“We could have gone off and just built this in our building here for five more years,” he said, “and we would have had something jaw-dropping.” But the public wouldn’t have been able to prepare for the shock waves that followed, an outcome that he finds “deeply unpleasant to imagine.” Altman believes that people need time to reckon with the idea that we may soon share Earth with a powerful new intelligence, before it remakes everything from work to human relationships. ChatGPT was a way of serving notice.”
Quite possibly the scariest paragraph I’ve read in awhile.
I’m 37 this year. If I live till about 80, I have about 16,000 days or so left on earth.
The maths isn’t air tight of course. It’s just a rough estimate and a, I think, best-case scenario, provided I retain most of my brain cells all the way to the end.
16,000 days isn’t that many days. I could easily waste hundreds, if not thousands, of them doing nothing much at all.
But maths has never been my strong suit, and I hope 16,000 proves to be a larger number than I think it is.
I’ve discovered Iain Banks, and it feels almost like the first time I read Anthony Bourdain. It’s a feeling of pure electricity.
Also it will forever be an honor to read words written by beings who’re born to write.
People like these are not just writers, but conduits of something seemingly spiritual or alien or out-of-this-world. They remind me that the world isn’t just so. There is definitely something beyond, but what? In the meantime art and writing and music and the countless results of inspired creativity will sustain us here, until we get there, whatever and wherever that is.
As always, I’m a little late (but am I?). Iain Banks is no longer with us, but I read a really beautiful obituary about him in The Guardian and I don’t know why, but I feel satisfied.
My satisfaction comes from knowing that he had lived a life filled with most of the things he wanted – books, writing, readers, the chance to live in his imagination, and the ability to warp the shape of this universe through his thoughts.
It’s really all so satisfying.
These are from about 2005 and 2012 respectively.
PS: Don’t we just love a good desk.
I check my guestbook once in awhile and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I see new entries in them. I just wanted to take the opportunity to say, THANK YOU for signing my very old-school-relic of a guestbook. It might be me holding on desperately to the nostalgia-tinged days of the early web, but thank you for indulging me. And also, I lost my password to the guestbook so I can’t reply you guys. Yet. When I find some time, I will log in again and reply to each of you.
In the meantime, if you have included your website/blog link, know that I’ve definitely checked you out and bookmarked you 😉
A thought related to moving – I have so many things I feel positively haunted by my possessions. Incidentally it’s also the first day of Ghost Month here in Singapore, so I guess it’s kind of apt, this feeling.
But really, why do I have so many things? What happened to wanting to be a minimalist?
“Living out my small life in a spiraling megacity, I often feel like an 8-bit creature composed mainly of a mouth roaming a spontaneously generated set of white-walled malls, hungrily swallowing products: ordinary products, but also lifestyle-as-product, ethics-as-product, individuality-as-product. Sometimes the marketing is devilishly creative, and the consumption at times satisfying—the equivalent of haute cuisine. But I am pursued by a hangover that seems to locate me no matter where I am, and an incredible, relentless urge to purge my body of the aftereffects of my things, as well as my job, my ambition, my aspirations, my expectations, and to keep only my little and lonely life.”
– Conscience Round
Very excited to finally be moving into my own (tiny) home. No more landlords!
More updates to come 😉
Interviewer: “You seem to be fearless, that’s the other quality I’ve noticed about you.”
Maya Angelous: “I’m afraid all the time but I’m not afraid of anything. I gave into that. Which was a great freeing production for me. Once I really admitted that I would die, that it is the one promise I can be sure would not be reneged upon. Once I understood that, then I could be present. And I’m totally present, all the time. I try. Now, I don’t make it all the time. But I try to bring all my stuff here in this studio. Everything I’ve got is here. And when I leave here, everything I’ve got will be in that cab, will be in the hotel.”
Interviewer: “That could be a dangerous philosophy, if you think that you gotta live every single moment, cause you could be greedy. You’re not saying that, are you? You know, take everything I can now, now now. You don’t mean that…”
Maya Angelous: “No, maybe just the opposite. Give everything I’ve got! Not take. I mean, what is that? Give everything. All the time. It’s great fun. And it is liberating. Absolutely liberating.”
Kathleen Fisher is one of my favourite writers on the internet. Everything she writes draws me in effortlessly. I don’t know how she does it.
From her latest blog post “From That to This”:
“During that awful time when Covid was ravaging the world, I watched a news report about a woman whose mother died, like most alone in a hospital ICU. The funeral was held in a parking lot and she sat on a folding chair underneath a canopy next to her mother’s casket where friends and family drove by to pay their respects. Such a contrast to Mark’s funeral, and I wondered how it is possible to survive the heartache of not only losing your mom, but then having to say your goodbyes on top of asphalt while people shouted condolences from car windows.
And yet somehow, I, like so many others have survived the heartache of the unimaginable. I’ve learned, I’ve changed far more than anyone realizes, I have oh-so-delicately dipped my toes into the pool of life and tested the water. This go ’round, though, is different. Because I am too familiar with how fragile this all is, the best approach for me is to live smaller and quieter. Will it always be like this? I don’t know, but I do know it’s the reason the beauty of a single blooming bulb in the darkest time of the year made me yearn for more of that.”
Our brain craves focus.
When it is focused, it is happy, still, powerful.
But a focused brain is a rarity in today’s world.
What do you do to keep your brain focused?