robertogreco + thoreau   37

What It Takes to Put Your Phone Away | The New Yorker
"During the first few days of my Internet decluttering, I found myself compulsively checking my unchanged in-box and already-read text messages, and scanning the same headlines over and over—attempting, as if bewitched, to see new information there. I took my dog out for longer walks, initially trying to use them for some productive purpose: spying on neighbors, planning my week. Soon I acquiesced to a dull, pleasant blankness. One afternoon, I draped myself on my couch and felt an influx of mental silence that was both disturbing and hallucinatorily pleasurable. I didn’t want to learn how to fix or build anything, or start a book club. I wanted to experience myself as soft and loose and purposeless, three qualities that, in my adulthood, have always seemed economically risky.

“Nothing is harder to do than nothing,” Jenny Odell writes, in her new book, “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy” (Melville House). Odell, a multidisciplinary artist who teaches at Stanford, is perhaps best known for a pamphlet called “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Watch,” which she put together while in residence at the Museum of Capitalism, in Oakland. Odell investigated the origins of a blandly stylish watch that was being offered for free (plus shipping) on Instagram, and found a mirrored fun house of digital storefronts that looked as though they had been generated by algorithm. The retailers advertised themselves as brands that had physical origins in glitzy Miami Beach or hip San Francisco but were, in fact, placeless nodes in a vast web of scammy global wholesalers, behind which a human presence could hardly be discerned.

Like Newport, Odell thinks that we should spend less time on the Internet. Unlike him, she wants readers to question the very idea of productivity. Life is “more than an instrument and therefore something that cannot be optimized,” she writes. To find the physical world sufficiently absorbing, to conceive of the self as something that “exceeds algorithmic description”—these are not only “ends in and of themselves, but inalienable rights belonging to anyone lucky enough to be alive.” Odell details, with earnest wonder, moments in her life when she was reoriented toward these values. After the 2016 election, she began feeding peanuts to two crows on her balcony, and found comfort in the fact that “these essentially wild animals recognized me, that I had some place in their universe.” She also developed a fascination, via Google Maps, with the creek behind her old kindergarten, and she went to see it with a friend. She followed the creek bed, which, she learned, runs beneath Cupertino’s shopping centers and Apple’s headquarters. The creek became a reminder that under the “streamlined world of products, results, experiences, reviews” there is a “giant rock whose other lifeforms operate according to an ancient, oozing, almost chthonic logic.”

Odell elegantly aligns the crisis in our natural world and the crisis in our minds: what has happened to the natural world is happening to us, she contends, and it’s happening on the same soon-to-be-irreparable scale. She sees “little difference between habitat restoration in the traditional sense and restoring habitats for human thought”; both are endangered by “the logic of capitalist productivity.” She believes that, by constantly disclosing our needs and desires to tech companies that sift through our selfhood in search of profit opportunities, we are neglecting, even losing, our mysterious, murky depths—the parts of us that don’t serve an ulterior purpose but exist merely to exist. The “best, most alive parts” of ourselves are being “paved over by a ruthless logic of use.”

“Digital Minimalism” and “How to Do Nothing” could both be categorized as highbrow how-to—an artist and a computer scientist, both of them in their thirties, wrestling with the same timely prompt. (At one point, Odell writes, she thought of her book as activism disguised as self-help.) Rather than a philosophy of technology use, Odell offers a philosophy of modern life, which she calls “manifest dismantling,” and which she intends as the opposite of Manifest Destiny. It involves rejecting the sort of progress that centers on isolated striving, and emphasizing, instead, caregiving, maintenance, and the interdependence of things. Odell grew up in the Bay Area, and her work is full of unabashed hippie moments that might provoke cynicism. But, for me—and, I suspect, for others who have come of age alongside the Internet and have coped with the pace and the precariousness of contemporary living with a mixture of ambient fatalism and flares of impetuous tenderness—she struck a hopeful nerve of possibility that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Odell writes about the first electronic bulletin-board system, which was set up, in Berkeley, in 1972, as a “communal memory bank.” She contrasts it with Nextdoor, a notoriously paranoid neighborhood-based social platform that was recently valued at $1.5 billion, inferring that the profit motive had perverted what can be a healthy civic impulse. Newport, who does not have any social-media accounts of his own, generally treats social media’s current profit model as an unfortunate inevitability. Odell believes that there is another way. She cites, for example, the indie platform Mastodon, which is crowdfunded and decentralized. (It is made up of independently operated nodes, called “instances,” on which users can post short messages, or “toots.”) To make money from something—a forest, a sense of self—is often to destroy it. Odell brings up a famous redwood in Oakland called Old Survivor, which is estimated to be almost five hundred years old. Unlike all the other trees of its kind in the area, it was never cut down, because it was runty and twisted and situated on a rocky slope; it appeared unprofitable to loggers. The tree, she writes, is an image of “resistance-in-place,” of something that has escaped capitalist appropriation. As Odell sees it, the only way forward is to be like Old Survivor. We have to be able to do nothing—to merely bear witness, to stay in place, to create shelter for one another—to endure."



"My Newport-inspired Internet cleanse happened to coincide with a handful of other events that made me feel raw and unmanageable. It was the end of winter, with its sudden thaws and strange fluctuations—the type of weather where a day of sunshine feels like a stranger being kind to you when you cry. I had just finished writing a book that had involved going through a lot of my past. The hours per day that I had spent converting my experience into something of professional and financial value were now empty, and I was cognizant of how little time I had spent caring for the people and things around me. I began thinking about my selfhood as a meadow of wildflowers that had been paved over by the Internet. I started frantically buying houseplants.

I also found myself feeling more grateful for my phone than ever. I had become more conscious of why I use technology, and how it meets my needs, as Newport recommended. It’s not nothing that I can text my friends whenever I think about them, or get on Viber and talk to my grandmother in the Philippines, or sit on the B54 bus and distract myself from the standstill traffic by looking up the Fermi paradox and listening to any A Tribe Called Quest song that I want to hear. All these capacities still feel like the stuff of science fiction, and none of them involve Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. It occurred to me that two of the most straightforwardly beloved digital technologies—podcasts and group texts—push against the attention economy’s worst characteristics. Podcasts often demand sustained listening, across hours and weeks, to a few human voices. Group texts are effectively the last noncommercialized social spaces on many millennials’ phones.

On the first day of April, I took stock of my digital experiment. I had not become a different, better person. I had not acquired any high-value leisure activities. But I had felt a sort of persistent ache and wonder that pulled me back to a year that I spent in the Peace Corps, wandering in the dust at the foot of sky-high birch trees, terrified and thrilled at the sensation of being unknowable, mysterious to myself, unseen. I watered my plants, and I loosened my StayFocusd settings, back to forty-five daily minutes. I considered my Freedom parameters, which I had already learned to break, and let them be."
jiatolentino  2019  internet  attention  jennyodell  capitalism  work  busyness  resistance  socialmedia  instagram  twitter  facebook  infooverload  performance  web  online  nature  nextdoor  advertising  thoreau  philosophy  care  caring  maintenance  silence  happiness  anxiety  leisurearts  artleisure  commodification  technology  selfhood  identity  sms  texting  viber  podcasts  grouptexts  digitalminimalism  refusal  calnewport  mobile  phones  smartphones  screentime  ralphwaldoemerson  separatism  interdependence 
april 2019 by robertogreco
The Library is Open: Keynote for the 2018 Pennsylvania Library Association Conference – actualham
"So I am trying to think about ways in. Ways in to places. Ways in to places that don’t eschew the complexity of their histories and how those histories inflect the different ways the places are experienced. I am thinking that helping learners see how places are made and remade, and helping them see that every interpretation they draw up–of their places and the places that refuse to be theirs– remake those places every hour.

