My First Day In Senegal

When I was in London, I tried on several occasions to write down the frustrations I had with life in the city. Each time I failed because I could not avoid, in my own mind, coming across as embittered or defective - as though I had made a mistake (or…

At the Wagha Border

It is a hot day. I’ve been told the Wagha border ceremony is something worth seeing, but I don’t yet know about the peacock hats, the funny dances, the 6ft tall soldiers and the fanfare. In a few weeks, I will travel from India to Pakistan on a…

Rationality as a Coping Mechanism

I think a lot about “complexity”, in an abstract sense, and the mechanisms we have for coping with complex situations. In the physical sciences, there is a concept called “coarse-graining” which essentially means simplifying a system in a way that captures its most relevant properties. So, for instance, if we…

Qualified to Speak?

Under what conditions is a person qualified to hold an opinion? This is a question that to me feels especially relevant in the modern day where it’s possible to quickly learn about a new topic, to feign expertise, and to get opinions out into the world. On one end…