“Alive, a man is supple, soft; in death, unbending rigor. All creatures, grass and trees, alive are plastic, but are pliant, too, and [in] death all feeble and dry. Unbending rigor is the mate of death, and yielding softness, [the] company of life. Unbending soldiers get no victories, the stiffest tree is readiest for the ax. The strong and mighty belong to the bottom, the soft and yielding rise above them all.
The strongest is he that makes use of his opponent’s strength—be the bamboo tree which bends toward the wind; and when the wind ceases, it springs back stronger than before.
— Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee: Artist of Life
“There was once a man named Goldberg who wanted nothing more than to be rich. So each day he went the synagogue and prayed to God to win the lottery. This went on for days, weeks, months, and years, but Goldberg never won. Eventually, Goldberg was at his wit’s end. Praying to God, he said, “You have really let me down.” Suddenly the silence was broken and God responded in a booming voice, “Goldberg, you’ve got to help me out here. You could at least buy a ticket!”
— Tina Seelig, What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20
In 1981, Scottish geologist Douglas Dixon wrote a book about what creatures may evolve to look like 50 million years from now post humans. The book entitled entitled After Man, came with drawings of biomorphs to illustrate his vision.
Check out the ‘flunkey’ above, a flying monkey that glides like a squirrel.
From Evolution After Humans:
Imagine a game of biogeographical musical chairs in which penguins have evolved comb-like beaks to sieve plankton as whales do, rats have replaced the big cats as dominant carnivores, cats swing through the tropical canopy chasing monkeys, and monkeys glide on flaps of skin like flying squirrels. The book’s central idea is convergent evolution: that similar traits arise independently in different species, to perform similar functions in similar environments.
Let me put this in a simple linguistic formula: Mankind = manikin = mannequin. Like Plato’s demiurge or creator-deity in the Timaeus, the fashion designer takes the old rags of matter and forms them into something sublime. God is the great fashion designer in the sky and the fashion designers here on earth are his prophets, his true disciples: mortal portals to his immortal power.
— Simon Critchley, Memory Theatre
I can disagree with your opinion, it turns out, but I can’t disagree with your experience. And once I have a sense of your experience, you and I are in relationship, acknowledging the complexity in each other’s position, listening less guardedly. The difference in our opinions will probably remain intact, but it no longer defines what is possible between us.
— Krista Tippet, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living
On the rocks, of course. Write drunk, edit sober.
“The first draft of anything is sh*t.” Ernest Hemingway
And this is why humans want wings.
Video courtesy Elite Falconry. Check their Instagram feed for more.
Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. The seagull may intend to fly away, may decide to do so, may talk with the other seagulls about how wonderful it is to fly, but until the seagull flaps his wings and takes to the air, he is still on the dock. There’s no difference between that gull and all the others. Likewise, there is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place. Intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.
— Andy Andrews, The Noticer
Ziming Liu from San Jose State University has conducted a series of studies which indicate that the “new norm” in reading is skimming, with word-spotting and browsing through the text. Many readers now use an F or Z pattern when reading in which they sample the first line and then word-spot through the rest of the text. When the reading brain skims like this, it reduces time allocated to deep reading processes. In other words, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings, to perceive beauty, and to create thoughts of the reader’s own.
Read Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound
We are cultivating impatience, begetting callousness and ignorance. We need to go deeper. Huxley forewarned us.
“In coming to New Mexico, I had unexpectedly felt myself an alien—an immigrant—in my own country, and this lithic scatter reinforced this feeling. I was reminded that we Americans are interlopers on this continent; that we have built our great and towering civilization on the wreckage of a past that we know almost nothing about and can scarcely comprehend.”
— Douglas Preston, Cities of Gold
Technology isn’t bad. If you know what you want in life, technology can help you get it. But if you don’t know what you want in life, it will be all too easy for technology to shape your aims for you and take control of your life. Especially as technology gets better at understanding humans, you might increasingly find yourself serving it, instead of it serving you.
— Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
Beware that one of technology’s biggest threat is that it undermines your will so you will no longer want what you want. But you can reverse the stakes and like a hammer, use it as a tool for building the life you want.
Awakening is not a thing. It is not a goal, not a concept. It is not something to be attained. It is a metamorphosis. If the caterpillar thinks about the butterfly it is to become, saying ‘And then I shall have wings and antennae,’ there will never be a butterfly. The caterpillar must accept its own disappearance in its transformation. When the marvelous butterfly takes wing, nothing of the caterpillar remains.
— Alejandro Jodorowsky, Where the Bird Sings Best