Welcome to the seventeenth edition of Ephemerata, a weekly-ish digest of links, ideas, learnings, and sounds that I think are worth sharing.
I’m doing this to stimulate discussion around what I find interesting, and also to share things before they disappear into the void of my journal.
The #BuildingSocialBridges salon yesterday was effervescent. I feel happy with how deep we were able to go, and grateful that the participants were so generous in sharing ideas. I encourage anyone who couldn’t make it to read the notes, as each person brought some special wisdom to the conversation. Here are some of my favourite ideas:
“[Creating connections is the core of being human—it’s so natural for children.]” — Alessandro
“[Prefer shared language over common ground.]” — Jeeva
“[Divided people may share smaller beliefs. People with similar conclusions may have surprisingly different values. A world where everyone agrees has no room for evolution. Unpack the belief into values and decisions to find common ground.]” — Jessica
“[Secular people do have faith (in the conversation, in the day getting better, in the world doing well, in human potential), so it’s not a big step to jump to spiritual.]” — Tristan
Brett Scott compares economic self-sufficiency with interdependency using Tarzan and Mowgli as metaphors (via @email@example.com):
[The Tarzan suite analyses from the fully-formed individual onward: the nodes make up the network. The Mowgli suite starts from interdependence and a child that needs to be cared for: the network makes the node.]
[The idea of passing a random stranger on the street did not exist in the past, as survival implied being part of tightly-knit groups.]
[Nation states are only about 5000 years old and have dissolved the boundaries between smaller collectives to create ‘the public’, which we are vaguely connected to, but do not know.]
[The image of ‘prehistoric wilderness man’ we consider today is a caricature. Primitive life was not ‘solo men creating shelter and hunting’ but intensely group-oriented collaboration, as can be seen in photos of indigenous tribes.]
[The myth of self-sufficiency assumes that interacting with others and trading is optional, as opposed to a mandatory means of survival.]
MAKING COMPUTERS FLEXIBLE
Alexander Obenauer’s Why is our thinking on computers so restrained? describes the inflexible aspects of apps, interfaces, files, and digital taxonomy. These are thoughts about how human-computer interaction could be more natural, and how to personalize the experience, from someone who is apparently building their own operating system.
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THE PURPOSE OF FRIENDSHIP
The School of Life produced a video framing friendship according to four different purposes: networking, reassurance, fun, and thinking. I find it useful as a way to notice when relationships don’t enrich us or fit into these purposes, to prompt finding more clarity about the connection. (via Vidhika)
‘BOY’ IS TROUBLE
Beau of the Fifth column talks about why the seemingly innocuous word ‘boy’ is avoided in the southern United States, and posts a breathtaking followup for someone asking advice on how to handle it.
THE SWEETER THE BERRY, THE OLDER THE HAND
I learned of a French expression ‘sucrer les fraises’, literally “sugar or sweeten the strawberries”, which refers to the tremor of an elderly person’s hands. Why? Because in order to enjoy strawberries, one needs to take a bowl of sugar and shake it gently from side to side, coating evenly to perfection before eating. (via Elisa)
All the following items can be accessed as a one-click playlist via Joybox without accounts or sign up—just open and play.
Chancha Via Circuito’s Bienaventuranza (2018) is an old favourite reverberating inside me the over last few days. I have never forgotten my first impression from hearing this years ago: the feeling of a wide-open space gradually expanding, physical heaviness (as if this were a solid object) created from sparse texture. This digital cumbia from Argentina has a certain rawness from traditional instruments and especially the voice, combined with natural ambience, and electronic sounds. (via Roberta)
Sam Gendel’s When I Am Laid In Earf from Fresh Bread (2021) pairs baroque harmony and voice-leading with a computer-generated voice on autotune. Hella eerie.
Nate Wood’s It’s Enough (2021 single) from the fOUR project is one person playing drums, bass, and synth in 5 meter, while singing, plus “recorded live in 1 pass with no overdubs, click track or pre-recorded backing tracks”. What else??
Maede Shafiie leads this group of five Iranian women playing tombak with hypnotic hand coordination.
More music in last week’s edition.
(I heart music)
I always love receiving music. Send me recommendations anytime, anywhere!
That’s all folks!
Feel free to reply and share any reflections you might have, or just say hello. Have a great week 🙂