This place was the inevitable byproduct – waste product, even – of market forces, and the price that more prosperous parts of the country had secretly accepted as worth paying for the many other benefits that capitalism delivered to them. The problem was systemic.
I don’t suppose one needs to live a life of perpetual astonishment. After all it’s adaptive to forget. Our daily grind is perhaps easier to endure in a state of mild amnesia. Muscle memory sets in, routine takes over, and one day seems the same as any other. But days go by, the years hum along, and one can careen towards senility without being unduly startled by anything at all. Surely, there are times when we must be released from our moorings and free ourselves up to notice the peculiarities of everyday life.
Liam Heneghan on travel, at Aeon.co. Photo, the Liffey River, Dublin.
Brexit, which was supposed to be about “taking back control” from Brussels, has actually given a great deal of control to a Northern Irish party that no one in Britain votes for.
- Fintan O’Toole op-ed in the New York Times.
Belfast Castle, Belfast, Northern Ireland
“… we dont know how it is that we manage to talk. If I am talking to you then I can hardly be crafting at the same time the sentences that are to follow what I am now saying. I am totally occupied in talking to you. Nor can some part of my mind be assembling these sentences and then saying them to me so that I can repeat them. Aside from the fact that I am busy this would be to evoke an endless regress. The truth is that there is a process here to which we have no access. It is a mystery opaque to total blackness.
Cormac McCarthy: The Kekulé Problem: Where did language come from? at Nautilus.com
On the future of work, from Scottish Review:
“If the supply of ‘meaningful jobs’ does indeed start drying up because of increased automation, it will raise broader societal questions. In India and Scandinavia there’s already active discussion of moving to a guaranteed minimum income as a redistributive mechanism, but that alone won’t address the issue of the dignity of work, hence the attraction of a demagogue who promises to bring back ‘real jobs’. If those jobs don’t appear organically, we could find ourselves back to something that looks like Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration of the 1930s. Not just a guaranteed income, but a guaranteed job to go with it, and the promise of doing something worthwhile, rather than just being a benefits scrounger.”
The universe is lazy. People are lazy. From Farnam Street:
“Physicists use Occam’s razor, in the knowledge that they can rely on everything to use the minimum energy necessary to function. A ball at the top of a hill will roll down in order to be at the point of minimum potential energy. The same principle is present in biology. For example, if a person repeats the same action on a regular basis in response to the same cue and reward, it will become a habit as the corresponding neural pathway is formed. From then on, their brain will use less energy to complete the same action.”
Every five years a beech tree produces at least thirty thousand beechnuts …. It is sexually mature at about 80 to 150 years of age, depending on how much light it gets where it’s growing. Assuming it grows to be 400 years old, it can fruit at least sixty times and produce a total of about 1.8 million beechnuts. From these, exactly one will develop into a full-grown tree – and in forest terms, that is a high rate of success, similar to winning the lottery. All the other hopeful embryos are either eaten by animals or broken down into humus by fungi or bacteria.
- The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllben