“If you can’t draw as well as someone, or use the software as well, or if you do not have as much money to buy supplies, or if you do not have access to the tools they have, beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free and burns on time and empathy.”—Frank Chimero (via Instapaper)
“He’s sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends: A man who is secretly engaged in homosexual activity with others may exhibit feminine qualities when they get together in a group. In a sense, he has “let his hair down” and this will be seen in excessive back talk and speaking with one’s hands.”—Is My Husband GAY? | ChristWire
“Moral laws…execute themselves. They are out of time, out of space, and not subject to circumstance. Thus, in the soul of man there is a justice whose retributions are instant and entire. He who does a good deed is instantly ennobled. He who does a mean deed is by the action itself contracted… If a man dissemble, deceive, he deceives himself, and goes out of acquaintance with his own being. Character is always known. Thefts never enrich; alms never impoverish; murder will speak out of stone walls. The least admixture of a lie -for example, the taint of vanity, any attempt to make a good impression, a favorable appearance- will instantly vitiate the effect. But speak the truth, and all things alive or brute are vouchers, and the very roots of the grass underground there do seem to stir and move to bear your witness… In so far as he [is unethical], a man bereaves himself of power, of auxiliaries. His being shrinks… he becomes less and less, a mote, a point, until absolute badness is absolute death. The perception of this law awakens in the mind a sentiment which we call the religious sentiment, and which makes our highest happiness. Wonderful is its power to charm and to command. It is a mountain air. It is the embalmer of the world. It makes the sky and hills sublime, and the silent song of the stars is it.”—
Ralph Waldo Emerson, quoted at length in William James’The Varieties of Religious Experience. I happen to agree with Emerson that without exception, even among the sociopathic, moral justice effects internal punishments without regard for worldly circumstance, not for supernatural reasons so much as for the plain fact that love is what makes life worth living, and to act against love devalues the life you live immediately. A violent life, a selfish life, a superficial life might not reap material punishment in a lawless and imperfect world, but such a life will invariably lack what makes life worth living. A life without love is its own inexorable sentence, its own slow punishment.
Although I am not religious, this self-enforcing quality of moral law seems almost magical to me, as important and profound as the comprehensibility of the universe and the constancy of its laws. But it needn’t be: think of the wrathful, the malicious, the cruel, and ask yourself if you’d rather be one of them, however rich or powerful they may be. We intuitively recognize that their lives must be frenzied nightmares, twisted and deluded, and even if they can escape awareness of their immorality they remain pitifully precluded from the “highest happinesses” life can involve: love, devotion, courage, charity, compassion.
“If you love and serve men, you cannot by any hiding or stratagem escape the remuneration. Secret retributions are always restoring the level, when disturbed, of the divine justice. It is impossible to tilt the beam. All the tyrants and proprietors and monopolists of the world in vain set their shoulders to heave the bar. Settles forevermore the ponderous equator to its line, and man and mote, and star and sun, must range to it, or be pulverized by the recoil.”
Morality is typically considered a kind of restraint -you do not do what you want for either supernatural or abstract reasons- but it is really a kind of existential guide for those seeking happiness, particularly in the moral system of the Buddhist religion. It is not uncommonly suggested that in other religions, in which magical narratives admonish believers in lieu of arguments that morality yields the only real happiness, such stories and purported afterlives exist to persuade believers of what they cannot see with reason. Religion isn’t only for philosophers.
James quotes Voltaire as well: ”All comes out even at the end of the day, and all comes out still more even when all the days are over.” One great challenge of morality -particularly of forgiveness- in practice is remaining aware of time: of the temporal triviality of urges in comparison to the duration of regret, the weight of the present versus the vastness of the future and what Martin Luther King Jr. called the long arc of justice. In a culture obsessed with the present and with shallow successes, it is hard enough to think of the end of the day, let alone of “when all the days are over” and the material rewards of society are useless trinkets out of reach from the deathbed. But what Thomas Mann called “a mindfulness of death” reminds us: a life lived immorally is scarcely a life at all, whatever delightful dross might mask its meaninglessness.
Daniel Bogan’s interviewing the Flickr staff with the same questions he uses for The Setup. You can read my entire response here, but my favorite question is “What would be your dream setup?”. Here’s what I said:
We’re at a really fascinating point in hardware development right now, which makes it difficult to answer this question. My knee-jerk answer is that I want the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer combined with an iPad combined with the Cintiq combined with, you know, a Cray supercomputer or something else equally powerful.
The problem is, really, handwriting recognition; if you’ve ever tried to use the iPad with an external keyboard, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Switching from typing to writing or drawing and back is a fucking pain. Regular notebooks allow you to draw and write without changing your hand position, which doesn’t seem like a luxury until you try actually working on a tablet and then find you need to input text.
SJ may think that styli are inelegant, but the fact is, using a pen to write or draw on paper is both comfortable and easy; it’s just not as fast as typing. Most people are content with inputting data via a keyboard, and this makes sense for a lot of jobs: marketing, business development, finance, and programming, for example. But for the designers, there’s a big gap between starting the creative process and executing the product design *because* it’s much easier to sketch out your ideas on paper, with a pen, than a computer.
And this is unfortunate; in the future, we should have computers that allow us to keep contexts for different stages of product development. The iPad and ThinkPads are steps in the right direction, but they’re still awfully clumsy, which is why, in part, people criticize the iPad as a product for mere consumption.
I want a Moleskine that is a blindingly superfast computer. That’s my dream setup.