XX & Epistemological War

6 min readNov 1, 2021

Not a book review, more a call to arms


I’m Faris. But I’m also you, right now, because the voice in your head you are hearing is your own interior monologue. I’ve co-opted it for the time being, to transmit some ideas into your brain, under the radar, disguised as your own thoughts, appearing as you read this on a screen.

However, I regret to inform you, the voice in your head is not entirely your own. It is a product of every word, story, song, film, and idea you have consumed. It is created from culture, which of course includes which language you think in, filtered through your specific genetic make up and lived experiences, assembled into who you think you are.

I’m here to tell you why a book called XX by Rian Hughes is interesting and why I think you should read it.

However, to do the book justice and avoid spoilers this is not going to be a book review. Rather I’m going to hijack your brain with a few of what I think are the very important ideas contained therein.

The nomadic creative consultancy I run with my wife Rosie is called Genius Steals because we believe nothing comes from nothing, ideas are new combinations and originality is a myth.

Ideas are made of other ideas and the set of ideas I want to put forward come very directly, with attribution and the greatest respect, from one tiny section of this remarkable book. I’m quoting and borrowing, which is an idea that also features in the book. One character muses:

“Where do these new ideas come from? Forever replicating from a twist of an old idea, or some novel interbreeding of two or more to create a fascinating and seductive new strain.”

I could tell you XX is an extraordinarily ambitious science fiction novel by an excellent graphic designer, expansive in narrative, concept and form, but you can get that from Amazon. The set of ideas I want to retransmit are about today, the time and ideaspace we currently live in.

They are about why people refuse to believe things that are provably true and strongly believe things that are demonstrably false.

“Some of the oldest ideas we have ever thought are still with us today, myths grown stronger despite their




Hello! I'm Faris. I'm looking for the awesome. Founder/Genius Steals. Itinerant Strategist//Speaker. Author of Paid Attention.