This for me, is at the heart of open education.

Open to the past.

Open to the place.

Open at the seams.

Open to the public.

PUBLIC

So there is our final word, “PUBLIC.” You know, it’s not that easy to find out what a public library is. I googled it in preparation for this talk. It’s like a public museum. It might be open to the public, but does that make it public? But you know, it’s not that easy to find out what what a public university is. For example, mine. Which is in New Hampshire, the state which is proudly 50th in the nation for public funding of higher education. My college is about 9% state funded. Is that a public institution?

I think we may be starting backwards if we try to think of “public” in terms of funding. We need to think of public in terms of a relationship between the institution and the public (and the public good) and the economics of these relationships can be (will be! should be!) reflective of those relationships, rather than generative of them. What is the relationship of a public library or university– or a public university library– to the public? And could that relationship be the same for any college library regardless of whether the college is public or private?

Publics are places, situated in space and time but never pinned or frozen to either. Publics are the connective tissue between people, and as Noble points out, corporate interest in the web has attempted to co-opt that tissue and privatize our publics. A similar interest in education has attempted to do the same with our learning channels. Libraries exist in a critical proximity to the internet and to learning. But because they are places, that proximity flows through the people who make and remake the library by using (or not using) it. This is not a transcendent or romantic view of libraries. Recent work by folks like Sam Popowich and Fobazi Ettarh remind us that vocational awe is misguided, because libraries, like humans and the communities they bounce around in, are not inherently good or sacred. But this is not a critique of libraries. Or in other words, these messy seams where things fall apart, this is the strength of libraries because libraries are not everywhere; they are here.

I know this is an awful lot of abstraction wrapped up in some poetry and some deflection. So let me try to find some concrete practice-oriented ideas to leave you with.

You know textbooks cost way, way too much, and lots of that money goes to commercial publishers.

Textbook costs are not incidental to the real cost of college. We can fix this problem by weaning off commercial textbooks and adopting Open Educational Resources. OER also lets us rethink the relationship between learners and learning materials; the open license lets us understand knowledge as something that is continually reshaped as new perspectives are introduced into the field.

We can engage in open pedagogical practices to highlight students as contributors to the world of knowledge, and to shape a knowledge commons that is a healthier ecosystem for learning than a system that commercializes, paywalls, or gates knowledge. And all of this is related to other wrap-around services that students need in order to be successful (childcare, transportation, food, etc), and all of that is related to labor markets, and all of that is related to whether students should be training for or transforming those markets.

As we focus on broadening access to knowledge and access to knowledge creation, we can think about the broader implications for open learning ecosystems.

What kind of academic publishing channels do we need to assure quality and transparent peer review and open access to research by other researchers and by the public at large? What kinds of tools and platforms and expertise do we need to share course materials and research, and who should pay for them and host them and make them available? What kind of centralized standards do we need for interoperability and search and retrieval, and what kind of decentralization must remain in order to allow communities to expand in organic ways?

I’d like to see academic libraries stand up and be proud to be tied to contexts and particulars. I’d like to see them care about the material conditions that shape the communities that surround and infuse them. I’d like them to own the racism and other oppressive systems and structures that infuse their own histories and practices, and model inclusive priorities that center marginalized voices. I’d like them to insist that human need is paramount. Humans need to know, learn, share, revise. I’d like them to focus on sustainability rather than growth; the first is a community-based term, the second is a market-based term. Libraries work for people, and that should make them a public good. A public resource. This is not about how we are funded; it is about how we are founded and refounded.

Helping your faculty move to OER is not about cost-savings. You all know there are much easier ways to save money. They are just really crappy for learning. Moving to OER is about committing to learning environments that respect the realities of place, that engage with the contexts for learning, that challenge barriers that try to co-opt public channels for private gain, and that see learning as a fundamentally infinite process that benefits from human interaction. Sure, technology helps us do some of that better, and technology is central to OER. But technology also sabotages a lot of our human connections: infiltrates them with impersonating bots; manipulates and monetizes them for corporate gain; subverts them for agendas that undercut the network’s transparency; skews the flow toward the privileged and cuts away the margins inhabited by the nondominant voices– the perspectives that urge change, improvement, growth, paradigm shift. So it’s not the technology, just like it’s not the cost-savings, that matters. It’s not the new furniture or the Starbucks that makes your library the place to be. It’s the public that matters. It is a place for that public to be.

Libraries are places. Libraries, especially academic libraries, are public places. They should be open for the public. Help your faculty understand open in all its complexity. Help them understand the people that make your place. Help your place shape itself around the humans who need it.:
open  libraries  access  openaccess  2018  oer  publishing  knowledge  textbooks  college  universities  robinderosa  place  past  present  future  web  internet  online  learning  howwelearn  education  highered  highereducation  joemurphy  nextgen  safiyaumojanoble  deomcracyb  inequality  donnalanclos  davidlewis  racism  algorithms  ralphwaldoemerson  thoreau  control  power  equality  accessibility 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Rebecca Solnit on a Childhood of Reading and Wandering | Literary Hub
"In the most egalitarian of European—and New Mexican—traditions, forests were public commons in which common people could roam, graze flocks, hunt and gather, and this is another way that forests when they are public land and public libraries are alike: as spaces in which everyone is welcome, as places in which we can wander and collect, get lost and find what we’re looking for.

The United States’s public libraries sometimes seem to me the last refuges of a democratic vision of equality, places in which everyone is welcome, which serve the goal of an informed public, offering services far beyond the already heady gift of free books you can take home, everything from voter registration to computer access. I’ve joked for a long time that if you walked up to people in the street and asked them whether we could own our greatest treasures collectively and trust people to walk away with them and bring them back, a lot of people would say that’s impossibly idealistic and some would say it’s socialist, but libraries have been making books free for all for a very long time. They are temples of books, fountains of narrative pleasure, and toolboxes of crucial information. My own writing has depended on public libraries and then university libraries and archives and does to this day. I last used a public library the day before yesterday."



"So let’s begin by recognizing that all this was—and in many moral ways still is—Coast Miwok land, before the Spanish came, before Spanish claims became Mexican claims, before this was considered to be part of Mexico, before it was part of the United States."



"Browsing, woolgathering, meandering, wandering, drifting, that state when exploring, when looking to find what it might be possible to find rather than seeking one particular goal, is the means of locomotion. I often think that hunter-gatherers must move a lot like this, seeking game or plant foods, flexible about what might show up on any given day. I was lucky that children were weeds, not hothouse flowers, in those days, left to our own devices, and my own devices led in two directions: north to the hills and the horses, south to the library."



"These linked paths and roads form a circuit of about six miles that I began hiking ten years ago to walk off my angst during a difficult year. I kept coming back to this route for respite from my work and for my work too, because thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking. Walking itself is the intentional act closest to the unwilled rhythms of the body, to breathing and the beating of the heart. It strikes a delicate balance between working and idling, being and doing. It is a bodily labor that produces nothing but thoughts, experiences, arrivals. After all those years of walking to work out other things, it made sense to come back to work close to home, in Thoreau’s sense, and to think about walking.

Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord. Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being wholly lost in our thoughts."



"Moving on foot seems to make it easier to move in time; the mind wanders from plans to recollections to observations."



"Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go…"



"Like many others who turned into writers, I disappeared into books when I was very young, disappeared into them like someone running into the woods. What surprised and still surprises me is that there was another side to the forest of stories and the solitude, that I came out that other side and met people there. Writers are solitaries by vocation and necessity. I sometimes think the test is not so much talent, which is not as rare as people think, but purpose or vocation, which manifests in part as the ability to endure a lot of solitude and keep working. Before writers are writers they are readers, living in books, through books, in the lives of others that are also the heads of others, in that act that is so intimate and yet so alone."



