Search

Scribbles from the Ivory Tower

Category

Lighter Stuff

A letter to me in 2016

Dear me in 2016,

You enrolled in this MSc Strategic Studies program hoping to be able to contribute to your country’s national security. You thought you would become a strategist, someone who could help Indonesia in its time of doctrinal stagnation. You had high hopes for yourself that you would come home and be there for your country, even when they rejected you twice.

Continue reading “A letter to me in 2016”

Advertisements

Reading science fiction in an age of political turbulence

Lately, I’ve found myself reading more classic science fiction. I went through Asimov’s entire Foundation saga, and am currently reading Clarke’s Odyssey series and his Rama series. The science fiction of old reflected a time of general optimism for space travel and colonisation. One day, we’d escape our cradle, Earth, and settle throughout the galaxy. We may or may not encounter other intelligent life-forms; even Asimov thought humans would be the dominant space-faring species in the Milky Way (but he hinted, at the end of Foundation and Earth, that Andromeda may host a new form of life we’ve yet to encounter).

The main enabler for us to engage in space travel would be technology. As we sailed the seas with ships and aircraft carriers, so too will we travel the stars in advanced starships like the USS Enterprise. At this moment, we’re taking baby steps towards the development of space technology, slowly and clumsily crawling towards that dramatic breakthrough or “revolution” that would propel us into the future. But, Asimov’s dreams of humans establishing a galactic empire tens of thousands of years into the future maybe under attack.

Continue reading “Reading science fiction in an age of political turbulence”

Strategic Gaming: Civilization V and My Studies

Studying about war and strategy is boring, especially when we cover the dry, theoretical aspects like Clausewitz and game theory. What’s even more problematic is the fact that there are few ways in which I can translate what learned in class into real-life situations. Sure, I understand that strategy is a clash of wills, but how do I observe such a phenomenon without leaving the comfortable ivory tower? Furthermore, observing behaviour takes a long time.

Luckily, there’s Civilization V, which helps the aspiring strategist apply what they learned in a sandbox simulation of real-world politics. Having invested over 300 hours in Civilization V without any end in sight, I can safely say the game provides, within its artificial limits, a place for me to apply theory into practice. Or at least understand the more abstract concepts in strategy.

Continue reading “Strategic Gaming: Civilization V and My Studies”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