“I felt despair. The word’s overused and banalified now, despair, but it’s a serious word, and I’m using it seriously. For me it denotes a simple admixture—a weird yearning for death combined with a crushing sense of my own smallness and futility that presents as a fear of death. It’s maybe close to what people call dread or angst. But it’s not these things, quite. It’s more like wanting to die in order to escape the unbearable feeling of becoming aware that I’m small and weak and selfish and going without any doubt at all to die. It’s wanting to jump overboard.”—
The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
“…[W]orry about the value you produce, not just the money. America’s first great scientist, Ben Franklin, said “we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours”. So be happy and productive, don’t be evil, and be glad of an opportunity to serve others.”—
Peter Norvig’s Keynote Address at the U.C. Berkeley Computer Science
“How vulgar, this hankering after immortality, how vain, how false. Composers are merely scribblers of cave paintings. One writes music because winter is eternal and because, if one didn’t, the wolves and blizzards would be at one’s throat all the sooner.”—Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
“Droll thing life is - that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself - that comes too late - a crop of unextinguishable regrets.”—Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
Our baby was born today. Like new parents, we’re beaming with excitement to announce that Duolingo is now open to the world. We know, we’re biased, but we think she’s a beauty. Over the past six months, hundreds of thousands of beta testers have helped us refine the service. Many waited for…
Few things are better than free educational services. As Thomas Jefferson said, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
Thrice finished their farewell tour last night, but O’Brother stole the band’s encore for a tour prank before Thrice could say goodbye. Watch O’Brother cover Creed’s “Higher” below by clicking “Read More.”
“My friend said to me, "I think the weather’s trippy." I said, "No, man, it’s not the weather that’s trippy, perhaps it is the way that we perceive it that is indeed trippy." Then I thought, "Man, I should have just said, 'Yeah.'"”—Mitch Hedberg, Strategic Grill Locations
“…Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.”—
So I was playing with Spotify and noticed that this Elliott Smith song was his “Top Hit”. I thought it was odd (it’s a good song but he has more popular ones - namely anything from the Good Will Hunting soundtrack), but then realized that the overall #1 on Spotify is a song of the same name by Gotye. Hopefully he got some new fans out of it.
For the record, Eliott’s song is way better, but I’m pretty biased.