Reading time: About 6 minutes, 1200 words.
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Words left unsaid

Every time I talk about this subject caring people ask if I am okay. I am right now, thanks for asking. Someday, sooner or later, I won’t be; that’s the way the disease works. When that happens, I’ll ask for help. Please join me in that promise.

~ Ken White from,

Every time I talk about this subject caring people ask if I am okay. I am right now, thanks for asking. Someday, sooner or later, I won’t be; that’s the way the disease works. When that happens, I’ll ask for help. Please join me in that promise.


Silence is exhilarating at first—as noise is—but there is a sweetness to silence outlasting exhilaration, akin to the sweetness of listening and the velvet of sleep.

~ Edward Hoagland

What lies in that space?

In person, I try to not talk about technology. This is simply because I've spent such a significant portion of my awake-time already doing so, that I'd like to talk about something else now… for the rest of my life, in fact. But technology comes up a lot. These Days® artificial intelligence comes up a lot too. Mostly (in both those cases and others) I try to sit back and simply enjoy learning more about the people I'm with at that moment.

We dramatically overestimate the threat of an accidental AI takeover, because we tend to conflate intelligence with the drive to achieve dominance. This confusion is understandable: During our evolutionary history as (often violent) primates, intelligence was key to social dominance and enabled our reproductive success. And indeed, intelligence is a powerful adaptation, like horns, sharp claws or the ability to fly, which can facilitate survival in many ways. But intelligence per se does not generate the drive for domination, any more than horns do.

~ Anthony Zador, Yann LeCun from,

This is an insight—I'm going to call it a "wedge"—that I'd not thought of. There is a conceptual leap between "is intelligent" and "will strive for dominance." For everyone I've heard speak about AI, the leap seems tiny, as if the one necessarily implies the other. But this wedge fits perfectly into that narrow space. In fact, it makes it really clear that there is a space between those two things. Interesting times.


There's a world of difference between insisting on someone's doing something and establishing an atmosphere in which that person can grow into wanting to do it.

~ Fred Rogers

RDF site summaries

…more commonly, Really Simple Syndication (RSS). If you don't yet know what RSS is: RSS is a calm technology.

Introducing a quarter-century-old technology as if it were novel might seem a little strange. But despite the syndication format’s cult following, most internet users have never heard of it. That’s unfortunate, because RSS provides everyday internet users with an easy way to organize all of their online-content consumption—news media, blogs, YouTube channels, even search results for favorite terms—in one place, curated by the user, not an algorithm. The answer to our relatively recent social-media woes has been sitting there all along.

~ Yair Rosenberg from,

Of course, the real problem is that we've all had the idea that "newer is better" broadcast at us for years. The Amish don't eschew all technology; rather, they're very particular and intentional about what technology they adopt. The Luddites didn't want to smash and rollback all technology; they were technically skilled workers who thrived via technology, but who had a specific bone to pick about a new technology.

In recent decades we've been fire-hose, continuously fed the idea of techno-optimism… except without the really critical part: one can't simply hew to, "technology is good." Technology is nothing more than a tool. There are excellent tools, poor tools, and all tools can be used for good or evil. It's the consideration we put into our decision to adopt or eschew a technology that matters most.


A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong.

~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

There is only discipline

I often mention the false sense of urgency that I experience. I have lots of ideas, sure, but it's more than the frequent appearance of those endless new opportunities. It's more so the sense that anything I'm already working on, I could do just a little bit better. There's a pessimistic paranoia that old, greying system administrators develop; they look both ways even when crossing one-way streets. All of that combines within me. I'm not sure if all that striving leads me to feel there's a scarcity of time and opportunity, or vice versa— I have a sense of scarcity, which leads to the sense of urgency and incessant striving.

Schopenhauer’s pessimism is based on two kinds of observation. The first is an inward-looking observation that we aren’t simply rational beings who seek to know and understand the world, but also desiring beings who strive to obtain things from the world. Behind every striving is a painful lack of something, Schopenhauer claims, yet obtaining this thing rarely makes us happy. For, even if we do manage to satisfy one desire, there are always several more unsatisfied ones ready to take its place. Or else we become bored, aware that a life with nothing to desire is dull and empty. If we are lucky enough to satisfy our basic needs, such as hunger and thirst, then in order to escape boredom we develop new needs for luxury items, such as alcohol, tobacco or fashionable clothing. At no point, Schopenhauer says, do we arrive at final and lasting satisfaction. Hence one of his well-known lines: ‘life swings back and forth like a pendulum between pain and boredom’.

~ David Bather Woods from,

For five months I've had a single sticky-note on my monitor which reads, "There are no miracles. There is only discipline." It's a strikingly clear guide star. I believe that a disciplined person knows not only when to strive, but also when to ignore an idea, when to pause for the time being, and when to rejuvenate.

Most often that sticky-note triggers my thinking about living a balanced discipline. I see the note (it's unfortunately only on my monitor, but should be added to the interior of my eyelids) and then I notice if I'm feeling harried, or if I'm striving… Why? Is this thing I'm doing, or that thing I feel I should be doing, actually urgent? And how—get clear here, Craig—did this or that even get to be the thing I'm doing, the thing on my radar, on my to-do list, on my to-should list… What would it be like, to simply be?