“As much as we complain about other people, there is nothing worse for mental health than a social desert. The more connected we are to family and community, the less likely we are to experience heart attacks, strokes, cancer and depression. Connected people sleep better at night. They live longer. They consistently report being happier.”—The secrets of the world’s happiest cities | The Guardian
“The security state isn’t a person, it’s people. There’s so many of them and they’ve been given leave to take so many liberties that they’ve managed to become the environment. Like a demented terraforming project, they’re sucking down our communications and we’re breathing their air. This is an ecological disaster and it demands an ecological response. We shouldn’t be protecting ourselves. We should be protecting each other.”—NSA-Proof Your Email! Consider your Man Card Re-Issued. Never be Afraid Again. — Weird Future — Medium
“So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information.”—George Orwell: Why I Write
“Accomplishment is unreliable. “Succeeding,” whatever that might mean to you, is hard, and the need to do so constantly renews itself (success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it), and there’s the very real danger that “succeeding” will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended.”—George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates - NYTimes.com
“In the era of the iPhone, Facebook, and Twitter, we’ve become enamored of ideas that spread as effortlessly as ether. We want frictionless, “turnkey” solutions to the major difficulties of the world—hunger, disease, poverty. We prefer instructional videos to teachers, drones to troops, incentives to institutions. People and institutions can feel messy and anachronistic. They introduce, as the engineers put it, uncontrolled variability. But technology and incentive programs are not enough. “Diffusion is essentially a social process through which people talking to people spread an innovation,” wrote Everett Rogers, the great scholar of how new ideas are communicated and spread. Mass media can introduce a new idea to people. But, Rogers showed, people follow the lead of other people they know and trust when they decide whether to take it up.”—Atul Gawande: How Do Good Ideas Spread? : The New Yorker
“Fleming saw the House of Rumour as the image of an intelligence service; we can know it now as an ancient vision of the internet. The haunt of credulity, rash error, empty joy and unreasoning fear. The world whispers stories to itself. This is what conspire means: to breathe with.”—The House of Rumour, Jake Arnott.
“The slow flow of corporate will carried me through long weeks of no thought. Lacking a will of my own, I hosted the urges of the organization. This happens very easily. You start by controlling your desires, then deferring gratification and before you know it you’ve lost the ability to want altogether. Other people want for you. Friends, employers, wives, children. I was a vessel for other people’s longing.”—The Red Men, Matthew De Abaitua.
“I can understand that people want to feel special and important and so on, but that self-obsession seems a bit pathetic somehow. Not being able to accept that you’re just this collection of cells, intelligent to whatever degree, capable of feeling emotion to whatever degree, for a limited amount of time and so on, on this tiny little rock orbiting this not particularly important sun in one of just 400m galaxies, and whatever other levels of reality there might be via something like brane-theory [of multiple dimensions] … really, it’s not about you. It’s what religion does with this drive for acknowledgement of self-importance that really gets up my nose. ‘Yeah, yeah, your individual consciousness is so important to the universe that it must be preserved at all costs’ – oh, please. Do try to get a grip of something other than your self-obsession. How Californian. The idea that at all costs, no matter what, it always has to be all about you. Well, I think not.”—Iain Banks: the final interview | Books | The Guardian
“The Culture itself represents an elegant absorption of, and therefore displacement of, one whole department of religious yearning. It offers, in effect, a completely secular version of heaven. With its sentient ships as omniscient as any pantheon of gods, and a lot more obliging and benign, and its vision of human nature uncramped from disease and hunger and oppression, and its rationalised equivalent to transcendence, it gives its inhabitants (and you as you read the books) all the pie in the sky they could possibly want; but transformed by being made wholly material, by being brought within the reach of human aspiration.”—Iain M Banks’ Universe | Rationalist Association
“Now you can relive the thrill of the time you went from your house to a coffee shop to your job to a sandwich place to the grocery store to your house to a friend’s house to a bar and then back to your house.”—TIME.com on The Foursquare Time Machine (actually quite good).
“I think efficiency in production processes is key to successful sonic exploration and expression. If one has to do extensive, non-essential computer programming and program navigating in the midst of a creative process in sound, it will definitely retard the sonic exploration process and absorb creative energy. This is because you are doing two distinct technical procedures simultaneously: programming the machine and sculpting a sound. Software as well as hardware should have all the basic system errors fully removed or dramatically reduced before the technology is put to market.”—Master Organism: A.J. Samuels interviews Gerald Donald – Electronic Beats
“Here comes the Royal Family now. The automobile has now stopped….
Oh, there’s the King — he’s stepping out, followed by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, nattily attired in a silver coat. Mr. King is now shaking hands with the King and introducing Mr. Queen to the King and Queen and then Mrs. Queen to the Queen and King. They are now proceeding up the steps to the well-decorated City Hall, the King and Mr. King together with the Queen being escorted by Mrs. Queen. The King has now stopped and said something to Mrs. Queen and goes to Mrs. Queen and the Queen and Mr. King and the Queen laughed jovially. The King leaves Mr. King and goes to Mrs. Queen, and the Queen and Mr. King follow behind…”—
From CBC Radio report of the 1939 visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Winnipeg, where they were greeted by Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Winnipeg Mayor John Queen and Mrs. Queen.
“The measure of (mental) health is flexibility (not comparison to some ‘norm’), the freedom to learn from experience … to be influenced by reasonable arguments … and the appeal to the emotions … and especially the freedom to cease when sated. The essence of illness is the freezing of behavior into unalterable and insatiable patterns.”—Sun Diver, David Brin.
“All of us that grew up under Thatcher were taught that it is good to be selfish, that other people’s pain is not your problem, that pain is in fact a weakness and suffering is deserved and shameful. Perhaps there is resentment because the clemency and respect that are being mawkishly displayed now by some and haughtily demanded of the rest of us at the impending, solemn funeral are values that her government and policies sought to annihilate.”—Russell Brand: Remembering Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Unmaternal National Matriarch (via notes.husk.org).
“Never before have human beings so benefited from membership in a sagacious, scientific, and increasingly virtuous civilization. Wisdom flowers and spreads… even as does silliness. Like the absurd assertion (repeated ad nauseam by left and right) that wisdom hasn’t grown! A damnable outright lie. This is a bona fide renaissance, threatening to make everything better, in all ways. A renaissance that must find every potentially lethal error and hence, ironically, benefits from endless criticism. Helpful, vigorous criticism—but not chic-cynical despair.”—Existence, David Brin
“In some people, a hedonic gratification pattern can be achieved simply by entering certain frames of mind. For example, the cyclical jolt from gambling can be a genuine addiction, requiring as much effort to break as cocaine or kicx. Habitual thrill seekers, video game potatoes, and Wall Street “wizards” have all been shown to follow similar patterns. Once aboard the roller-coaster, they cannot let go. One mild version can be seen in those riveted to spectator sports… and then there are the indignation junkies. People who regularly get high off self-righteousness and sanctimony. You know the kind—we all do.”—Existence, David Brin