"Libraries are sanctuaries from the world and command centers onto it: here in quiet rooms are the lives of Crazy Horse and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Hundred Years War and the Opium Wars and the Dirty War, the ideas of Simone Weil and Lao Tsu, information on building your sailboat or dissolving your marriage, fictional worlds and books to equip the reader to reenter the real world. They are, ideally, places where nothing happens and where everything that has happened is stored up to be remembered and relived, the place where the world is folded up into boxes of paper. Every book is a door that opens into another world, which might be the magic that all those children’s books were alluding to, and a library is a Milky Way of worlds. All readers are Wu Daozi; all imaginative, engrossing books are landscapes into which readers vanish."
rebeccasolnit  2017  children  unschooling  deschooling  parenting  education  libraries  wandering  howwelearn  freedom  autonomy  forests  childhood  novato  california  learning  canon  publicgood  us  egalitarianism  democracy  socialism  thoreau  walking  cv  unknowing  uncertainty  woods  writing  howwewrite  books  literature  stories  storytelling  listening  reading  sanctuary  vanishing  nature  plants  wildlife  multispecies  morethanhuman  society 
april 2018 by robertogreco
On the Wildness of Children — Carol Black
"When we first take children from the world and put them in an institution, they cry. It used to be on the first day of kindergarten, but now it’s at an ever earlier age, sometimes when they are only a few weeks old. "Don’t worry," the nice teacher says sweetly, "As soon as you’re gone she’ll be fine. It won’t take more than a few days. She’ll adjust." And she does. She adjusts to an indoor world of cinderblock and plastic, of fluorescent light and half-closed blinds (never mind that studies show that children don’t grow as well in fluorescent light as they do in sunlight; did we really need to be told that?) Some children grieve longer than others, gazing through the slats of the blinds at the bright world outside; some resist longer than others, tuning out the nice teacher, thwarting her when they can, refusing to sit still when she tells them to (this resistance, we are told, is a “disorder.”) But gradually, over the many years of confinement, they adjust. The cinderblock world becomes their world. They don’t know the names of the trees outside the classroom window. They don’t know the names of the birds in the trees. They don’t know if the moon is waxing or waning, if that berry is edible or poisonous, if that song is for mating or warning.

It is in this context that today’s utopian crusader proposes to teach “eco-literacy.”

A free child outdoors will learn the flat stones the crayfish hide under, the still shady pools where the big trout rest, the rocky slopes where the wild berries grow. They will learn the patterns in the waves, which tree branches will bear their weight, which twigs will catch fire, which plants have thorns. A child in school must learn what a “biome” is, and how to use logarithms to calculate biodiversity. Most of them don’t learn it, of course; most of them have no interest in learning it, and most of those who do forget it the day after the test. Our “standards” proclaim that children will understand the intricate workings of ecosystems, the principles of evolution and adaptation, but one in four will leave school not knowing the earth revolves around the sun.

A child who knows where to find wild berries will never forget this information. An “uneducated” person in the highlands of Papua New Guinea can recognize seventy species of birds by their songs. An “illiterate” shaman in the Amazon can identify hundreds of medicinal plants. An Aboriginal person from Australia carries in his memory a map of the land encoded in song that extends for a thousand miles. Our minds are evolved to contain vast amounts of information about the world that gave us birth, and to pass this information on easily from one generation to the next.

But to know the world, you have to live in the world.

My daughters, who did not go to school, would sometimes watch as groups of schoolchildren received their prescribed dose of “environmental education.” On a sunny day along a rocky coastline, a mass of fourteen-year-olds carrying clipboards wander aimlessly among the tide pools, trying not to get their shoes wet, looking at their worksheets more than at the life teeming in the clear salty water. At a trailhead in a coastal mountain range, a busload of nine-year-olds erupts carrying (and dropping) pink slips of paper describing a “treasure hunt” in which they will be asked to distinguish “items found in nature” from “items not found in nature.” (We discover several plastic objects hidden by their teachers along the trail near the parking lot; they don’t have time, of course, to walk the whole two miles to the waterfall.) By a willow wetland brimming with life, a middle-school “biodiversity” class is herded outdoors, given ten minutes to watch birds, and then told to come up with a scientific hypothesis and an experimental protocol for testing it. One of the boys proposes an experiment that involves nailing shut the beaks of wild ducks.

There is some dawning awareness these days of the insanity of raising children almost entirely indoors, but as usual our society’s response to its own insanity is to create artificial programs designed to solve our artificial problems in the most artificial way possible. We charter nonprofit organizations, sponsor conferences, design curricula and after-school programs and graphically appealing interactive websites, all of which create the truly nightmarish impression that to get your kid outside you would first need to file for 501(c)3 status, apply for a federal grant, and hire an executive director and program coordinator. We try to address what's lacking in our compulsory curriculum by making new lists of compulsions.

But the truth is we don’t know how to teach our children about nature because we ourselves were raised in the cinderblock world. We are, in the parlance of wildlife rehabilitators, unreleasable. I used to do wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, and the one thing we all knew was that a young animal kept too long in a cage would not be able to survive in the wild. Often, when you open the door to the cage, it will be afraid to go out; if it does go out, it won’t know what to do. The world has become unfamiliar, an alien place. This is what we have done to our children.

This is what was done to us."



"If you thwart a child’s will too much when he is young, says Aodla Freeman, he will become uncooperative and rebellious later (sound familiar?) You find this view all over the world, in many parts of the Americas, in parts of Africa, India, Asia, Papua New Guinea. It was, of course, a great source of frustration to early missionaries in the Americas, who were stymied in their efforts to educate Indigenous children by parents who would not allow them to be beaten: “The Savages,” Jesuit missionary Paul le Jeune complained in 1633, “cannot chastise a child, nor see one chastised. How much trouble this will give us in carrying out our plans of teaching the young!”

But as Odawa elder and educator Wilfred Peltier tells us, learning -– like all human relationships –– must be based in the ethical principal of non-interference, in the right of all human beings to make their own choices, as long as they’re not interfering with anybody else. As Nishnaabeg scholar and author Leanne Betasamosake Simpson tells us, learning –– like all human relationships –– must be based in the ethical principal of consent, in the right of all human beings to be free of violence and the use of force. Simpson explains:
If children learn to normalize dominance and non-consent within the context of education, then non-consent becomes a normalized part of the ‘tool kit’ of those who have and wield power… This is unthinkable within Nishnaabeg intelligence.


Interestingly, the most brilliant artists and scientists in Euro-western societies tell us exactly the same thing: that it is precisely this state of open attention, curiosity, freedom, collaboration, consent, that is necessary for all true learning, discovery, creation."



"We no longer frame people as either “civilized”or “savage,” but as “educated” or “uneducated,” “developed” or “developing” (our modern terms for the same thing). But we retain the paternalistic attitudes of our forebears, toward our children and toward the “childlike” adults we find all over the world — a paternalism in which the veneer of benevolence is underpinned by the constant threat of violent force.

