Commonplace Links #1

Background to this experiment in link-sharing here.

Photo credit:  Buzac Marius

Photo credit: Buzac Marius

To kick things off, James Shelley wrote a helpful essay on the nature of sharing. Channeling Cicero, Shelley writes:

Nothing that is truly beautiful can be left unshared with another. It is in sharing and co-experiencing that the beautiful becomes manifest. Nothing worth possessing is worth having to oneself alone. It is only by partaking and participating in life together that joys and sorrows of life make any sense at all.

This sentiment is one of many reasons that pushed me to share more of the things that I'm thinking about. If I can do the work of integrating something into the hierarchy of my personal knowledge and at the same time share the opportunity of insight with others, that's a worthwhile effort. With that said, the moment these laudable ends are no longer the focus of sharing is the moment I reevaluate what I'm doing.

As we grind the gears of the new year, I found this dense essay valuable. While I didn't agree with everything in the piece, the closing paragraph resonated with me:

Accepting the fatality of our situation isn’t nihilism, but rather the necessary first step in forging a new way of life. Between self-destruction and giving up, between willing nothingness and not willing, there is another choice: willing our fate. Conscious self-creation. We owe it to the generations whose futures we’ve burned and wasted to build a bridge, to be a bridge, to connect the diverse human traditions of meaning-making in our past to those survivors, children of the Anthropocene, who will build a new world among our ruins.

Relatedly, this Wait But Why post is a heavy dose of perspective about how we spend our time:

It turns out that when I graduated from high school, I had already used up 93% of my in-person parent time. I’m now enjoying the last 5% of that time. We’re in the tail end.

I believe that we should spend our time carefully. One immensely valuable source of thought on how we spend our time is a writer I've followed for many years, a professor named Cal Newport. His approach to academic work has been very helpful to my life as a student. Recently, he wrote about a commmitment to living what he calls a "deep life," one that involves three key pieces: 1) training your ability to focus, 2) building your schedule around pockets of employing that focus on important work, and 3) respecting your attention. Read the post for how these elements might take form.

Finally, I can't help but share this wonderful blog post from my mother, writing from Malawi. I read it almost as mindfulness poetry. The title itself, "It was a quiet day...full of noises" is pure music to me.

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