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My hope is that you use these emails to practice reflection.

My vision is a world where everyone can flourish. My mission is creating better conversations to spread understanding and compassion. Drop by https://constantine.name for my podcasts, writing and more.

~ Craig Constantine

Arise

It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.

~ Aristotle

~ Original Tagged Aristotle, Moderation, Quotes



The future

I already made the case in 2020’s The End of the Beginning that tech history was best understood as consisting not of multiple eras — mainframes, PCs, mobile, etc. — but rather as a multi-decade transformation from a computer-as-destination to computing-as-background.

~ Ben Thompson from, https://stratechery.com/2021/sequoia-productive-capital/

I love the little aphorism that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Magic isn’t unreal! You will believe a magic “trick” if the magician is willing to spend more time, money, or both than any sane person would, (to paraphrase Penn Jillette.)

There is no super-natural magic. But today, there is an amazing amount of the real kind of magic. …it’s just not evenly distributed, (to paraphrase William Gibson.)

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~ Original Tagged Ben Thompson, Penn Jillette, William Gibson



Deterioration

Any society which is not improving is deteriorating, and the more so the closer and more familiar it is. Even a really superior man almost always begins to deteriorate when he is habitually king of his company.

~ J. Stuart Mill

~ Original Tagged J. Stuart Mill, Progress, Quotes



The library

If you think of your mind as a library, three things should concern you. […] There is no point having a repository of knowledge in your mind if you can’t find and apply its contents (see multiplicative systems).

~ Shane Parrish from, https://medium.com/personal-growth/what-you-spend-time-reading-changes-your-brain-ee2ab4f2aa17#.20s36rpb7

Don’t panic it’s not simply a catalog of library metaphors. There are great points about being intentional about what you choose to put into your brain, what your brain is good at doing, the utility and danger—which I humorously typo’d as “dander”—of filters, and more. I’m going to go in a different direction here however: Rather than trying to figure out how to assess the library of my mind, I’ve been trying to more often let people see what it’s doing. As I’ve said many times, this blog itself is a form of me working “with the garage door up.” …and I regularly reread these blog posts myself to make sure the thoughts still look reasonable after some time sitting on the digital shelf.

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~ Original Tagged Reflection, Shane Parrish, Thought and Philosophy



Advancing

He only is advancing in life whose heart is getting softer, whose blood warmer, whose brain quicker, whose spirit is entering into living peace.

~ John Ruskin

~ Original Tagged John Ruskin, Progress, Quotes



Words matter

But it isn’t just institutions that are guilty of enervating the gems of our language.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/habits/143606/

A simple piece that makes a clear statement. I find that the less I talk, (and the less I write—for example, by not posting at all on any “social” media,) the less I have the urge to abuse words. So much, maybe even all(?), of my overwrought language was driven by desperate grasping to get people to like me. These days? The grasping is certainly no longer desperate, and my communication has vastly improved because of it.

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~ Original Tagged Brett McKay, Language, Self-awareness



Gravitation

Laws and institutions are constantly tending to gravitate. Like clocks, they must be occasionally cleansed, and wound up, and set to true time.

~ Henry Ward Beecher

~ Original Tagged Henry Ward Beecher, Quotes, Society



What’s in a name

A challenge arises when we make something over a long period of time. As we evolve — as we add experiences, impressions, memories, deepening knowledge and self-knowledge to the combinatorial pool from which all creative work springs — what we make evolves accordingly; it must, if we are living widely and wisely enough. Eventually, the name we once chose for it begins to feel not like a choice but like a constraint, an ill-fitting corset ribbed with the ossified sensibility of a former self.

~ Maria Popova from, https://www.themarginalian.org/2021/10/22/brain-pickings-becoming-the-marginalian/

Popova changed the name of her project a while back, and this is a nice unpacking of her thinking. I’ve a lot of projects, and they have various names; Names that are public and names for them in my own mind.