Control is always so seductive, at least to the "developed" ("civilized") mind. It seems so satisfying, so efficient, so effective, so potent. In the short run, in some ways, it is. But it creates a thousand kinds of blowback, from depressed rebellious children to storms surging over our coastlines to guns and bombs exploding in cities around the world."
education  unschooling  children  childhood  carolblack  attention  culture  society  learning  wildness  wild  wilderness  thoreau  ellwoodcubberley  williamtorreyharris  schooling  schools  johntaylorgatto  outdoors  natureanxiety  depression  psychology  wellness  adhd  mindfulness  suzannegaskins  openattention  miniaodlafreeman  paulejeune  wilfredpeltier  leannebetasamosakesimpson  consent  animals  zoos  nature  johannhari  brucealexander  mammals  indigenous  johnholt  petergray  work  play  howwelearn  tobyrollo  chastisement  civilization  control  kosmos  colonization  colonialism 
may 2016 by robertogreco
- Wonderful passage on NYC #centralpark designer,...
"Wonderful passage on NYC #centralpark designer, Frederick Law Olmsted’s views on nature in #rebeccasolnit’s book, #savagedreams. Olmsted viewed nature as part of society, whereas #henrydavidthoreau saw nature as a refuge from society. This very split epitomizes how the West conceives of what is “natural.” Solnit argues that people like Thoreau and Muir fetishized a form of nature that was pure and that it was waiting there to be discovered by the white man, which allowed them to believe their own narrative that they were the “first”. Olmsted conceives access to nature as a universal right and that it is not a first come first serve situation. I’ve been thinking about what is considered natural after watching #themartian when Matt Damon proudly says that he is the first to “colonize” Mars. What enabled the writers to use that word without any sense of the historical savagery associated with it? NASA is at once a symbol of scientific advancement and also a symbol of a Thoreau-esque view of nature - apart from us, to be discovered, and conquered. Whereas previous colonizers had to deal with human residents in Africa, North America, South America, Caribbeans, space colonizers don’t have to deal any life, making this the most ideal colonial experience.

#triciainreading thanks @hautepop for your pic that spurred me to pull out solnit’s book again!"

[on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/_4Q_zQt8OT/ ]
triciawand  rebeccasolnit  thoreau  fredericklawolmstead  johnmuir  landscape  naure  society  purity  socialengineering  space  openspace  publicspace  cities  urban  urbanism  centralpark  nyc  manhattan  culture  experience  earthmoving  refuge  solitude 
december 2015 by robertogreco
A MOOC is not a Thing: Emergence, Disruption, and Higher Education - Hybrid Pedagogy
[Note: this is a link-rich post, none of which are noted here.]

"A MOOC is not a thing. A MOOC is a strategy. What we say about MOOCs cannot possibly contain their drama, banality, incessance, and proliferation. The MOOC is a variant beast — placental, emergent, alienating, enveloping, sometimes thriving, sometimes dead, sometimes reborn.

There is nothing about a MOOC that can be contained. Try as they might, MOOC-makers like Coursera, EdX, and Udacity cannot keep their MOOCs to themselves, because when we join a MOOC, it is not to learn new content, new skills, new knowledge, it is to learn new learning. Entering a MOOC is entering Wonderland — where modes of learning are turned sideways and on their heads — and we walk away MOOCified.

“There is a relational aspect to learning.” There’s an invisible network (or potential network) underneath every learning community. The best MOOCs make the networks patent. The worst MOOCs are neutered, lost objects that float unabsolved in the ether as capital “L” Learning, abstract and decontextualized.

MOOCification: to harness (in an instant) the power of a nodal network for learning. Rather than creating a course to structure a network, MOOCification relies on nodes to power a learning activity (or assignment). MOOCification also refers to a pedagogical approach inspired by MOOCs that is unleashed in an otherwise closed or small-format course.

Chris Friend writes, in “Learning as Performance: MOOC Pedagogy and On-ground Classes”, “The promise of MOOCs lies not in what the format lets us do, but in what the format lets us question: Where does learning happen? What are the requirements of effective collaboration? How can assessment become more authentic? How much structure and direction are best in a classroom?” These questions stir and circle back upon themselves in endless repetition as we and everyone grapples with what the MOOC is and what it does. These are important questions, exactly the right ones at exactly the right time; but there’s a deeper one that underlies our conversation. The question that needs tending to now, as the furor around MOOCs builds to a roar.

Are organized attempts to harness learning always and necessarily frustrated? Does learning happen modally at all? Is learning the demesne of any institution, organization, or formal community; or does it happen regardless of these, unmonitored, unfettered, uncontrolled, and does the rise of the MOOC point to this? Have we created MOOCs, or have we just discovered them, emerging from their cave, where they’ve always lived? Is it, as Roger Whitson writes, that “there is nothing outside the MOOC”? Without threatening to spin into intellectual nihilism (or relativism), we need to worry for the entire enterprise of education, to be unnerved in order to uncover what’s going on now. And not now this year. But now exactly this moment. Because just this second something is awry.
True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed. ~ Tom Robbins

Pete Rorabaugh writes, “The analysis, remixing, and socially engaged construction of personally relevant knowledge — often happens when the institutional framework is disrupted, diverted, or left in the dust.” Many hackles are rightly raised by the ubiquity of this word “disruption”, and its implications for the business of higher education; but the best MOOCs do not deal in the bourgeois concept of disruption, they deal in a very real rupture that is confusing to us all. Something convulsive. A monstrous birth.

The MOOC is a dialectic. It invites us in with a curled finger, as sinister as it is salient.

Learning isn’t (and has never really been) in the hands of academics, administrators, institutions, corporations, Forbes magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s in the hands of Rosemary Sewart, and people like her. The ones who come fully alive to learning without being told when and where it’s going to happen, without being placed obediently on a board like a pawn. The ones who throw wide the classroom doors, who hack schooling, or learn by reflecting on the flurry of input in their everyday lives; as Rosemary says, “learning … where life happens.”
We are all schoolmasters, and our schoolhouse is the universe. To attend chiefly to the desk or schoolhouse while we neglect the scenery in which it is placed is absurd. If we do not look out we shall find our fine schoolhouse standing in a cow-yard at last. ~ Henry David Thoreau

While we’ve all focused our consternation on how MOOCs may take down the walls of the university, or how they may represent the MOOCDonalds of higher ed., we are missing the most important, and most frightening, potential of MOOCs. They force us to reconsider the very fabric of how we think about learning — its occurrence, emergence, habitat, and administration.

From August 12th to August 18th, 2012, Hybrid Pedagogy ran MOOC MOOC, a now infamous mini-MOOC, meta-MOOC, MOOC about MOOCs that garnered not only a good bit of attention for its efforts, but also built a lasting community that remains curious about emerging ideas of MOOCification, the place of mini- and micro-MOOCs, and the implementation of open learning environments in traditional higher ed. classrooms. As well, MOOC MOOC set a precedent for MOOCish conversations about MOOCs, and spurred us to think deeply about where online education is headed.

It would be easy to contend, at this early stage in their evolution, that every MOOC has been a MOOC about MOOCs — that every MOOC is a meta-MOOC, a MOOC MOOC. The early connectivist MOOCs pioneered by folks like George Siemens and Stephen Downes were, whether explicitly or implicitly, exploring the form, the pedagogy, and the process of MOOCs.

At the same time, we were unaware of anyone who had done a MOOC unflinchingly trained on the MOOC phenomenon. A MOOC that explored unhesitatingly — even a bit recklessly — the potential, pitfalls, drawbacks, and advantages of this approach to teaching and learning. MOOC MOOC aimed to expose all of us to the grand experiment of MOOCs by having us participate directly in that grand experiment, albeit in a concentrated, one-week format. (And there was mighty participation. Andrew Staroscik created this interactive graph of tweet volume on the #moocmooc hashtag.) Rather than a knee-jerk critical reaction to the march of the MOOCs, we encouraged participants to inhabit the MOOC, exploring its pedagogical potential as an exercise in discernment but not judgment.

