Time for reflection

Imagine that you were to sign up for a retreat this month … you put aside your daily life, all your busywork, all your projects and errands and emails and messages … and you travel to another place. In this place, you remove yourself from the busy world and find space for quiet. For reflection. For contemplation, setting intentions, reviewing how things have gone. For gratitude and appreciation for life.

~ Leo Babauta from, https://zenhabits.net/december-retreat/

Today, a rare two-fer’…

Not only does hyper-connection alter our social relationships, it also makes us dumber, as pointed out as early as 2005. It threatens our health too. Twenty-first-century afflictions include digital fatigue, social media burnout or compulsive internet use. Cures for these rising internet-related disorders include such radical solutions as rehab centers, or disconnection.

~ Antoine Lefeuvre from, https://alistapart.com/column/designing-for-post-connected-users-part-1/

Babauta’s take is from the Zen perspective of simply—as in: this is the only thing you have to do, and don’t overcomplicate it in the doing—creating space in your life. Lefeuvre’s is from a nuts-and-bolts perspective of facts and tactics.

I feel called quite often to take more time to reflect. I was going to write, “sit and reflect,” but it’s not quite always sitting. I believe this is also true for everyone else; some people are early on in their journeys and their need for reflection is small in total, but it is more than they are currently doing. With precious few exceptions, we could all use more time for reflection.

Do you have time for reflection built into your life?

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On a mission

When I arrived at the atelier, the canvas was blank and I simply began poking at making little pin-points of color. Poking just to see each little point. Sure, I avoided some entire areas of the canvas. That top-left corner didn’t interest me, but that area above the center caught my focus. Then my gaze wandered a few inches and I found I was putting points down in another, new-to-me, blank area. Day by week by month by year by decade I wandered up to the canvas. Curiously, I now realize I never looked each day at the canvas as I walked up—or walked away or simply past. I just headed to this atelier and— Although, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I thought it was a video game Arcade at one point, and it looked like a snowy ski slope too for a while, and I recall breaking waves and some sea smells. That’s… interesting. When exactly did I realize that this place is a true Atelier? Sure sure yes yes, the particular dots are still very [very!] interesting; the minutia seems fractal and the more closely I peer, the more interested I become.

But just the other day—although, it quickly became a couple weeks ago, soon to be a couple months, a couple years, a couple decades…

But just the other day I peered over my glasses and looked at the whole canvas for what might have been the first time ever. Holy shit, it’s a Georges Seurat painting of some afternoon on some island! I mean: The overall composition is so blindingly freakin’ obvious and banal that I’m tempted to chuck the whole thing as trivial— …until I pear closely and see all the infinitely intricately interconnected dots and—bam!— VERTIGO!

My vision is a world where everyone can flourish.

My mission is creating better conversations that spread understanding and compasion.

Will you join me?

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Thought and reason and law

If thought is something we share, then so is reason—what makes us reasoning beings. If so, then the reason that tells us what to do and what not to do is also shared. And if so, we share a common law. And thus, are fellow citizens. And fellow citizens of something. And in that case, our state must be the world. What other entity could all of humanity belong to? And from it—from this state that we share—come thought and reason and law.

~ Marcus Aurelius

Philosophy

Philosophers became insignificant when philosophy became a separate academic discipline, distinct from science and history and literature and religion.

~ From https://fs.blog/2012/10/freeman-dyson-on-philosophy-what-can-you-really-know/

Which is worth sharing just because it’s Freeman Dyson—I’m quoting a quote—in all his zany glory.

…but also, yeah. Why isn’t STEM today thought of as a branch of philosophy, (“love of truth” after all)? STEM degrees remain Ph.D.s, but beyond that vestigially appendix . . .

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Professional

This, in one sentence, is the difference between the laborer-for-hire and the entrepreneur. This is the Professional Mindset.

~ Steven Pressfield from, https://stevenpressfield.com/2017/02/tk-ths-job-n-shove-it/

Pressfield’s example—I’m always assuming you’ve clicked-thru and read—is oversimple: the factory worker. But that laborer-for-hire mindset is real. The shift required is real, and really difficult. Hard like: This is the air I’ve always breathed. …and I want to be a fish, so I need to grow gills, get in the water and learn how to swim in water without seeing the water—in the same way I used to be oblivious to the air. That is to say: Impossible.

Morning friends! How’s the air?!

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Instead of possibilities, I have realities

What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him? “No, thank you,” he will think. “Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done, and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy.”

~ Viktor Frankl

Note from future self

In a weekly team discussion, where we start with someone leading with a prompt, we were asked what we’d like to tell our past self if we could pass a note. My response was…

I think I’ll go with a short note intended to shake my foundations, rather than convey particular information. Presuming I’d be certain to believe the note was from future-me, please pass this note to ~18-year-old me:

There are no perfectly correct answers.
There are, however, perfectly wrong answers.

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Set a value

They take no notice of it because it has no substance and is not a visible entity, and therefore it is reckoned very cheap, or rather completely valueless. Annuities and bonuses men are very glad to receive, and hire their labor and effort and industry out to obtain them. But upon time no value is set; men use it as carelessly as if it came gratis.

~ Seneca

Microphones and the human voice

This is a well written article about the human voice, and how microphones really work in terms of capturing it. Even if you read this and plan to forget everything—you’ll come out *way* ahead when recording your and your guests’ voices.

https://www.dpamicrophones.com/mic-university/facts-about-speech-intelligibility

It’s full of insightful information, about the human voice:

…the voice chances spectrum in almost any other position than when we approach the speaking person with our ear – or microphone. Each position on the head or the chest has its’ own sound color – or timbre. For instance, the spectrum of speech recorded on the chest of a person normally lacks frequencies in the important range of 2-4 kHz. This results in reduced speech intelligibility. If the microphone does not compensate for this you should make corrections with an equalizer.

Important frequencies:

The important frequencies in non-tonal (Western) languages are illustrated by the diagram below. Here, the frequency band around 2 kHz is the most important frequency range regarding perceived intelligibility. Most consonants are found in this frequency band.

…and about what affects intelligibility in a reproduction of the voice:

A lot of research has been carried out in this area. In general, the results demonstrate that:

1. Optimum speech level is constant when background noise level is lower than 40 dB(A)
2. Optimum speech level appears to be the level that maintains around 15 dB(A) of S/N ratio when the background noise level is more than 40 dB(A)
3. Listening difficulty increases as speech level increases under the condition where S/N ratio is good enough to keep intelligibility near perfect

Furthermore, the 1-4 kHz frequency range should be “kept clear”. When, for instance, adding music as background for narration, a parametric equalizer cutting the music 5-10 dB in this frequency range will improve intelligibility.

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