Issue № 61

I appreciate your time and attention

There are countless instances where I’m reminded that “tomorrow” is not a given. I pay attention to those, and do my best to do it now. To say— Thank you. I appreciate you. I appreciate what you did there. I appreciate you’re taking the time to… You get the gist.

For me, I’ve tried to take from this experience a relatively simple lesson: I tell people how I feel about them when I have the chance.

~ Ryan Holiday from,

Memento mori.


Just as I have my own role to play, so does time. And time does its job much more faithfully, much more accurately, than I ever do. Ever since time began (when was that, I wonder?), it’s been moving ever forward without a moment’s rest. And one of the privileges given to those who’ve avoided dying young is the blessed right to grow old. The honor of physical decline is waiting, and you have to get used to that reality.

~ Haruki Murakami

Because I want to

I value writing because it forces me to winnow my thinking. (And I hear you snarking: If this is the winnowed thinking…) I appreciate that writing begs me to review and rethink. I appreciate that writing slows me down and that hand writing is glacial in pace.

Likewise, they say, handwriting is going the way of the dodo. I don’t think that’s precisely true—it sounds like one of those lazy assumptions about technology, that it exists to flatten, to eliminate anything that brings a tactile, objective permanence. It may be, rather, that the objective has changed. Now we handwrite because we want to, not because we have to.

~ Neil Serven from,

It feels odd to me that “handwriting” is mostly just a noun. Maybe I’m lost in pedantry here, but I’m intrigued by the interplay and overlap of the following simple sentences and fragments, and their multiple meanings. I write. My writing. My handwriting. My hand writing.


We give them the love we can spare, the time we can spare. In return, dogs have given us their absolute all. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.

~ Roger Caras

But can you actually see anything?

I love metaphors about hills and valleys. If it’s an uphill struggle, imagine the view. Hills and valleys is a great metaphor for the concept of a local maximum: It’s visually clear (standing atop a hill) and mathematically clear (at a local maximum) that it is “down” in every direction. But only a special sort of hilltop is actually interesting. A hilltop that is really large becomes a flat tabletop. And a hilltop socked in with fog is easily mistaken for not a hilltop. Only hilltops which are pointy enough, and from which we can see other things, are interesting.

[…] our economy—resource allocation based on employment […]—is a local maximum and we cannot expect to arrive at a good outcome without activism.


But, unless we automate a lot more, we the species will never have enough wealth to offer a decent basic income, and everyone will continue to waste half their lives at work.

~ Gavin Leech from,

Is it clear that every direction is “down”? Can we see anything else; if we can’t see anything else we can’t be sure this is a local maximum. How can we explore “down” in some of the directions… when we’re talking about global scale culture and human lives? 


Give fools their gold and knaves their power, let fortune’s bubbles rise and fall, who sows a field or trains a flower or plants a tree, is more than all.

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

The core group

Some assembly required. It’s always written on the package as a sort of warning: This thing looks fun… see the photo on the box? …well it it’s not going to be like that… until you put some effort in. Is there an adjective-form of that phrase?

I am conservative about varying the membership of meetings or groups because each person gained or lost resets the entire group’s confidence that they are on the same page. Attendance matters a great deal for the same reason. Other attendees can come and go but there must be some core group that identifies as such and shows up consistently.

~ Andrew Bosworth from,

It turns out that everything is always some-assembly-required. Anything that isn’t some-assembly-required is of little value (and probably of no value.) Some-assembly-required implies the result is more than the simple sum of the parts.

Life gets interesting—deeply enjoyable and fulfilling—when I can find a some-assembly-required group of people. The question I continue to have, each time I imagine a potential group, is: Can people simply assemble into a group? …or must there be something around which they assemble?

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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