For one week beginning January 6, 2013, MOOC MOOC will return for a continued examination of the MOOC phenomenon, now grown well beyond a rising surge into a more perfect storm. This new iteration, which we’re fondly (and absurdly) calling MOOC MOOC [squared], will inspect not only the broadened landscape of MOOCs (including Coursera’s swelling presence and for-credit bid, Udacity’s flash mob-style on-ground gatherings, and the rise of LMS-based MOOCs like Instructure’s Canvas.net), but also will turn the lens on itself, repurposing and remixing the original course and the conversations and artifacts that arose from within the course. MOOC MOOC will be housed once more within the Canvas LMS, fueled by the ongoing discussions of the MOOC MOOC community.

There is no good or evil inherent in a MOOC, only in what it will or will not unleash. We must stop thinking of education as requiring stringent modes and constructs, and embrace it as invention, metamorphosis, deformation, and reinvention. This is the territory of the inventor always, the territory of the pugnacious and irreverent. Learning in MOOCs should be cohesive, not divided, and it must happen multi-nodally. The parsing of learning that formal education has always relied on will give way to something, if not holistic, then simultaneous, distributed, alive in more than one place at a time. If the best MOOCs show us that learning is networked, and that it has always been, then learning is more rampant than we’ve accounted for."
mooc  moocs  seanmichaelmorris  jessestommel  2012  education  highered  pedagogy  highereducation  dialectics  learning  howwelearn  teaching  howweteach  udacity  coursera  canvas.net  chrisfriend  edx  moocification  networkedlearning  networks  rogerwhitson  tomrobbins  thoreau  rosemarystewart  hybridpedagogy  georgesiemens  stephendownes  connectivism 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Science Of Simplicity: Why Successful People Wear The Same Thing Every Day
"Have you ever thought about how much time you likely waste deciding what to wear in the morning? It’s probably made you late to school or work more times than you can count.

We waste so many precious moments concerning ourselves with frivolous details. An outfit will not change the world, it probably won’t even change your day.

This is not to say that fashion isn’t important, as it has an immense impact on culture and, in turn, the direction of society.

Indeed, fashion is where art, culture and history intersect. If we look at the 1960s, for example, the way people dressed was very much a reflection of the counterculture movement and the anti-establishment sentiments of the era.

Simply put, clothes can tell us a lot about sociology.

Yet, at the same time, we’ve arguably become an excessively materialistic and superficial society. Undoubtedly, there are greater things to worry about than clothes.

Similarly, as the great American author Henry David Thoreau once stated:
Our life is frittered away by detail.

…Simply, simplify.

In essence, don’t sweat the small stuff. Make your life easier by concentrating on the big picture.

Correspondingly, a number of very successful people have adopted this philosophy in their daily routines.

Decision Fatigue: Why Many Presidents And CEOs Wear The Same Thing Every Day

Whether you love or hate him, it’s hard to argue against the notion that President Obama has the most difficult job in the world. As the leader of the most powerful country on the planet, the president has a lot on his plate.

Regardless of what he does, he will be criticized. Simply put, he’s got a lot of important things to think about beyond his wardrobe.

This is precisely why President Obama wears the same suit every single day. Well, almost every day, we can’t forget about the time the Internet exploded when he wore a khaki suit. Although, that probably says less about him and more about us.

The majority of the time, however, Obama wears either a blue or gray suit. In an article from Michael Lewis for Vanity Fair, the president explained the logic behind this routine:
‘You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits’ [Obama] said.

‘I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.’ He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions.

As Stuart Heritage puts it for the Guardian, “Barack Obama has pared his wardrobe down to such a degree that he can confidently walk into any situation and make decisions that directly impact on the future of mankind.”

The president is not alone in this practice. The late, great, Steve Jobs wore his signature black turtleneck with jeans and sneakers every single day.

Moreover, Mark Zuckerberg typically wears a gray t-shirt with a black hoody and jeans when seen in public. Similarly, Albert Einstein reportedly bought several variations of the same gray suit so that he wouldn’t have to waste time deciding what to wear each morning.

This is all related to the concept of decision fatigue. This is a real psychological condition in which a person’s productivity suffers as a result of becoming mentally exhausted from making so many irrelevant decisions.

Simply put, by stressing over things like what to eat or wear every day, people become less efficient at work.

This is precisely why individuals like President Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein decided to make life easier by adopting a monotonous wardrobe.

Obviously, as these are some of the most successful and productive individuals in history, they are on to something.

Make Life Simple

Indeed, having a diverse collection of clothing is overrated. We waste so much time worrying about things that have no substantial consequences, and don’t even realize how easily we could change this.

This is exactly why President José Mujica of Uruguay rejects conformity and refuses to wear a tie, stating:
The tie is a useless rag that constrains your neck.

I’m an enemy of consumerism. Because of this hyperconsumerism, we’re forgetting about fundamental things and wasting human strength on frivolities that have little to do with human happiness.

He’s absolutely right. The vast majority of us are guilty of obsessing over material things. When it comes down to it, they bring no real value to our lives. True fulfillment is acquired by going out into the world and fostering palpable and benevolent changes.

Buying a new pair of shoes might make you feel more confident in the short-term, but it will not enrich your life in the long-term.

Undoubtedly, the world would be an extremely boring place if we all wore the same exact thing every day.

Yet, we might all consider simplifying our lives a bit more by reducing the amount of time we spend thinking about pointless aspects of our day. In the process, one might find that they are significantly less stressed, more productive and more fulfilled.

Life is complicated enough, don’t allow the little things to dictate your happiness. Simplify, simplify."
uniforms  clothing  fashion  minimalism  choices  2014  barackobama  stevejobs  markzuckerberg  johnhaltiwanger  uniformproject  josémujica  alberteinstein  glvo  thoreau  pesonaluniforms 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Gandhi’s Printing Press — Isabel Hofmeyr | Harvard University Press
"At the same time that Gandhi, as a young lawyer in South Africa, began fashioning the tenets of his political philosophy, he was absorbed by a seemingly unrelated enterprise: creating a newspaper. Gandhi’s Printing Press is an account of how this project, an apparent footnote to a titanic career, shaped the man who would become the world-changing Mahatma. Pioneering publisher, experimental editor, ethical anthologist—these roles reveal a Gandhi developing the qualities and talents that would later define him.

Isabel Hofmeyr presents a detailed study of Gandhi’s work in South Africa (1893–1914), when he was the some-time proprietor of a printing press and launched the periodical Indian Opinion. The skills Gandhi honed as a newspaperman—distilling stories from numerous sources, circumventing shortages of type—influenced his spare prose style. Operating out of the colonized Indian Ocean world, Gandhi saw firsthand how a global empire depended on the rapid transmission of information over vast distances. He sensed that communication in an industrialized age was becoming calibrated to technological tempos.

But he responded by slowing the pace, experimenting with modes of reading and writing focused on bodily, not mechanical, rhythms. Favoring the use of hand-operated presses, he produced a newspaper to contemplate rather than scan, one more likely to excerpt Thoreau than feature easily glossed headlines. Gandhi’s Printing Press illuminates how the concentration and self-discipline inculcated by slow reading, imbuing the self with knowledge and ethical values, evolved into satyagraha, truth-force, the cornerstone of Gandhi’s revolutionary idea of nonviolent resistance."

