Issue № 47

Calmness is needed

There is a time and place for maximum effort—yes, that’s a Deadpool reference—and there’s a time and place for stillness and calm. I’m fascinated by the relationship and interaction between physicality (as movement versus stillness) and mentality (as agitation versus calmness.) I’ve had transformational experiences at both extremes of physicality, with mental calmness. I do get mentally agitated. But I fear that too many people experience calmness far too rarely, possibly never.

This often means working more thoughtfully, and maybe even more slowly. Slow work is not unproductive work. What we lose in speed we more than make up for in deliberateness—as well as in undistracted attention, a critical factor of productivity.

~ Chris Bailey from,

Sometimes people ask me about Stoicism, and I suck at explaining it. Thinking and writing about calmness today, I’m struck that I should probably mention eudaimonia (eu̯-dai̯-mon-ía). Eudaimonia is a key value Stoicism advocates striving for.

[…] is a state of being and consciousness that is consistent with the active, effective activity of ideal agency and in general is characterized by the calm (equanimity; tranquility) that comes from the absence of further moral struggle and the absence of retrospective regret or prospective alarm about things outside one’s control, together with the confidence that comes from the effortless persistence of moral purpose.

~ Lawrence Becker from, A New Stoicism p91

2.5 millenia later… calmness, equanimity, tranquility?

Love and loyalty

It’s easier to desire and pursue the attention of tens of millions of total strangers than it is to accept the love and loyalty of the people closest to us.

~ William Gibson

Which spiral?

To this day, if I realize I’m in a downward spiral I bring my attention to my next decision. (“Realize” being the important word there. I am too often actually in a downward spiral without realizing it is so.) Left foot, or right foot next? Take a nap, or continue what I’m doing? What’s the smallest next thing I can do, which would be a positive? Maybe the best thing I can do is to simply cease everything and pause.

Bodies start to hurt when they aren’t moved enough, but also because when they are moved, some parts aren’t moving with ease. This then makes it harder to move enough, and our movements get more diminished, immobility and pain arises, and we think it’s all inevitable.

~ Katy Bowman from,

I find it empowering to know that making small, simple decisions about movement can profoundly affect my overall health and mobility. I’m not taking Bowman’s word for it though (she does have lots of great things to say about movement) I’ve simply taken note of what happens. Sometimes (often?) the better, small choice is the slightly more difficult now option. As Jerzy Gregorek put it, “easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.” Choose wisely.


Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content.

~ Helen Keller

Not too often, not too infrequent

There is no piece of straw incapable of breaking the camel’s back. Because there’s nothing particularly interesting about the final piece of straw, it’s the total mass. Over the past week I’ve been attacking my lists in a sort of upside down fashion. There are some big, low-priority things sitting at the bottom of my lists for some time. They’ve resisted my finely-honed urge to summarily delete them; each time I consider them I remain sure I want to actually do them. None the less, I see them and I know they’re there and they weigh upon my mind.

Left unchecked, every life flows away from higher aims and towards the path of least resistance. Daily practices can help stem this slide. But staying on course requires check-ins that are too big to do every day, and too important to only accomplish monthly (or yearly).

~ Brett McKay from,

Last weekend, as I often do, I did a review and decided to focus on those big, low-priority items. And to my surprise, I’ve been springing out of bed at 530—the normally targeted time, but which is often a struggle—and smashing these items in multi-hour dashes. Crossing them off one by one has been sublime. The magic seems to be the combination of going to bed knowing I’m going to start tomorrow working on those things which are actually on my mind, and knowing that I’ve set myself a specific window of days to smash this stuff.

Choose wisely

Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.

~ Roy T. Bennett


There’s an old saying familiar to those who work in radio: Radio has the best pictures. It’s obviously a jab at television. But it’s also completely true. Since it doesn’t literally have pictures, listeners are left to imagine, and imagination is almost always better than anything that can be jammed into images. This all goes doubly so for books and reading. I was grudgingly going along with Apple’s production of Asimov’s Foundation series of books. Until they showed me the Mule. (You either know this character, or I’ve lost you.) My heart sunk.

If you explore MicroMUSE today, you’ll get a preview of the fate that awaits all of our social systems. The streets are empty, but it’s more than that: there is a palpable sense of entropy. You can query the system for a list of commands, but many of them no longer work. It’s half glitchy video game, half haunted house. Sometimes it falls offline entirely, only to return days later.

The system still speaks. You are welcomed by the transporter attendant, who gives directions to all newcomers to this space city. It cautions you: Clear communication is very important in a text-based environment…

~ Robin Sloan from,

This article was nearly too much for me to read. That’s the Internet that was growing when I started tinkering. Today, with god-like power (from my 1994 perspective) at my fingertips, it took me 3 seconds to install a telnet client. And just a minute more to learn the answer to Sloan’s main question, “As kids, we make secret worlds – in trees, in our imaginations, even online – but can we go back to them when we’re grown?”

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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