones there due as much to his witty delivery as the content (I've got it on DVD if anyone wants to borrow it).

The premise of the book is that there is a clear direction of human history, and that it is towards ever more complex non-zero sum games. A non-zero sum game is any social interaction in which the participants outcomes are intertwined in such a way that they can both lose or both win. A zero sum game is one where if one participant is winning, the other is losing.

Wright makes a convincing case as he tracks the course of human civilization through the different levels of organization around the globe (how refreshing to read a history of humanity that doesn't consider only Greco-Roman's human). The latter part of the book takes these convincing arguments for cultural evolution and shows how they fit when layered on top of biological evolution. I love that fractal shit.

This book fits in nicely with my curent philosophies drawn from The Lucifer Principle and The Global Brain.


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