Replied to iPhone 11 Pro Photography, Backup Strategies, Ursula Le Guin — Roden Explorers Archive

The New Yorker just published a piece on the rise of non-alcoholic beverages. I find this trend heartening. I’d love to see the drink-or-your-not-a-man culture of braindead masculinity nipped in the bud by this generation. I grew up on the edge of it. I’ve probably blacked out 50 times in my life. This isn’t something I recommend. I am wired to drink. I can drink 15 pints of Guinness, knock down 20 stiff drinks over the course of an evening. My genes love it, my body hates it. As other alcoholic-inclined folks will recognize, there is a line that is crossed in an evening and the alcohol becomes a feral fuel, non-negotiable, you simply can’t get enough of it, and more often than not, you pull others into your sad orbit of the binge.

Craig, I enjoyed your reflections on giving up alcohol. I have thought about it, but not sure that I want to. I am therefore left thinking about why.
Bookmarked Tiny Loops, Hold Me Closer — Roden Explorers Archive

Each time you load Instagram it’s entirely different. A place with no concept of time or continuity. It’s like being stuck at the bottom of a well with oil slicked walls. There is no end. No edge. No rhyme or reason to the order. Just keep scrambling up the stone walls like a squirrel. Try as you might, you’re forever down in the wet darkness of that infinitude of sweet, sweet content.

Craig Mod reflects on detaching and learning to live with boredom. He discusses the tiny loops provided by social media and argues that the web needs something different. Continuing on from his post in Wired, he argues that newsletters are one of those things. Mod also provides some interesting thoughts on comments and community.

Marginalia

Bad is being stuck in a “tiny loop” of the mind and body — a senseless series of actions that span minutes, hours, days, consume years, and add up to nothing or almost nothing, and that benefit (ideally: tranquility, growth, curiosity) no one but the company (in reality: engagement, ad views) who owns the container in which the loop takes place.

I find the tiny loop problem to be terrifying. Tiny loops tend to be perfectly designed to satisfy the id’s raw impulses. That raw id is great fuel for creativity. The concern I have coming back and feeling the loops again for the first time in a long time is: if you’re not careful, tweets and their ilk can burn all your fuel with nothing to show.

I think we’ll look back with shock on many “fundamentals” of the internet as it exists today. I’m still amazed that any private organization would allow unfiltered public commenting. I remained totally unconvinced of its benefits. Twitter, in this sense, is just insanity — an endless stream of public comment posturing and signaling and, largely, screaming. Dumb dumb. Basic ’net folly 101.

I believe there is a place for public comments, but the amount of energy required to nurture a positive community is beyond the means or desires of most institutions. And so most comment sections simply don’t provide a healthy place for conversation.

Repetition builds templates. Templates can be recalled and deployed later, once the asceticism is complete.