Month: January 2017

I. 23-29/01/17; Muddled Energy

Thoughts from the train (Class 365, mostly). Genetics; variations on a theme; phenotype and genotype; the collective and the individual unconscious. We moderns want definiteness, clarity, precision from the world around us, but our lives are all muddled. More and more technology is available to provide clarity, but the human operator is overwhelmed. The technical capability is much more than we need to solve our simple problems. The more technology becomes available, the more focused we must be. Analogue technologies require an investment in time. They settle into your life as you adapt. It’s an organic growth. Paul Auster writes his novels by hand, types them out on a typewriter and then hands the copy on for digitization. Life does not open up with a swipe of the finger. Analogize you digital tools. You must not digitize your life. When something is easy, it’s a potential distraction. Nothing is valuable without engagement, agency, intention. A good watercolourist has faith: the mess of colour and water over penciled lines will develop and become whole. He sees …

Work or play?

Edited excerpt from Drinking with Proust (Leanpub) Image: Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Santeul by Gerard Edelinck, ca 1700. How should we balance work with play? Proust’s first novel Jean Santeuil is a young man’s exploration of life’s trade-offs. Proust’s character is buffeted by contradictory desires: should he get ahead in society or nurture his “little gift of poetry”? William Hogarth – Industry and Idleness, Plate 1; The Fellow ‘Prentices at their Looms. Quote from Proverbs 23:21, “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” Proust borrowed the name of his novel’s main character from history. Jean-Baptiste Santeuil (1630-1697) grew up in a well-off merchant family and joined a community of lay canons at St. Victor in Paris. His career was promising. He rose to the rank of subdeacon, which was a stepping stone towards a valuable priesthood. But Santeuil was not inclined to take the straight and narrow path. He discarded his robes and made a name for himself as an eccentric poet. People called him a “devil whom God …