Issue № 23


At the slightest hint of boredom, you can now surreptitiously glance at any number of apps or mobile-adapted websites that have been optimized to provide you an immediate and satisfying dose of input from other minds. It’s now possible to completely banish solitude from your life.

~ Cal Newport from,

Newport is on-point. (Although, “surreptitiously” is not how I would describe some people’s use of our current mobile technology.)

There is also an exquisite and rare variety of solitude found in the presence of others. In such instances, the other serves to reinforce the value of the solitude. The implicit suggestion that those present could choose to end the solitude makes it all the more sublime.


Begin deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

~ Lao Tzu

Are we alone?

Jupiter’s second Galilean Moon, Europa, with its interior ocean, predominantly crater-less surface, and crisscrosses of cracks and ridges spanning entire hemispheres, makes it one of the most fascinating planetary bodies ever observed. These unique geologic features are possibly indicative of liquid water traveling to the surface from its deep ocean, making Europa a hot spot for the exploration and study of life beyond Earth, also known as astrobiology.

~ Laurence Tognetti from,

My mind boggles. We haven’t quite created intelligence that exceeds our own, but we appear to be close (for better or for worse I can’t really say.) But I’ve been occasionally suffering from vertigo thinking: I may live to see it. The thing that has fascinated us for so long— The thing that I’ve read and seen in fiction my entire life— I may yet live to see that.

But when we find life somewhere besides upon our precious blue marble… I’m gonna lose my mind. Life on (in?) Europa seems bonkers, right? There’d be absolutely no light in that ocean… and yet. We find the bottom of our own tiny (compared to Europa’s) oceans teaming with life around sources of heat. That sounds exactly like Europa.

Also, you should totally go watch the film, Europa Report . . .


They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.

~ Mexican proverb

Time to think

[…] The problem is that too many workplaces expect their knowledge workers to pull the proverbial lever – today in Microsoft Office form – 40+ hours a week when they’d be better off doing things that look lazy but are actually productive. The result is that most people have thought jobs without being given much time to think […]

~ Morgan Housel from,

That’s an insightful point from Housel. I’ve no real idea if the “too many workplaces” part is true, but my personal experience is that I am quite often doing things which don’t look like productive output. I don’t want to write (say, or even think) “which look lazy” because writing (saying, or even thinking) that _reinforces_mis-construing productive thinking as that-other-thing I’d prefer to avoid reinforcing.

I’m told that I get a lot done. Sometimes I’m told that I get an inconceivable amount done. I’ve been asked if I have a clone. (To which I reply with a wink and a smirk, “If I did have a clone, how would I get that other myself to do what I myself already don’t want to do? No, it’s just the one me.”) For me, doing the productive thinking—although there’s room to quibble about how productive it really is—is the easy part. It’s easy like: I couldn’t possibly stop thinking like that, all the time. My problem is that I cannot also get myself to do enough proverbial lever pulling.


I’m telling you, the best thing to do is give people questions they’re not expecting.

~ Mike Birbiglia

My daily reflection prompts

Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind.

~ Marcus Aurelius


I have a series of prompts which are a combination of quotes and small notes I’ve written for myself. I’ve mentioned this a few times in various posts tagged Reflection. As I collect them—pretty rare these days—I record them on slips in the slipbox. In 2019 I posted Daily Reminders describing what I was doing and listed the 42 prompts. Below you will find the current list of 62.

Over the years I’ve taken the time to type them into OmniFocus, the personal productivity software which I use. I carefully created individual “to-dos” for each one, with each scheduled to repeat at just the right number of days, and lined up their initial due dates. Many years later now, every day, one of them comes up digitally as a reflection prompt. While I recognize everyone of them, there are enough of them that I cannot remember which one will be next.

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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