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Issue 17: Kalypso Allows Us to Care

and the ramifications of being attached to the written word!

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Ye Olde Newsstand - Weekly Updates

I don't just talk about AI and computers! Here's me wearing a pretty fun fit, and doing a small photo shoot in my office.

I Liked My Fit Today
a man in some clothes

And a new monthly trend I’m starting for the newsletter, the five (four this month unfortunately) books I read in the month of June 2023, along with some choice quotes! (borrowed idea from Cal Newport). My favorite book of the month was The Art of Doing Science and Engineering, narrowly edging out The Six Pillars of Self Esteem.

Books I Read in June 2023
books i read in june and some favorite quotes!

On My Nightstand - What I'm Reading

Being a writer is necessarily a solitary endeavor, divorced from quality time spent with others in favor of the pen and paper. however, solitude does not mean lonely! Writing is a very comforting tool, and I’m often pleasantly surprised by the words that emerge from my mind. Give it a whirl!

I don’t think most people would like my personality. There might be a few—very few, I would imagine—who are impressed by it, but only rarely would anyone like it. Who in the world could possibly have warm feelings, or something like them, for a person who doesn’t compromise, who instead, whenever a problem crops up, locks himself away alone in a closet? But is it ever possible for a professional writer to be liked by people? I have no idea. Maybe somewhere in the world it is. It’s hard to generalize. For me, at least, as I’ve written novels over many years, I just can’t picture someone liking me on a personal level. Being disliked by someone, hated and despised, somehow seems more natural. Not that I’m relieved when that happens. Even I’m not happy when someone dislikes me. (Location 246)

Quote from What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Even in the long lost era of microcomputers (1960s-70s), we’ll before personal computers or mobile phones, computers were heavily intertwined with the dolla dolla bills yall. These VC hype cycles birthed from the Valley (spearheaded by orgs like a16z) may seem recent, but they're really not!

I once asked a press agent for a computer company what was the reason for all this enthusiasm. He held a hand before my face and rubbed his thumb across his fingers. “Money,” he whispered solemnly. “There’s so goddamn much money to be made.” (Location 172)

If you think asking IT for Slack permissions is annoying, try asking people dressed like witch doctors to converse with the giant alien math machine in the back room of the office!

In the early days, computers inspired widespread awe and the popular press dubbed them giant brains. In fact, the computer’s power resembled that of a bulldozer; it did not harness subtlety, though subtlety went into its design. It did mainly bookkeeping and math, by rote procedures, and it did them far more quickly than they had ever been done before. But computers were relatively scarce, and they were large and very expensive. Typically, one big machine served an entire organization. Often it lay behind a plate glass window, people in white gowns attending it, and those who wished to use it did so through intermediaries. Users were like supplicants. The process could be annoying. (Location 128)

Quote from The Soul of a New Machine

Gardens is my current favorite book, I can't recommend it enough. I've long been inspired (and jealous of) people like Simon Sarris, who can find enjoyment from the tedious labor of the soil, and then convert the raw visceral experience of gardening into romantic prose.

Robert Harrison is a master at turn of phrase, and this book reads like honey! As a consideration for us urban technophiles, I feel similar about my website as a gardener might feel about their physical garden. The website has evolved seasonally, and it's fun to watch the organic growth of different ideas and themes throughout my posts and newsletters. I can trace phases of my thought processes through scanning my archive, like a archeological dig.

What Odysseus longs for on Kalypso's island-what keeps him in a state of exile there-is a life of care. More precisely, he longs for the world in which human care finds its fulfillment; in his case, that is the world of family, homeland, and genealogy. Care, which is bound to worldliness, does not know what to do with itself in a worldless garden in the middle of the ocean. It is the alienated core of care in his human heart that sends Odysseus to the shore every morning and keeps him out of place in the unreal environment of Kalypso's island. (Location 93)
Had Odysseus been forced to remain on Kalypso's island for the rest of his endless days, and had he not lost his humanity in the process, cess, he most likely would have taken to gardening, no matter how redundant such an activity might have been in that environment. For human beings like Odysseus, who are held fast by care, have an irrepressible repressible need to devote themselves to something. (Location 112)
For unlike earthly paradises, human-made gardens that are brought into and maintained in being by cultivation retain a signature of the human agency to which they owe their existence. Call it the mark of Cura. (Location 116)

Quotes from Gardens

Thanks for reading, and see you next Sunday!

ars longa, vita brevis,

Bram is a reader-supported published Zettelkasten. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you want to support my work, the best way is by taking out a paid subscription.