Successive Approximations

AUTHOR: Ben Berry

Durable Connections

Listening to Moxie Marlinspike on JRE, around 1h39m:

"In a sense, I'm glad those things [social media] exist, because they're sort of what we wanted, but I think we underestimated how important the medium is, like the medium is the message kinda thing. What we were doing at the time, of writing zines and sharing information, I don't think we understood how much that was predicated on actually building community, and actually building relationships with

Parable of Discovery

Imagine two people meeting for dinner at 6 at a restaurant neither of them has been to before.

Harry is a busy man with a calendar full of meetings. Google Maps says it's a 27 minute drive to the restaurant. At 5:31 he gets in his car, starts up the navigation, and gets directions straight to the restaurant. On the way, he listens to his podcasts at 150% speed because he has so many

Quiet to Think

Eric Hoffer insisted that everyone needed time to think while your body was otherwise occupied. He famously wrote The True Believer, published in 1951, while working his job as a longshoreman on the docks of San Francisco.

Unloading ships, mowing the lawn, or walking, whatever you do, you need quiet to hear yourself think. Time to digest whatever you've ingested in your intellectual diet, combine it with news from the day, and distill new knowledge

Empty Mind

The only way to an empty mind is not to push everything else out and decree silence. It is only by being open to every thought and allowing them to arise until they slow to a trickle. This may take a while, but it is quicker than the other option which is unending.

Good Things In Bad Times

There is a strange irony of difficult times like the current moment, when everyone expects everyone else to be tense and short-tempered. The podcasts, newsletters, and smartphone notifications say the world is coming apart at the seams. People expect bad things to happen.

The result is that the slightest moment of friendliness has a magnified effect. A smiling nod, holding the door for someone, a kind word of thanks to a stranger. It's so unexpected

Transitional Moments

I've come to the decision that there is nothing of intellectual substance that can be done in under two minutes, which is the amount of time I am most often looking to fill on my smartphone.

At best, I can review things and eliminate the ones that don't need attention: emails I don't need to read, RSS reader posts I'm not interested in, notifications that don't require a response.

But even those tasks only take