... with heraclitus, starting at the usual haunt (the Starbucks on Yonge and Wellesley), heading north to Caffe Volo (589 Yonge Street) for some beers (on my side, a Stella Artois, the Polish Pilsener Zywiec, and the Belgian Delerium Tremens) then south to Not Just Noodles (570 Yonge Street) for a quick drunken meal (pad thai, here). The conversation was characteristically wide-ranging and enjoyable, touching on topics as various as the real consciousness of non-humans, the deliciousn transgressiveness of Neil Gaiman, social versus economic and Canadian versus American libertarianism, basic assumptions about culture, William Vollman's Europe Central (touched upon by heraclitushere), and the problems of empathy. Indeed, if tonight's conversation had any theme, it was that empathy is a key trait for any culture that wants to survive never mind emerge triumphant, for not only is a willingness to compromise a good bargaining skills in a complex society but social relations feel good. Robert Wright's Non-Zero puts forward this argument, but it did so to me long before I thought to read it. Intuition works.