With each project, I continuously struggle to balance the desire for concision and the desire for clarity. I drive myself mercilessly to find the simplest phrase that is something memorable and meaningful. And then I drive myself mercilessly to be ready and able to explain things as iterative layers of unpacking. That name. A few sentences. A few minutes of explanation. And so on, expanding to a fully dynamic conversation about the thing. On one hand, I know that this zooming in, (towards a concise name,) and zooming out, (toward a coherent and thorough explanation,) improves my thinking and understanding. But on the other hand. It’s really exhausting.

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~ Original Tagged Maria Popova, Thought and Philosophy



Instincts

Our instincts as humans are slowly dimming the less time we spend in wild nature: rainstorms, cold, whiteouts, loose rocks, adventure. Climbing is an important and sacred opportunity for us to exist in situations that we faced a hundred thousand years ago. The animalistic side of human beings. Our instincts are an important element of our intelligence.

~ Reinhold Messner

~ Original Tagged Adventure, Meaning of life, Quotes, Reinhold Messner



Create a space

Today I’d like to share an idea for getting things in order: just as I recommend for decluttering your house, create a place for everything that matters to you.

~ Leo Babauta from, https://zenhabits.net/place/

When you first hear this idea—for physical things and for the things “in” your life—it sounds insanely hard. If you manage to push through that initial resistance you find out that the problem isn’t the things in, or “in”, your life. The problem is that you let them in. And then you realize, that you didn’t actually let them in, you invited them in.

For me, solving the problem is not about my ruthlessly removing things. (And to be clear, thoughts this post I’m talking about physical things that are around me, people around me, ideas around me… everything.) Solving the problem is not about my ruthlessly trying to keep things away. No. The real problem is to identify and then resolve the urge. The urge to want more. The urge to collect. The urge to—I think—try to fill some sense of need.

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~ Original Tagged Leo Babauta, Self-awareness, Simplicity



Moderation

In everything the middle course is best: All things in excess bring trouble to men.

~ Plautus

~ Original Tagged Life Balance, Plautus, Quotes



Standing desk

Long story short: I was given a very nice standing desk. I’ve been a long-time ignorer of these things. After a few weeks now, I am officially converting to team standing-desks. Yes, all the reasons you hear are true about them, but there’s one reason I’ve never heard mentioned which is the real reason I’m on board: Convenience.

From a chair, with my obviously finite reach, I am forever rearranging what is within reach. …now I simply half-step to the right—and all my books are at hand. …half-step left—all that office-supply and notes and note-taking stuff is in reach. Start writing—walk to something—walk back and finish writing my paragraph. Walk up, pick off a small task (answer an email)—walk back to mowing my lawn. I never realized how often I was sitting down and standing up, and how often I sat down only to get up to get something.

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~ Original Tagged Self-improvement, Workplace



Progressive development

Indeed, the grandest of all laws is the law of progressive development. Under it, in the wide sweep of things, men grow wiser as they grow older; Societies better.

~ Bovee

~ Original Tagged Bovee, Progress, Quotes



Best practices for textual websites

[…] here’s a non-exhaustive, highly-opinionated list of best practices for websites that focus primarily on text. I don’t expect anybody to fully agree with the list; nonetheless, the article should have at least some useful information for any web content author or front-end web developer.

~ Rohan Kumar from, https://seirdy.one/2020/11/23/website-best-practices.html

Zoinks! Just reading the few paragraphs in Kumar’s Introduction suddenly renewed my pride at being among the few humans who build web sites. I’ll go so far as to say: Insomuch as it is within my powers, I hereby declare said Introduction to be mandatory ready for anyone who types upon a keyboard anything which subsequently appears on the Internet.

Next I’ll point out—imagine I’m the tour guide with the headset-mic and we’re on the open-air bus touring behind the scenes of How the Internet Really Works—that this enormous article will show you just how complex a modern web site has become. But rather than panic, I take this as heartening. Having danced lightly through this page, each thing which I learned, helps me to do better going forward.

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~ Original Tagged Accessibility, Internet Tech, Rohan Kumar




 
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