[via: https://twitter.com/complexfields/status/568156442240229376 ]
gandhi  printing  press  media  history  books  toread  2013  isabelhofmeyr  nonviolence  resistance  ethics  satyagraha  truth  truth-force  reading  writing  slow  newspapers  contemplation  reflection  projectideas  lcproject  openstudioproject  thoreau  self-discipline  information  slowjournalism  journalism  publishing  zines  howweread  howwrite 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Why Walking Helps Us Think - The New Yorker
"In Vogue’s 1969 Christmas issue, Vladimir Nabokov offered some advice for teaching James Joyce’s “Ulysses”: “Instead of perpetuating the pretentious nonsense of Homeric, chromatic, and visceral chapter headings, instructors should prepare maps of Dublin with Bloom’s and Stephen’s intertwining itineraries clearly traced.” He drew a charming one himself. Several decades later, a Boston College English professor named Joseph Nugent and his colleagues put together an annotated Google map that shadows Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom step by step. The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, as well as students at the Georgia Institute of Technology, have similarly reconstructed the paths of the London amblers in “Mrs. Dalloway.”"



"What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing? The answer begins with changes to our chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.

The way we move our bodies further changes the nature of our thoughts, and vice versa. Psychologists who specialize in exercise music have quantified what many of us already know: listening to songs with high tempos motivates us to run faster, and the swifter we move, the quicker we prefer our music. Likewise, when drivers hear loud, fast music, they unconsciously step a bit harder on the gas pedal. Walking at our own pace creates an unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of our bodies and our mental state that we cannot experience as easily when we’re jogging at the gym, steering a car, biking, or during any other kind of locomotion. When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down.

Because we don’t have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, our attention is free to wander—to overlay the world before us with a parade of images from the mind’s theatre. This is precisely the kind of mental state that studies have linked to innovative ideas and strokes of insight. Earlier this year, Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz of Stanford published what is likely the first set of studies that directly measure the way walking changes creativity in the moment. They got the idea for the studies while on a walk. “My doctoral advisor had the habit of going for walks with his students to brainstorm,” Oppezzo says of Schwartz. “One day we got kind of meta.”"



"Perhaps the most profound relationship between walking, thinking, and writing reveals itself at the end of a stroll, back at the desk. There, it becomes apparent that writing and walking are extremely similar feats, equal parts physical and mental. When we choose a path through a city or forest, our brain must survey the surrounding environment, construct a mental map of the world, settle on a way forward, and translate that plan into a series of footsteps. Likewise, writing forces the brain to review its own landscape, plot a course through that mental terrain, and transcribe the resulting trail of thoughts by guiding the hands. Walking organizes the world around us; writing organizes our thoughts. Ultimately, maps like the one that Nabokov drew are recursive: they are maps of maps."
walking  solviturambulando  exercise  creativity  life  ulysses  jamesjoyce  maps  mapping  vladimirnabokov  psychology  physiology  thinking  marilyoppezzo  danielschwartz  marcberman  memory  attention  urban  urbanism  stephendedalus  leopoldbloom  virginiawoolf  adamgopnik  mrsgalloway  thoreau  thomasdequincey  williamwordsworth 
september 2014 by robertogreco
BBC News - The slow death of purposeless walking
"A number of recent books have lauded the connection between walking - just for its own sake - and thinking. But are people losing their love of the purposeless walk?"
walking  thinking  2014  flaneur  wandering  charlesdickens  georgeorwell  patrickleigh  constantinbrancusi  thoreau  thomasdequincey  nassimtaleb  nietzsche  brucechatwin  wgebald  johnfrancis  fredericgros  geoffnicholson  merlincoverley  observation  attention  mindfulness  rebeccasolnit  finlorohrer  vladimirnabokov 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Something About How Steve Roggenbuck's Poetry Will Save the Internet
[See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Roggenbuck ]

"Twenty-six-year-old Roggenbuck, a self-declared “internet poet,” is the antidote. Since 2010 Roggenbuck has been an obsessive user of Twitter, Facebook and multiple Tumblrs, but his best work is his YouTube videos. In these videos, he spews hysterical riffs and one-liners of wildly varying comprehensibility to a camera he points at himself, usually to the backing of an exhilarating electronic soundtrack, usually somewhere beautiful outside.

His most popular video is "make something beautiful before you are dead." I first saw it two years ago on a friend’s Tumblr and I was struck by Roggenbuck's raw vlogger solipsism, which would be grating if it weren’t backed up by equally raw virtuosity. The video starts quietly. Roggenbuck's in a room, affecting a piercing nasal midwestern twang as he muses to the camera about how he's "going to find the best deal."

It's a parody of every boring YouTube video blog you've seen, which Roggenbuck sets up only to explode seconds later in a dizzying epiphany. Suddenly he's outside in the woods, still holding his camera, popping out from bushes, shouting "two words, Jackass: Dog the Bounty Hunter," swinging an enormous tree branch and berating a dead tree stump for not being alive. Roggenbuck appears to have just broken out from a dark basement where he'd been imprisoned from a young age, raised entirely on AOL chatrooms, reality TV and Monster Energy Drinks. He's exhilaratingly callous about his own body, holding his camera inches from face despite a pretty intense outbreak of acne, at times so excited by his own words that the camera jerks crazily up and down with every cheesy self-help exhortation. When Roggenbuck yells "Get me in control of ABC Family and I will fuck this country up" while sprinting through a drizzly field to a dubstep soundtrack you feel like you're watching neurons firing and forging strange connections in real time. It's a selfie of the soul.

As impressive as the video is the outpouring of adoration in comments under "make something beautiful before you are dead." Most YouTube comments are petri dishes of cutting-edge hate speech, but a community of ebullient Roggenbuck worshipers has turned his comments sections into a virtual self-help seminar."



"Steve Roggenbuck would horrify the Jonathan Franzens of the world. Poetry is supposed to be serious and introspective—the opposite of the superficial, buzzing, electronic hellscape that critics imagine the internet to be. According Roggenbuck’s own creation myth, he's a product of that polarity: As an MFA student, he began to focus on the internet after one of his instructors commented on his misspelled, dashed-off-seeming poems, "save this for your blog." (He dropped out of the MFA program.)

But "save this for your blog" isn't quite the insult an MFA professor might image. New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman (!) recently wrote about how poetry was once passed among networks of elites, "allow[ing] people both to discuss sensitive topics elliptically and to demonstrate their cleverness." Elliptical demonstrations of cleverness: Imagine what they would have thought of Tumblr! And the internet is more than just a staging ground—it's a huge source of inspiration and material for young artists, poets, technologists and writers.



Anyone who wants to understand the internet generation would do well to pay attention to Roggenbuck's oeuvre. It can be hard to get past Roggenbuck's aggressive naivety and goofy schtick, which can come across like the twee mirror to the strident net freedom diatribes of Wikileaks fanatics and hacktvists. You could say he's way too uncritical about the incentives embedded in the technologies he uses—created by huge corporations whose exact goal is to encourage the sharing he craves—and how that might negatively affect his work. But this is just to point out that are as many flaws in the the structures of the internet as there are in the people embedded in them. The best of Roggenbuck's work shows there's equally as much promise."

[See also: http://htmlgiant.com/author-spotlight/ultimately-beautiful-an-interview-with-steve-roggenbuck/

NC: Why did you drop out of your MFA program?

