This line has stuck with me since first reading Andrew Sullivan’s excellent article on distraction last week:
You are where your attention is. If you’re watching a football game with your son while also texting a friend, you’re not fully with your child — and he knows it. Truly being with another person means being experientially with them, picking up countless tiny signals from the eyes and voice and body language and context, and reacting, often unconsciously, to every nuance. These are our deepest social skills, which have been honed through the aeons. They are what make us distinctively human.
Another connection between the mind and physical performance:
By the end of the cold shower you will have experienced all of the negative sensations without any of the negative perceptions. You’ve eliminated the fear and whining that a normal person would associate with a cold shower…
Competitive runners don’t feel less pain than you — they feel much more. It just doesn’t bother them…
One tip I’ve started doing is when pedaling hard, to wiggle my fingers and toes. Because, hey, if I can still wiggle my toes it can’t be that bad, right?
Smart perspective on “artificial intelligence” from Brian Eno:
Global Civilisation is something we humans created, though none of us really know how. It’s out of the individual control of any of us—a seething synergy of embodied intelligence that we’re all plugged into. None of us understands more than a tiny sliver of it, but by and large we aren’t paralysed or terrorised by that fact—we still live in it and make use of it.
Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe…(2) we’re separate from the universe…and (3) we’re permanent. Now, we don’t really believe these things – intellectually we know better – but we believe them viscerally, and live by them, and they cause us to prioritize our own needs over the needs of others, even though what we really want, in our hearts, is to be less selfish, more aware of what’s actually happening in the present moment, more open, and more loving…
And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE. If you have kids, that will be a huge moment in your process of self-diminishment. You really won’t care what happens to YOU, as long as they benefit.
A lovely and probably quite surprising graduation speech by writer George Saunders. The most interesting part of becoming a parent to me was certainly how explicit the choice was between my (continued) selfishness and their happiness.
We wanted to bring to the Museum of Tomorrow a different concept of time: the idea that in the present, you prepare, you make a different path to different possible futures. It’s not a river in the sense that you have one source and one end. You have, in fact, a delta of possibilities.
I love that image: “a delta of possibilities”. A great interview with the chief curator of this new Rio de Janerio museum by Stuart Candy. A better reason to visit Rio than the Olympics!
We congratulate ourselves on the accomplishment of democracy…But regardless of who votes, what is the real meaning of any such choices if the alternatives among which we are selecting are underimagined, or clichéd – or simply absent? – Stuart Candy
My most influential role these days is less “tastemaker” and “decider” than simply “option generator”.
Design is just decision-making with visual aids.
Fascinating to see that Obama is reading Seveneves this summer, by my design hero Neal Stephenson. Another example of the massive impact that fictional storytelling can have on the world, through the people who read it.
In a world without future, each moment is the end of the world. – Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams
Of all the stories in this book, this sentence hit me hardest. How would you experience life if you believed every moment was the end of the world?