What I do, plus too much fun

Meaningness is David Chapman's newsletter. I write about meaning, purpose, and cultureleveling up technical workVajrayana Buddhism; and artificial intelligence. Much of that is on other sites, linked in the previous sentence.

Subscribing gets you occasional essays, plus news about whatever I'm up to, including what I've published elsewhere.

If you use the Substack app and “follow” me (a different thing than “subscribing”), you’ll see my more frequent, shorter Notes on diverse topics.

Paying members additionally enjoy posts that are either preliminary, or too much fun for those Very Serious Sites!

The free and paid posts are mostly different in purpose and type of content:

  • Free posts are mainly to keep you up to date on what I'm doing—although usually they have some “bonus content” as well.

If you appreciate my work here and elsewhere, and would like to support and encourage it, I hope you will choose to become a paid subscriber. By way of thanking you:

  • Paid posts are often unlike what I do elsewhere. They include stuff that doesn't fit any of my other sites, because it is not yet fully worked-out, too much fun, or sometimes quite odd!

Free posts

Subscribing lets you know whenever I've produced something new—most often a page on one of my several other sites.

Free posts usually also explain some background context for the work they announce; behind-the-scenes “Making Of” descriptions of my writing process; or practical exercises to make concepts relevant to your life and your work.

My sites are online books-in-progress, not blogs. They include:

  • Meaningness, about better ways of relating with meaning and meaninglessness; self and society; ethics, purpose, and value.

  • Meta-rationality, leveling up technical work by going beyond formal rationality, taking into account contexts and purposes.

  • Better without AI, exploring technical risks of artificial intelligence and their possibly disastrous consequences. This book is complete, with paperback and Kindle editions available.

  • Vividness, a Vajrayana Buddhist exploration of the same ideas as Meaningness.

  • Buddhism for Vampires, the same again, but in the form of a vampire romance novel.

I generally keep posts to a maximum of one per week, and a minimum of one per month, although occasionally I break those rules.

Paid subscriptions

The main reason for a paid subscription is to support, encourage, and show appreciation for what I do.

You also get paid-only content—as one way of saying “thank you!” I am motivated to write mainly by reader appreciation. Reciprocally, I really do appreciate the support and encouragement, whether financial or verbal!

I aim for at least one paid post per month. These include:

  • Exclusive new material, produced just for paying subscribers

  • Previews: pretty-much-finished versions of things I expect to make public a month or more later

  • Rough versions of things I hope will be public eventually, but that still need work; suggestions for improvements welcome!

  • Outtakes: bits of large projects that didn't fit, so I removed them, although they're interesting or amusing

Why $8 per month (or $80 per year)?

I have no idea! Those were the default prices in the Substack interface when I turned on paid subscriptions. They probably know what they are doing.

I am a true fan, and would like to give more than $80 per year!

I am deeply grateful for your generosity. You can be a Rabid Supporter and pay any amount more than $80. (There's an arbitrary default, which you can ignore.)

If you are already a paid subscriber, you can change your existing subscription plan to a Rabid one. Instructions here; they refer to Rabid Supporters as “founding members.”

$8 seems like too much!

I'm sorry! You won't miss anything important by not being a paid member, though.

If you appreciate my work and would like to support it in other ways, you could send links to your friends, post recommendations on social media, or make thoughtful comments on any of the sites.

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Subscribe to Meaningness

Essays on diverse topics; updates on what I am doing elsewhere; and for paying subscribers: fun stories, rants, and previews of serious writing.


Better ways of thinking, feeling, and acting—around problems of meaning and meaninglessness; self and society; ethics, purpose, and value.