SR: i think if my life conditions were different, i never would have gone. i never had any illusons that it was going to magicaly transform my writeing, or that teaching was the perfect career fit for me. after undergrad i was in a long-term relationship, and we were planning to have a family in the next ~5 years. i felt like i needed to pursue a “career” that would bring in an income big enough to support a family. but i am also very stubborn about doing what i want with my tiem. i hate having a job, last year i maxed out my credit cards instead of getting a summer job. the mfa was kind of a compromise between what i really wanted (to be an artist all the time) and what was expected of me (standard middle-class career path)

i gained some things from my mfa experience.. i now have an acute awareness of what i don’t like about academic/lit culture, for exampel. i started fully embraceing my identity as an “internet poet” only after my workshop teacher left me a condescending comment on my poem, “save this stuff for your blog.” with my misspellings too, i was fueled by my teacher’s disapproval

i never really liked the progam too much, but when my long-term relationship ended, i felt like i finaly had other options. i could live with my dad for free (or with various friends, as i eventualy decided), or i could at least split rent with more roommates in a cheaper neighborhood, without bothering/disappointing my partner

also my school started grating on me in more fundamental ways this past fall. my core audience is not poets in academia.. so why should i be seeking feedback from (only) poets in academia? i would get comments from my teachers, for example discouraging my misspellings, and i would kind of just dismiss them because i know they arent realy my main audience. but if i they’re not my audience, why am i asking for their feedback in the frist place? the feedback ive gotten from friends online has been much more valuable" ]

[More: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/11/is-this-loud-youtube-loving-poet-the-bard-of-the-internet/281189/ ]
via:timmaly  steveroggenbuck  poetry  internet  twitter  socalmedia  mfa  youtube  writing  reading  spelling  teaching  learning  graduateschool  highered  highereducation  literature  jonathanfranzen  daveeggers  kennethgoldsmith  piotrczerki  youth  life  living  thoreau  waltwhitman  yolo  commenting  video  literacy  schooliness  creativity  education 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Thoreau 2.0 - XOXO Conference Talk
[video now here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eky5uKILXtM ]

"So what I had thought was a convenience [mobile phone and 24hr alerts] had actually been the foundation for a little pyramid of anxieties. It made me wonder what other stuff in my life was behaving that way."



"Surveying, at least, let him work outside and in the woods, but he was often working for people who wanted to cut down the forest he spent all his free time in.

There's a pernicious idea that comes out of startup culture called "fail fast". I've always been a big believer in failing slowly. When you're not in for the money, success doesn't come to you pre-labeled. It can look just like failure. Chasing money makes it easier, because then you can quantify success unambiguously. Otherwise, you may have a hard time telling the two apart.

You can work on a lot of projects, but you will only get a couple of opportunities to work on something long-term. So I would say pick those carefully, do things that are intrinsically rewarding, and be very loath to abandon them. And work that day job if you have to!"



"The best piece of advice Thoreau ever got was from Emerson, who told him to keep a journal. And Thoreau did, for decades, using it as a personal diary, a record of his botanical and scientific observations, and a kind of staging ground for his serious writing. He would go back and mine it years later for passages to use in his work.

I don't think everyone needs to keep a literary journal, but I think it's vital to keep a work diary, for three reasons:

First, because it's the only honest record of what you're thinking at the time. Your memory will lie to you, almost immediately, about what you thought was going to happen on any given day. The only way you can trust it is to write down your state of mind - what you're worried about, what you expect will happen. And then over time you can go back and look for patterns of thought that you might want to fix. Maybe you're always too optimistic, or maybe you choose to work with toxic people, or chronically underestimate what things will cost. Writing it down will help you understand your mental habits, and correct for them.

Second, a work diary helps you track what you're actually doing. It's easy to get lost in the weeds from day to day, but are you ever spending time working on the things you think are most important? Thoreau was mistrustful of trivia the same way he mistrusted complexity, its capacity to take over our lives and push out what we value. An honest work record will tell you what you actually did, and what you spent your time thinking about.

Finally, and most importantly, writing things down captures the details that you only glean from experience. The one thing separating me from the high-IQ theoreticians on a message board is the fact that I've actually been running a bookmarking site for four years. Experience is priceless, you can't get it except by doing it, so you want to be sure not to fritter any of it away, and document the details as they happen.

They can come in useful later in the most surprising circumstances."



"It's not our job, Thoreau argues, to fix the world. We may not have the time for that. But we can't cooperate with injustice. If the law compels us to do something wrong, we have to break that law.

This doctrine of non-cooperation with civil authority would have a powerful effect on Gandhi and Martin Luther King."



"I've come to believe that it's time for us to take a stand, and refuse to cooperate with this apparatus of secrecy. We've already seen Lavabit, in an act of great moral courage, throw away ten years of hard work rather than acquiesce to blanket monitoring of its users. But the fact that Lavar wasn't even able to give the reasons for shutting his project down, that we had to infer them from his silence, demonstrates the problem.

If anyone is going to refuse to cooperate, it is going to be small independent projects, not large corporations. "The rich man—not to make any invidious comparison—is always sold to the institution which makes him rich"."



"We should commit to giving legal, financial and moral support to anyone who refuses to obey gag order, or publishes a National Security Letter. The secrecy exists because the programs it cloaks can't withstand the light of day. One good, timely push will break them.

Whether or not you agree with me, I would urge you to read Thoreau's essay, and decide for yourself: where do you draw the line? What will it take to make you stop cooperating?"



"So Thoreau had all these people, mostly women, who silently enabled the life he thought he was heroically living for himself.

But a gentler, more generous way to look at it is this. If you live a life by your own lights, and follow your principles, maybe once in a while someone will come and bring you a basket of donuts. And it's okay to eat the donuts! They're delicious!

Thoreau said about his two years at Walden:
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Thoreau wrote this never having tasted any of traditional forms of success. He was thinking of a different, more fundamental kind of success, one that I wish for myself, and earnestly wish for all of you."
maciejceglowski  2013  xoxo  pinboard  philosophy  life  resistance  failure  success  money  protest  nsa  prism  ethics  law  legal  thoreau  maciejcegłowski 
september 2013 by robertogreco
Spring 2011 | The Walk Exchange
"Week 1: Intro, Beliefs in Walking
• Henry David Thoreau “Walking”
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1022
• Francis Alys. The Modern Procession
press release:
http://www.publicartfund.org/pafweb/projects/02/alys_f_release_02.html
video:
http://www.francisalys.com/public/procession.html
Interview with Alys (optional)

Week 2: English Rural Art Walkers
• Rebecca Solnit “The Shape of A Walk” from Wanderlust
• Richard Long essays from Guggenheim exhibition catalog by R.H. Fuchs
• Hamish Fulton
website http://www.hamish-fulton.com
Hamish Fulton radio interview
http://badatsports.com/2011/episode-282-hamish-fulton/

Week 3 : Urban Walking theory
• Michel de Certeau “Walking in the City” from The Practice of Everyday Life
• Guy Debord “Theory of Derive”
http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/2.derive.htm
Case Studies
Alex Villar “Alternative Access”
http://www.de-tour.org/post/4114141755/alternative-access
Villar interview with Simon Sheikh
• Vito Acconci “Following Piece”
http://hosting.zkm.de/ctrlspace/d/texts/01?print-friendly=true
“Following Piece” log
http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/acconci_followingtext.html
Homework
Do a short “Following Piece” of your own and document

break : day one of “Lah” feild trip (optional)
http://www.implausibot.com/coyote

Week 4: the Tour
• Lucy Lippard “The Tourist at Home” from On the Beaten Path
• Barnet Schecter from The Battle for New York
online walking tour guide for Schecter
read only “The Battle of Harlem Heights”
http://www.thebattlefornewyork.com/walking_tour.php
• Natalie talks to us about the Miss Guides http://themissguides.com/

Week 5: Other Lines
• Bruce Chatwin from The Songlines
• Lygia Clark “Caminhando”
http://www.lygiaclark.org.br/arquivo_detING.asp?idarquivo=18
Case Studies
• walk and squawk http://walksquawk.blogs.com/about_the_walking_project/
Guest walker: James Walsh author of Solvitur Ambulando

Week 6: Central Park
• Fredrick Law Olmsted Ch. IX from Walks and Talks of an American in England
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moa;cc=moa;rgn=full%20text;idno=AJQ8991.0001.001;didno=AJQ8991.0001.001;view=image;seq=00000084
• Robert Smithson “The Dialectical Landscape of Fredrick Law Olmsted”
Homework
• Janet Cardiff “Her Long Black Hair”"

