2018 Is Here!

Happy New Year everyone! It’s 2018, and you know what that means:

Retrospectives and lists!

I’ll spare you the worst of it, but suffice it to say 2017 was a year of good and bad for yours’ truly. The family was reunited, but apartment living in a new city continued to be a drag. We’re working on fixing it, though, so hopefully soon we’ll have a home again.

On the blogging front, 2017 marked my first full year, and it showed an increase in posting activity and visitors. Admittedly, 2016 was skewed when Scott Adams linked to a post, but still, an increase is an increase.

Doing the rough math, this blog averaged about 24 visitors a day in 2017 over about 23 in 2016, but almost 400 more total viewers. Remember also that I started this blog in May of 2016. It’s be more accurate to do a retrospective like this on May of this year, but where’s the fun in that?

Yeah, I’m trying to finesse the numbers. But I’m still happy about the growing readership here. It’s been fun connecting with lots of people, sharing and gaining new ideas and perspectives. For all of you who read and comment and get in touch via social media, know that you’re much appreciated! Continue reading “2018 Is Here!”

Close Your Mind: A Response to Zigmund Reichenbach’s Guest Post

Hey everyone. In case you missed it, my response to Zigmund Reichenbach‘s guest post has been posted over at his excellent blog, All My Small Thoughts. In it, I discuss how using Zig’s idea of methodological skepticism can strengthen your own arguments and how this relates to debates and even the law, if you’re into that sort of thing.

But I also get into how an excess of skepticism can lead to an inability to judge. In other words, that there is such a thing as being too open-minded. An excerpt:

“Judgment” has become a dirty word, as though making a decision–and sticking with it!–is somehow a bad thing. How dare we place value on anything that anyone alive on this world decides to do or say? Who are you to judge?!

I’ll tell you. I’m a thinking human being.

Open-mindedness is good and all, but at some point you have to close your damn mind and discern and decide and yes, judge.

Read the whole thing at Zigmund’s blog, read the rest of his writing because he’s posting a lot of good stuff over there . . . and tell him Alex sent you.

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

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Guest Post: Methodological Skepticism by Zigmund Reichenbach of All My Small Thoughts

Statue of a man thinking

Skepticism comes in a variety of styles and flavors. Some prefer the nihilistic variety, others prefer playing skeptical troll.

But fortunately for us, there’s a better kind of skepticism.

One that we can use to:

1. Uplift others
2. Make conversation
3. Become more intelligent in the process.

This variety of skepticism will be known as “methodological skepticism” (a distinction borrowed from scholar Michael Forster).

Scholar Michael Forester

This skepticism relies on a Greek concept called “equipollence” meaning “equal force on both sides” as it pertains to making arguments.

And we can use this form of skepticism in a very “judicial” manner–meaning we can use to build up the arguments of our “opponents,” test our arguments against this “iron man”–for strawmen are intentionally weak arguments designed to set us up for moral grandstanding–and see which argument wins. Continue reading “Guest Post: Methodological Skepticism by Zigmund Reichenbach of All My Small Thoughts”

Be My Guest . . . Again!

img_5421-1That’s right, it’s time for another guest post here on Amatopia!

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Zigmund Reichenbach of All My Small Thoughts. Zig is a smart dude, funny guy, philosopher, intellectual patriot, and all around interesting cat who always has something trenchant to say. He is studying to become a full-blown Hannah Arendt scholar, yet still finds the time to write and publish his pieces.

His post is going to be about a topic near and dear to my heart: Skepticism! Read and enjoy, leave lots of comments, and as before I’ll be publishing my reaction to Zig’s piece afterwards . . . here or perhaps even at Zig’s site.

Mystery abounds . . .

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

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Why Pulp Revolution is Perfect Response to 24/7 Politics: Guest Post on Hollywood in Toto

Some of you might realize that politics has invaded all of your entertainment. Over on one of my favorite websites, Hollywood in Toto, I take a look at an antidote to the intrusion of heavy handed political messages in your fiction of choose: the Pulp Revolution.

Or #PulpRev, if you're hip:

Few people want to spend time with hectoring scolds in their everyday lives. But much of our arts have turned into moral crusaders telling you that, if you disagree with The Message then there must be something wrong with you.

