Sufficient Distinction

A friend started a game, based on the Arthur C. Clarke line that “Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The game was to create a sentence of the same format that feels sufficiently wise/insightful that it “feels like learning” enough to be enjoyable among the sort of nerds who enjoy that kind of thing.

If you play this game for too long, people get lazy and start just saying the “___; ___” instead of the whole sentence. In that format, here are some examples of what people came up with:

  • Technology; magic.
  • Justice; freedom.
  • Hangover; Mondays
  • Lust; loneliness
  • Laziness; nirvana
  • Privilege; chains
  • Not being there at all; Leadership
  • Pattern-matching; prejudice
  • Flavored vegetable protein; flavored animal protein
  • Spam; content
  • Falling; flying
  • Leggings; pants
  • Coping strategy; character
  • vr; r
  • Mediocrity; mediocrity.
  • Heteronormativity; suuuuuuper gay
  • Incompetence; malice
  • Weberian allusion; amazingness.

I spontaneously attempted an entire poem… which I won’t reproduce, because it wasn’t very good. Here are some of the better ones I came up with, or anyway can’t attribute to anyone else. Of course, all of them are like puns–even the good ones are pretty bad.

  • Sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.
  • Sufficiently advanced consent manufacturing is indistinguishable from leadership.
  • Sufficiently advanced Chinese Rooms are indistinguishable from consciousnesses.
  • Sufficiently advanced capitalist societies are indistinguishable from sufficiently advanced noncapitalist ones.
  • Sufficiently advanced legalism is indistinguishable from insufficiently advanced literature.
  • Sufficiently advanced metaethics are indistinguishable from songlines.
  • Sufficiently advanced poetry is indistinguishable from sex.
  • Sufficiently advanced music is indistinguishable from thought control.
  • Sufficiently advanced ubiquity is indistinguishable from nonexistence.


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