How was your week? Mine was alright (a bit crazy at work but in a good way). In my downtime I’ve been watching The Office, which I’ve never actually seen. (Don’t judge!) I’m watching the original UK one and then I intend to start on the US one. What show has been on your to-do list for ages?
For this week’s letter, I’ll be sharing how technology is changing our world, the cycle of creativity and the danger of casual threats.
The sword of technology
This week’s writing prompt for Write of Passage was to write about one way the world is changing. I’ve been noodling awhile on how technology introduces a layer of abstraction between us and the natural world. So I used the prompt to develop it further to how technology has more recently been restoring abstraction to our interactions with reality.
Thanks to Write of Passage I’ve been exploring adding more personality in my writing. I’m naturally playful, but I don’t think it shows up enough in my work and I want to change that. But since I felt this essay was more complex than usual, so I focused more on adding more specific and personal examples. You ever hear the quote by Mark Twain about how he wrote a long letter because he had no time to write a shorter one? Well, I think you also need more time to make things simpler and I hope the time I spent was enough.
Anyway, here’s the opening:
Technology makes so much possible—but at what cost?
When humans used the first stone tools to increase the force they could exert, or crafted the earliest footwear so they could go longer without hurting feet, it also meant their hands and feet weren’t directly acting on surfaces.
Fast-forward to today. The same masks that helped keep my patients and I safe through a global pandemic also hide the bottom half of my face.
Each of these things—stone tools, shoes, masks—is a form of technology, extending our capabilities, allowing us to do more, go farther, live longer.…
You can read the rest of the essay here: Technology is a double-edged sword.
The cycle of creativity
I sent this tweet in reply to a question by Craig Burgess about whether everything should be built in public or whether it was okay to choose to keep some things from everyone.
This was me riffing off an idea from CS Lewis that’s stuck with me ever since I read it. It’s from his Reflections on the Psalms and it’s too good to not share. (I did the bolding.)
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with.
I think creativity is exactly like that. You don’t have to share it with the world, no. But you have to share it with someone, or the cycle of creativity isn’t completed—it’s broken.
I saw this beautiful sunset on an evening walk earlier this week.
The Nigerian proverb for this week is about the danger of casual threats:
If you casually make threats in public, you will be held responsible for another’s action.