Monday, April 6, 2020
"Refusal to forgive leads to a self-imposed imprisonment. It's time we freed ourselves by letting old pain dissipate into the darkness, so that new opportunities can take us to greater heights of joy."
-Marc & Angel Chernoff, 1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently
Today, thousands of years of coveting, fighting over, hoarding, taxing, and searching for salt appear picturesque and slightly foolish. The seventeenth-century British leaders who spoke with urgency about the dangerous national dependence on French sea salt seem somehow more comic than contemporary leaders concerned with a dependence of foreign oil. In every age, people are certain that only the things they have deemed valuable have true value.
The search for love and the search for wealth are always the two best stories. But while a love story is timeless, the story of a quest for wealth, given enough time, will always seem like the vain pursuit of a mirage.
-Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History
Sunday, April 5, 2020
I wrote two books on education and spent a lot of time thinking about it but, as anyone might have expected, I was better at talking about it than at doing. I am not a believer in complete freedom during childhood. I think children need a fixed routine, though there should be days when it is not carried out. I think also that, if a person when adult is to be able to fit into a society, he must learn while still young that he is not the center of the universe and that his wishes are often not the most important factor in a situation.
-Bertrand Russell, Portraits From Memory and Other Essays
There are many things you should care about
Like sick animals, dying trees, and saving the bees.
What other people think of you
is not one of these things.
-Courtney Peppernell, Pillow Thoughts III: Mending the Mind
As we all know, predictions are difficult, especially about the future. Our fearless authors are undaunted by the task. Essentially, they explore the intersection of the exponential growth of a wide swath of technologies and the convergence of those various technologies in unpredictable ways. The future they envision sounds amazing—and cheap, as technological advances solve one problem after another. The one thing they seemed to ignore is human nature and our love of mischief (and control). Well, they did devote three whole paragraphs to the subject before dismissing it. The authors note:
. . . we're going to experience a hundred years of technological progress over the next ten years. In fact, many of the most powerful technologies we'll have at our disposal—artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology—are only starting to come online. So yes, the threats we seem to face might seem dire, but the solutions we already possess will only continue to increase in power.
We will see.
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Thursday, April 2, 2020
"The Congress is ordinarily courteous and patient about listening to testimony, but gives not evidence of being willing to delegate any of its authority."
-Warren Weaver, Science and Imagination: Selected Papers, circa 1959
"We've upped our standards. Up yours."
"To get to the meat of the matter, I will come right to the point, and take note of the fact that the heart of the issue in the final analysis escapes me."
-One of Pat Paulsen's campaign slogans, followed by one on his stock answers to most questions.
True leisure, however, is neither a luxury nor a vice. It is as vital to our brains as Vitamin C is to our bodies. There's not a person on earth who on their deathbed thinks, "Had I only put a few more hours at the office or sat in front of the tube some more." Sure, swimming in a sea of spare time will not be easy. A twenty-first century education should prepare people not only for joining the workforce, but also (and more importantly) for life. "Since men will not be tired in their spare time," the philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in 1932, "they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid."
We can handle the good life, if only we take the time.
-Rutger Bregman, Utopia For Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World