A Reflection on Missing Axioms by Samuel Barnes

If nihilism can’t be lived, then nihilists are living out “something else.”

Photo by Kamesh Vedula

We learn from Samuel Barnes, the mind behind Missing Axioms, that it is impossible for us not to possess and exhibit values: as he puts it:

‘The human truth is that you have values, values which eminate from you explicitly and implicitly. Human being can never be contentless. […] Values spew from us in every stride or stumble.’

Considering these eloquent and profound sentences, when we claim nihilism — that “nothing matters” — we claim something that cannot be lived: I can “tell” people that I am a…

A Short Piece

Boredom is not only a problem for leisure but also a problem for thinking.

Photo by Niklas Hamann

A society that is bored is a society that will struggle to think well. Boredom is not so much a state of having nothing to do — a person who lives in New York, for example, which is full of activities, can easily be bored — but rather boredom is a state where an individual doesn’t see significance in what he or she could do (it is a state in which a person “doesn’t see any point” in doing one thing versus another). A bored person…

An Essay Featured In The Map Is Indestructible by O.G. Rose

On the End of Argument and Rationality

Frozen Glory Photography

The rational and logical end where death and apocalypse begin; there, the border of thinking is reached. If every man, woman, and child will die if I don’t murder someone, is it still wrong to murder? In this situation, what is a clearly immoral act is suddenly not so clearly immoral: it’s as if the “rules may have changed,” per se. If murdering a child will save the lives of a hundred children, is it wrong? Outside such a situation, it is easy to say that it’s always wrong to murder, but within…

A Short Piece

We will only thrive if we genuinely try to best one another while paradoxically accepting an unsatisfactory tie.

Photo by British Library

We’ve all heard that life is about balance. If we change too much, we feel aimless; if we change too little, we feel stagnant. If we honor tradition too much, we fail to see opportunities for growth; if we dishonor tradition, we may alienate the people around us that, say in a democracy, we need to change the society. If we’re nice all the time, we’ll be taken advantage of; if we’re never nice, people won’t want to be around us. …

A Parable Inspired by Mark Mio

On living offline and online.

Photo by Taneli Lahtinen

Owning two houses is great, right? You have more equity, more space — lots of advantages! Imagine the two houses are built right next to one another and that both of them are two stories high. Great! But wait, who’s going to clean them? Keeping a house up is a big deal: floors to mop, bathrooms to clean, paint to keep from chipping, rugs to vacuum — it’s no small task (it’s easy to see why so many people prefer renting). Could you hire a maid? Maybe, but that costs…a lot…

So, you spend a…

Previews on Works by O.G. Rose


This is a preview list of short pieces I wrote focused on “thinking about thinking,” mental models, epistemology, and stuff like that. I hope you see something in here that you find interesting!


Everyone Is Rational

Nobody does anything they think is irrational. If they touch fire, which is arguably stupid, they must be doing it because they want to impress someone, feel pain, or see what fire feels like. In light of this desire and want, touching the fire becomes rational to them, even if it’s not actually rational. But unfortunately, only God can ultimately know what is actually rational, and…

A Short Piece Featured In (Re)constructing “A is A” by O.G. Rose

How we associate thinking with being “out of touch” and so absolve ourselves the responsibility.

Photo by Benjamin Lizardo

Letters don’t have meaning, and yet words are made of letters. Letters are sounds, and sounds are more “concrete” than words, and yet letters don’t mean anything. Letters seem to be both “concrete” and “abstract,” and yet we tend to think of these as opposites, that where there’s concreteness, there won’t be abstraction. What’s going on?

It’s strange to think that letters can be more abstract and meaningless than words, seeing as sounds are more physical and “in the word” than the ideas which words…

Points based on “(Im)morality” by O.G. Rose.

Photo by Andreas *****

Do moral absolutes exist?

Well, even if “morally absolute acts (in-of-themselves)” don’t exist, “morally absolute categories” still could.

Murder is always wrong, but admittedly, it is not always clear what is murder versus killing. Killing seems like it is not always wrong (say in self-defense, in stopping a rabid animal from attacking a child, etc.), so if x is “ending a life,” the question is if x always falls under the category of murder (y) or if it sometimes falls under the category of killing (z).

“Murder” (y) is a morally absolute category…

An Essay Featured In (Re)constructing “A is A” by O.G. Rose

A Precursor to “On ‘A is A’ ”

Photo by Kiarash Mansouri

What a thing “is” cannot be separated from what a thing “means,” as two sides of a coin are inseparable and yet distinct.¹ A given cup is ultimately a collection of “atomic facts.”² Therefore, a cup isn’t a “cup”: what a cup is isn’t what it “is” (to us). To humans, the is-ness of a cup cannot be understood; therefore, when humans speak of is-ness, they speak of what a thing “is” (to them). In other words, what a thing “is” is what a thing “means.”

To use language from “On Thinking…

A Short Piece Combining “On Thinking and Perceiving” and “Bridging the Kants”

Our confidence in the solidness of reality is more a product of perception than thought.

Photo by Jaredd Craig

Unless we’re losing our minds, I’d wager most of us are fairly confident that the world around us is relatively “solid.” What I mean by this is that we tend to assume the tree in front of us won’t randomly transform into a dog, that we won’t blink and teleport a hundred miles away — you get the idea. Now, the universe of Quentin Meillassoux is much more interesting, but even “the speculative realists” have ways of explaining why our lived experience is relatively “solid”…

O.G. Rose

Write Launch. Iowa. Broken Pencil. Allegory. Streetlight. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M. Poydras. Toho. ellipsis. Open. UNO Finalist. Pushcart Nominee. ogrose.com

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