Stories are methods of communication, but they should above all else be enjoyable.

Thanks to the power of the Internet, I have found such stories. There is a movement that does not care about writing message fiction. And what’s even more exciting is that it has no rules, no set guidelines or genre-definers, and most importantly, no political litmus test dictating what stories can and cannot contain.

It’s called the Pulp Revolution.

All that the Pulp Revolution—PulpRev for short—cares about is telling amazing stories based on timeless human principles. The purpose? Have fun without alienating half of its potential audience.

But what is the Pulp Revolution? To answer this, it’s helpful to talk about what it isn’t.

Read the whole thing at Hollywood in Toto. I've been a fan of Christian Toto since he was writing at Big Hollywood, and it's an honor to have written something for his excellent site.

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

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Guest Post: Staying Authentic in Trying Times by Avtomat Khan of Hidden Dominion

We’re at an interesting crossroads in society. For those of us who has been around or studied politics for a long time, it doesn’t really seem like it used too. The political polarization of society has shifted.

Sure, there has always been some violence, and much debate–but now it seems like it has coming to a boiling point. A “point of no return” where discourse has taken a backseat to “you’re on my side, or you’re out.” Where someone’s feelings matter more than fact.

The culture has shifted. Instead of focusing on merit and the important issues of liberty, the focus is on virtue signaling and power.

Where if you don’t get on the bandwagon, it takes off without you.

Many people in some industries such as Hollywood or Silicon Valley have to agree with whatever their superiors or colleagues are supporting. If they don’t, they’ll be out of work. More and more industries are starting to turn this way. Some companies will even fire employees strictly for posting non-PC comments on the Internet.

Not only this, but now many people are losing friends over political or moral viewpoints? What has happened to us that just disagreeing has become such a terrible event?

I like to think of this part of our current history as the “Modern Regressive Era” or “The Trying Times.”

There are a lot of reasons this has come to fruition. And based on my opinion, a large chunk of that responsibility comes from people giving up and feeling hopeless about being able to change anything.

It’s easy to feel hopeless. It doesn’t require any work. All it requires is for you to forsake all of your values.

But these trying times aren’t here for you to give up and lose all hope. They are here to test your resolve, and most notably, your courage.

But don’t get me wrong. We’ve all been there. It’s hard to cope with an uneasy future, and that feeling that nothing you do could help.

It’s difficult feeling like you don’t have control.

But the fact is: You DO.

Society may seem and act like a machine. But it’s not. It’s a human invention. And like all of our inventions, it’s malleable. It’s based on us; we make up the machine.

And the only way to edit it, is to edit ourselves. The best way to do this, is through the virtues of authenticity and courage. Continue reading “Guest Post: Staying Authentic in Trying Times by Avtomat Khan of Hidden Dominion”

Be My Guest: Introducing Guest Posts on Amatopia!


Exciting news everyone! I am hosting my very first guest post here at Amatopia, this one from an interesting guy I have gotten to know on Twitter, Avtomat Khan (aka AK).

AK runs a blog called The Hidden Dominion, which I took a liking to immediately because he, as I try to do here, covers a wide range of subjects–culture, philosophy, economics, survival, personal finance, politics–but with a strong focus on achieving independence in all facets of life. Interesting stuff!

AK goes deeper into the news-of-the-day, and covers topics that I don’t here, like self-defense, but there is enough overlap and similarity of overall philosophy about life, particularly a mutual sense of curiosity, that we thought it’d be fun do some guest posting.

The way I plan on doing guest posts is to start with an introductory blurb like this, give each writer their entire own post with none of my writing, and then later publish my own post reflecting on what they wrote and why I thought it was a good fit for this blog. Amatopia is all about learning and curiosity, so I hope you find these guest posts as interesting as I do!

So here he is, writing about an oft-discussed subject–staying authentic–but I think AK offers a better explanation of what that means, and an interesting way of thinking about the concept, than you might have read before.

So a hearty thank you to AK for writing this! Hope you enjoy his post as much as I did, and I highly recommend you check out The Hidden Dominion!

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

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