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From User: ubernoir

Being "always on" is being always off, to something.

Looking for moments of peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life
Topic: Health and Wellness 7:51 am EDT, Jun  1, 2010

Douglas Adams:

One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about human beings was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious.

At first, Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months' consideration and observation, he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.

Alan Hall:

This is not daydreaming.

It's more purposeful. More productive.

It is the practice of stillness in the midst of the madding crowd.

W. H. Davies:

What is this life, if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare ...

David Foster Wallace:

Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find, and, in waves, a boredom like you've never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it's like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.

William Deresiewicz:

There's been much talk of late about the loss of privacy, but equally calamitous is its corollary, the loss of solitude.

Roger Cohen:

Being "always on" is being always off, to something.

Liz Danzico:

I need idle time in equal proportion to planned time; leaving time for the unplanned, and making sure there's enough time for a bit of nothing. It's this space that makes the planned more worthwhile.


Introspection means talking to yourself, and one of the best ways of talking to yourself is by talking to another person. One other person you can trust, one other person to whom you can unfold your soul. One other person you feel safe enough with to allow you to acknowledge things -- to acknowledge things to yourself -- that you otherwise can't.

Mark Pilgrim:

In the end, how many 25-year friends can you hope to make in one lifetime? How many do you really need?

Looking for moments of peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life

The Disadvantages of an Elite Education
Topic: Society 7:36 pm EDT, Jul 14, 2008

There is nothing wrong with taking pride in one’s intellect or knowledge. There is something wrong with the smugness and self-congratulation that elite schools connive at from the moment the fat envelopes come in the mail. From orientation to graduation, the message is implicit in every tone of voice and tilt of the head, every old-school tradition, every article in the student paper, every speech from the dean. The message is: You have arrived. Welcome to the club. And the corollary is equally clear: You deserve everything your presence here is going to enable you to get. When people say that students at elite schools have a strong sense of entitlement, they mean that those students think they deserve more than other people because their sat scores are higher.

From the archive, Tom Friedman:

Are Americans suffering from an undue sense of entitlement?

Somebody said to me the other day that the entitlement we need to get rid of is our sense of entitlement.

On the election:

In all his speeches, John McCain urges Americans to make sacrifices for a country that is both “an idea and a cause”.

He is not asking them to suffer anything he would not suffer himself.

But many voters would rather not suffer at all.

As a counterpoint, it is worth mentioning Open Courseware, but I suppose that is sort of like the difference between a concert and a concert CD. Especially if the concert in question is Woodstock, or the Beatles at Shea, or Bach's impromptu visit to King Frederick the Great of Prussia, as recounted by Hofstadter in GEB. Or perhaps Brian Moriarty's talk at GDC 2002, as compared to its transcript.

The Disadvantages of an Elite Education

Jihad is the new punk
Topic: Current Events 9:48 am EDT, Jul  6, 2007

... they have all experienced tensions in their personal lives, or were faced with deep and sustained crises of identity ...

... [they] frequently experience a tension between traditional [culture] ... and ... [contemporary] society. Extremism gives them an identity that allows them to rebel against both.

The op-ed author is right when he says, "None of this will be of much help ..."

Jihad is the new punk

Walled City
Topic: Current Events 8:45 am EDT, Apr 24, 2007

This op-ed may be OBE:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Sunday he was ordering a halt to construction of the wall around the Adhamiya neighborhood. And American officials, who did not immediately concur, indicated today they would go along with Mr. Maliki.

I had flagged this news in my Sunday NYT sampler. This is an op-ed in today's Washington Post; he's lamenting the short attention span theater that is the contemporary news media.

Meanwhile, back in Baghdad, we're building a wall. Actually, quite a few walls.


Basically, we're turning Baghdad into Belfast.

Mr. Robinson may favor the IRA analogy. Meanwhile, Iraqis are comparing themselves to Native Americans:

A doctor in Adhamiya, Abu Hassan, said the wall would transform the residents into caged animals.

“It’s unbelievable that they treat us in such an inhumane manner,” he said in a telephone interview. “They’re trying to isolate us from other parts of Baghdad. The hatred will be much greater between the two sects.”

“The Native Americans were treated better than us,” he added.

I don't know about that ... at least the Iraqi population isn't dying of "germs" ... (which is actually surprising, since most of them don't have regular access to clean water.)

For their part, the soldiers are comparing it to China:

The wall is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence. ... The soldiers jokingly call it "The Great Wall of Adhamiya."

Residents are comparing themselves to Palestinians:

Some Adhamiya residents have compared the wall to barriers erected by Israel in the occupied West Bank.

The reaction on the street was pretty clear:

Eighteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, history seems to be moving backwards here in the Middle East. More than a single wall of separation and suppression are now in demand for each country, once in the name of sects, and another time in the name of extremism and moderation, but always with the aim of redrawing maps.

Walled City

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