Issue № 57


Agent K put it best, “Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” Some things once known, cannot be unknown.

There’s a useful concept to think about here: “Bezzle,” JK Galbraith’s term for “the magic interval when a confidence trickster knows he has the money he has appropriated but the victim does not yet understand that he has lost it.”

~ Cory Doctorow from,

This interesting, tiny detour of a word is just one bit of gobsmacking available from Doctorow. He’s actually writing about managing our retreat from all the housing we currently have in flood plains. But along the way, he takes us into the World of the Inconceivable via radium suppositories. (And yes, I did proofread the previous sentence.)

Don’t interrupt

When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.

~ Henry J. Kaiser

A flourishing life

Eudaimonia has come up before here on the ‘ol blog.

Simply put, I dislike having to use words from other languages. As soon as I queue up such a word for speaking, I imagine some leathery cowboy bitching about highfalutin words. (Which I, also immediately, find to be sublime hypocrisy on the part of my imagined critic.)

For the ancient Greeks, eudaimonia was considered the highest human good. While the word doesn’t easily translate into English, it roughly corresponds to a happy, flourishing life — to a life well-lived.

Eudaimonia wasn’t a destination — a nirvana that, once reached, initiated a state of bliss. Happiness wasn’t something you felt, but that you did; it was a dynamic, ongoing activity.

What that activity centered on was the pursuit of arete, or virtue.

~ Brett & Kate McKay from,

Anyway, there’s simply no way to say it succinctly in English. I’ve always wondered if the language (some word or phrase) is missing because we Westerners don’t think about eudaimonia— Or if we don’t think about eudaimonia because we don’t have the language for it. I want a single English word for all of that above because I think about it all the time.

Also, are you now wondering—more generally—if your primary language (the one you speak, read, write, and hear in your thoughts) affects the way you think or the types of thoughts you are capable of having?

Ideally like stars

Ideals are like stars; You will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But, like seafaring men on the desert of waters, you choose them as our guides, and following them reach your destiny.

~ Carl Schurz

Our sixth sense?

There are several ways to think about what might constitute the sixth sense. Because there’s a lot of stuff that we equipped to detect— electrical fields, magnetic fields, ultra-low frequencies, ultra-high frequencies, and infra-red to name a few off the cuff. Our brains are amazing sense-making hacks, and there (as far as I know) are multiple layers of mind “running” at the same time. We are literally swamped with information through so many mediums, and our brain is continuously and completely embodied into that information. Doesn’t it actually make more sense that we have “this vague sense that…” for any sixth-sense sort of experience we describe? What’s the alternative? …to have a myriad of explicit sensations that we only very rarely encounter? I think it makes more sense for to have a “vague feeling of…” as a way to experience the other, less-experienced parts of our physical abilities.

A hidden sense of smell might account for the mysterious sixth sense and a universe of subtle knowledge about the world.

~ Elizabeth Preston from,

The question I have—sorry, I always have questions, never answers—is: Now that I know that my sense of smell is better than I thought it was, does that mean that my sixth sense improves? (In the same way that walking around barefoot eventually improves your ability to balance without having to actually work on that skill.)


It’s impossible to please everyone. The question is whether you’re disappointing the right people.

~ Adam Grant


It’s amazing what the addition of a single character can do. I’m often striving to say no more often. The month of No!vember shall be a month of practicing saying no.

I’ve been saying “no” to a lot of stuff and spending more time alone, working in the studio. When it comes to invitations, a helpful question I ask myself is, “Would I do it tomorrow?” If not, here’s how to graciously say no to anyone. (More in the “Build a Bliss Station” chapter of my book, Keep Going.)

~ Austin Kleon, from

It’s not clear (granted, I didn’t look very hard) if No!vember is Kleon’s idea. That doesn’t matter to me. His mention is where I first learned it, and so I was 19,050 days old when I learned this. That’s a bit of a shame, and I hope it’s helped you sooner.

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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