Edmund Griffiths  

E d m u n d   G r i f f i t h s

On this page you’ll find links to some articles, poems, and talks, as well as a handful of translations, cartoons, computer programs, etc.

If you like anything here—and if you can afford it—you can support me via Patreon.

Please email me with any queries or commissions.

You may also like to follow @EdmundGriffiths on Twitter.

Recently added

Old Permic vocabulary drill version 2.0
in Computing

Honesty in politics
in Talks

in Poems


Progressive trends in Upper Palaeolithic cave art
in Talks

Why are goblins scared of iron?
in Talks

Neolithic Revolution
in Poems

in Poems

Why doesn’t Robert Temple think the Dogon were ever visited by aliens?
in Belief systems and descriptive logic

Seven potential problems with sortition
in Rough notes towards The Modern Discorsi

The Great Leap over the institutions
in Politics and socialism

Some remarks on the etymology of literary Martian
in Essays

An anonymous translation of the last few lines of the Bacchae
in Short notes

Towards a Science of Belief Systems

Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 — now in paperback

    “Fascinating... a joy to read”
                — Morning Star

    “Very useful and informative... a significant contribution”
                — Socialist Standard

People believe in a great many things: the New Age and the new atheism, astrology and the Juche Idea, the marginal utility theory and a God in three persons. Yet most of us know almost nothing about why other people believe the things they do—or indeed about how it feels to believe them. This book presents an objective method for understanding and comparing belief systems, irrespective of their subject matter and of whether or not the investigator happens to agree with them. The method, descriptive logic, is illustrated through analyses of various phenomena, including Zoroastrianism, Dawkinsism, Fabianism, 9/11 Truth, ‘alternative’ Egyptology, Gnosticism, flying saucer sightings, and the hymns of Charles Wesley. Special attention is given to beliefs that are not supposed to be wholly believed, and to how descriptive logic relates to the materialist conception of history. The book also outlines a new theory of superstition.

Table of Contents
Introduction. The Idea of a Science of Belief Systems
1. You Don’t Know What It’s Like!
2. A Descriptive Science of Logic
3. Some Notes on Affect
4. Elements of Comparative Method
5. Belief Systems and the Materialist Conception of History
6. Beliefs That Are Not Supposed To Be Wholly Believed
7. A Theory of Superstition, in Thirteen Paragraphs
8. Believing in Fictional Beings
Instead of a Conclusion
Appendix. The Use of Symbolic Notation in Descriptive Logic

Order direct from Palgrave: £16.50 inc. p&p paperback or £12.99 ebook (PDF and EPUB formats)


Out now — my translation of Eisenstein on Paper: Graphic Works by the Master of Film (Thames & Hudson, 2017), by Naum Kleiman
      • foreword by Martin Scorsese
      • biographical introduction by Ian Christie
      • 500+ colour pictures
Order direct from Thames & Hudson: £60 hardback

I am available as a freelance translator from Russian into English. Please email me for more information or for a quote.

‘The Spider’, by Maxim Gorky

Belief systems and descriptive logic

Descriptive logic: a summary account

Infrequently questioned answers

Can Aleksandr Dugin be called a religious thinker? AUDIO
Talk at St Antony’s College, Oxford, 1 June 2015

Why doesn’t Robert Temple think the Dogon were ever visited by aliens?

Moderate Labourism: an informal descriptive sketch

Truth shall make you free
Weekly Worker, 30 April 2020

And I’ll tell you no lies

Stalini teine tulemine. Uus Vene “patriotism” ja salatõdede otsing
(unauthorized Estonian translation of one of my articles)


Neolithic Revolution



Nadab and Abihu

In Colchis



A.D. 100

Fifth century


Some more lines for Bold Slasher


The summer of 1990

Pyongyang of the white concrete

When the state has withered away

My poems are not real poems

All poems on one page


Social origins of Norse mythology
16 April 2015

SAL BER YON ROSH: Nikolai Marr and the dream of a new linguistics
25 February 2016

Flat earth: a Marxist critique
18 October 2018

Aleksandr Bogdanov (1873–1928) and the general science of organization
29 November 2018

Christopher Caudwell (1907–1937) and ‘the sources of poetry’
14 February 2019

Israel is my washpot: politics in ancient Moab
11 April 2019

Mysteries of the Himalayas: the hidden Masters
30 May 2019

Vnhappie verse: quantitative poetry in Elizabethan England
21 November 2019

Karl Kautsky (1854–1938) and ‘the history of Christ’s passion’
14 May 2020

No saviour from on high: the search for extraterrestrial intelligence
18 June 2020

Mysteries of the deep: the Flying Dutchman
13 August 2020

Progressive trends in Upper Palaeolithic cave art
15 October 2020

Come, thou long-expected Jesus: the Left Behind novels
17 December 2020

Valentin Voloshinov (1895–1936) and the Marxist critique of Freudianism
4 February 2021

Why are goblins scared of iron?
11 March 2021

Who built the pyramids? The appeal of alternative history
19 August 2021

Honesty in politics
21 October 2021

Short notes

An anonymous translation of the last few lines of the Bacchae

Henry Jenner and the natives of the Midlands

The sound that people expect the letter i to make


Some remarks on the etymology of literary Martian

Winnie-the-Pooh and dialectical three-valued logic

Rough notes towards The Modern Discorsi

Some criteria for assessing how democratic a system is

Seven potential problems with sortition

Factionalism at the centre, confusion in the branches

The transition from elective monarchy to hereditary monarchy

Inaction as a weapon in factional struggles

On giving the membership things to do

I would gnaw out ‘bureaucracy ’ like a wolf

Ordinary democratic organizations

‘This is what democracy looks like!’

Politics and socialism

Socialism: Utopian and scientific

Defective and False Opinion Polls Need Scientific Rigour
Morning Star, 18 December 2015

Heritage of Radical Philosophy Under Threat
Morning Star, 19 March 2016

Bad arguments about war

Brexit: the vague foreboding

Classical Marxism—Dark Ages Marxism—Renaissance Marxism

The Great Leap over the institutions

Brexit: wrong question, wrong answer

On not mentioning the war

Bogdánov, Estrella Roja. Prólogo

Introduction to the Spanish translation of Aleksandr Bogdanov’s novel of 1908, Red Star (trans. James and Marian Womack, Madrid: Ediciones Nevsky)

Second edition out now, priced at €13.30


Emulates the first modern computer, the Manchester SSEM of 1948

Old Permic vocabulary drill
A web app for learners of Old Permic

Old Georgian vocabulary drill
A web app for learners of Old Georgian


Francis Spufford, Red Plenty PAYWALL
TLS, 1 October 2010

Kirill Medvedev, It’s No Good PAYWALL
TLS, 18 November 2015

Charles Clover, Black Wind, White Snow PAYWALL
TLS, 29 June 2016

Ed Pulford, Mirrorlands. Russia, China, and journeys in between PAYWALL
TLS, 23 July 2019

The Palgrave Handbook of Leninist Political Philosophy
Morning Star, 18 August 2019


‘Instead of analysing his dreams...’

‘I think I actually preferred it...’

‘Professor French had decided...’

‘They always seemed excited...’

‘Just one more game...’

‘Three hours in, Harold wasn’t sure...’

‘It’s like the last days...’


You can get in touch with me by email or on Twitter.