Dopamine in Daniel Deronda Show more
The opening of George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, besides being transcendently
beautiful, is about dopamine. Sound far-fetched? Dopamine wasn’t discovered
until 1957, whereas Daniel Deronda debuted in 1876. So what am I on about? The
opening sequence is about the relationship between desire, longing, suffering,
and addiction; in short, about the reward system. Wikipedia says that […]
I'm on a bus in London and a girl who can't be older than 12 is explaining the trolley problem and self-driving cars to her disinterested mother
I've previously thought about this question, whether there's a moral cost to indulging one's dislike or hatred for something through vitriol, how that weighs up against saving other people's time.
My recent thinking has been that it's hard enough to get the motivation to read/experience difficult stuff so better to err on the side of the (more difficult to write, as most of those writers note) positive review.
I've been thinking a lot about mastery lately. Mastering ideas, concepts, or skills, to reach a high level, or new insights.
I think of mastery per se as a worthy goal, but a friend has argued that it can indicate obsession or compulsion, and he thinks high-level mastery is sometimes pathogenic.
Do you have a view on mastery, whether good or bad? For the purposes of this question, let's say mastering that has a neutral impact on the world, like privately learning an idea or skill.
I'd never heard a convincing case for giving up caffeine, but this could be an interesting one. Has any habitual coffee drinker experimented with stopping? What were the effects? https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/how-caffeine-can-cramp-creativity
Technical question for writers Show more
Once you have a beat-by-beat outline for a story, what do you do?
I’m gonna spend more time strengthening mine, but is there anything specifically I should be looking for?
(Please boost for exposure if you can’t answer)
I'm listening to the (excellent) Audible collection of Alistair Cooke: "Letter from America." Found this one quite moving: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4gwT0zqn8VjFF0W9XXdnvfQ/william-kapell-1922-1953-5-november-1953
Exciting news for readers: US copyright freeze is about to end, meaning that every year going forward new classics will enter the public domain. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/29/books/copyright-extension-literature-public-domain.html
Top 10 Books I read in 2018 Show more
I've just begun my fiftieth book of the year, The War of Art, by Steven
Pressfield. Like the last book I read, I discovered it via Derek Sivers, who
reviewed it on his site. It's been an interesting read so far, on overcoming
one's own resistance to ambitious endeavours. It's inspirational, but so far
The Power of Talk: On Different styles of communication https://hbr.org/1995/09/the-power-of-talk-who-gets-heard-and-why #heyfeedfox
Enjoyed this (long) interview with Adam Curtis.
"They’re constantly playing back to you the ghosts of your own behaviour. We live in a modern ghost story. We are haunted by our past behaviour played back to us through the machines in its comparison to millions of other people’s behaviour. We are guided and nudged and shaped by that. It’s benign in a way and it’s an alternative to the old kind of politics."
"I could find it in my heart to wish that everyone who cut his coat by another man's pattern would find the result a crass failure. For originality does not lie down that road." — Dorothea Brande, Becoming a Writer, a beautiful writer herself
I wish I could write as beautifully as Elliott Smith, but I might have to settle for analysis of the military and maritime themes of Figure 8
Savannah shoulder raised a cheer
Coloring the sky with ash
Because they found some privateer
To sail across the sea of trash
Solutions to the problem of life Show more
I know. I have a tendency to write and think about relatively bleak subject
matter. So I want to change tack today and begin with something light and
frothy, a simple if-this-then-that statement. Here it is: If it is true that,
as the Buddha says, life is suffering, then having a child is one of …
[Continue reading Solutions to the problem of life
Californian in London. Linux sysadmin in a former life, now translating poetry, and trying to write about restructuring consciousness.
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