[See also: http://walkexchange.org/ and
http://walkexchange.org/walks/walk-study/fall-2011/ ]

[Same here: http://walkexchange.org/walks/walk-study/spring-2011/ ]
walking  nyc  walkexchange  2011  thoreau  francisalÿs  rebeccasolnit  richardlong  hamishfulton  micheldecertau  guydebord  alexvillar  vitoacconci  lucylippard  barnetschecter  brucechatwin  lygiaclark  jameswalsh  fredricklawolmstead  robertsmithson  janetcardiff  readinglists  toread  urban  urbanism  rural  theory  derive  simonsheikh  songlines  dérive 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Orion - May/June 2013 - Page 18-19
"Mysteries of Thoreau Unsolved: On the dirtiness of laundry and the strength of sisters" by Rebecca Solnit

"None of us is pure, and purity is a dreary pursuit best left to Puritans."
rebeccasolnit  sisters  siblings  thoreau  activism  importance  2013  purpose  labor  work  writing  laundry  martinlutherkingjr  walden  abolitionists  history  picasso  michaelbranch  michaelsims  chores  purity  liberation  freedom  prison  mlk 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Bill Watterson's Speech - Kenyon College, 1990
"It's surprising how hard we'll work when the work is done just for ourselves. And with all due respect to John Stuart Mill, maybe utilitarianism is overrated. If I've learned one thing from being a cartoonist, it's how important playing is to creativity and happiness. My job is essentially to come up with 365 ideas a year.

If you ever want to find out just how uninteresting you really are, get a job where the quality and frequency of your thoughts determine your livelihood. I've found that the only way I can keep writing every day, year after year, is to let my mind wander into new territories. To do that, I've had to cultivate a kind of mental playfulness.

We're not really taught how to recreate constructively. We need to do more than find diversions; we need to restore and expand ourselves. Our idea of relaxing is all too often to plop down in front of the television set and let its pandering idiocy liquefy our brains. Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery-it recharges by running.

You may be surprised to find how quickly daily routine and the demands of "just getting by: absorb your waking hours. You may be surprised matters of habit rather than thought and inquiry. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your life in terms of other people's expectations rather than issues. You may be surprised to find out how quickly reading a good book sounds like a luxury.

At school, new ideas are thrust at you every day. Out in the world, you'll have to find the inner motivation to search for new ideas on your own. With any luck at all, you'll never need to take an idea and squeeze a punchline out of it, but as bright, creative people, you'll be called upon to generate ideas and solutions all your lives. Letting your mind play is the best way to solve problems."



"Selling out is usually more a matter of buying in. Sell out, and you're really buying into someone else's system of values, rules and rewards."



"But having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another.

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it's to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You'll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you're doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you'll hear about them.

To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble."

[illustrated: http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/blogs/browbeat/2013/08/27/watterson_advice_large.jpg ]
billwatterson  art  life  meaning  meaningmaking  living  1990  commencemtspeeches  thoreau  via:tealtan  creativity  leisurearts  playfulness  play  johnstuartmill  cartoons  comics  comicstrips  inquiry  thinking  thought  lifeofthemind  problemsolving  values  sellingout  expectations  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  soulownership  worth  subversion  eccentricity  success  achievement  salaries  money  artleisure 
april 2013 by robertogreco
The Most Dangerous Gamer - Magazine - The Atlantic
"Thoreau…“With a little more deliberation in the choice of their pursuits,” he proclaimed, “all men would perhaps become essentially students and observers, for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike.”

Blow clicked off the stereo and turned to me. “I honestly didn’t plan that,” he said.

In so many words, Loud Thoreau had just described Blow’s central idea for The Witness. Whereas so many contemporary games are built on a foundation of shooting or jumping or, let’s say, the creative use of mining equipment to disembowel space zombies, Blow wants the point of The Witness to be the act of noticing, of paying attention to one’s surroundings. Speaking about it, he begins to sound almost like a Zen master. “Things are pared down to the basic acts of movement and observation until those senses become refined,” he told me. “The further you go into the game, the more it’s not even about the thinking mind anymore—it becomes about the intuitive mind."
literature  narrative  taylorclark  miegakure  marctenbosch  interactivefiction  asceticism  storytelling  payingattention  attention  observation  noticing  intuition  myst  littlebigplanet  money  belesshelpful  fiction  jenovachen  flow  tombissell  gamedev  chrishecker  einstein'sdreams  alanlightman  invisiblecities  italocalvino  jonblow  deannavanburen  art  2012  thewitness  thoreau  srg  edg  videogames  gaming  games  braid  jonathanblow  if  cyoa  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Walden : Henry David Thoreau : Internet Archive
"Librivox recording of Walden by Henry David Thoreau Read by Gord Mackenzie."
librivox  audio  audiobooks  philosophy  classideas  1854  walden  thoreau  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Thoreau Problem | Rebecca Solnit | Orion Magazine
"If he went to jail to demonstrate his commitment to freedom of others, he went to the berries to exercise his own recovered freedom, the liberty to do whatever he wished, & the evidence in all his writing is that he very often wished to pick berries. There’s a widespread belief, among both activists & those who cluck disapprovingly over insufficiently austere activists, that idealists should not enjoy any pleasure denied to others, that beauty, sensuality, delight all ought to be stalled behind some dam that only the imagined revolution will break. This schism creates, as the alternative to a life of selfless devotion, a life of flight from engagement, which seems to be one way those years at Walden Pond are sometimes portrayed. But change is not always by revolution, the deprived don’t generally wish that the rest of us would join them in deprivation, & a passion for justice & pleasure in small things are not incompatible. That’s part of what the short jaunt from jail to hill says."
walden  selflessness  via:steelemaley  justice  revolution  change  2007  protest  imprisonment  civildisobedience  walking  berries  deprivation  freedom  rebeccasolnit  thoreau  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Happiness Takes (A Little) Magic | The Wirecutter
"I fear technology not because I think it's evil, but because it's too easy to start clicking and never stop…

Thoreau had to abandon work and friends to live simply, but he was not against it. He just had no choice at the time, given the technology at hand. I think we–and information workers like programmers, designers and writers especially–are capable right now of living a fantastic life that marries the wild vitality that Thoreau experienced at Walden with the better parts of civilized living. This is a life that Ted, if he were still in his cabin, could be envious of–if we could only muster the discipline to get away from the noise.

See, for the first time ever, the trade off between living a powerfully exciting life close to nature and adventure and having the basics of civilized, boring life are largely gone. We don't have to abandon civilization and our friends and our work and technology and run off into the woods to live a simple, powerful life."
2012  unabomber  tedkaczynski  slow  clayjohnson  informationdiet  infromation  xenijardin  mattrichtel  walden  thoreau  behavior  psychology  technology  happiness  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
High School Teaches Thoreau in the Woods : NPR
"The Walden Project is an alternative program focused on environmental studies and on the teachings of Henry David Thoreau, who did some of his best thinking outdoors at Walden Pond.

Life Consists with Wildness

Matt Schlein, a New York native, is 50 percent of the staff at Walden. After years teaching in a traditional high school, Schlein started a foundation that raised the money to buy the 260 acres that the Walden Project uses as its classroom.

Two or three days a week, Schlein drives through the farmlands around Vergennes, Vt., parks his well-used Toyota next to a 200-year-old barn, grabs some vegetables from a garden he maintains and walks nearly a mile through the woods.

On one school day in early January, Schlein gets to a spot where 19 students sit on a motley collection of old chairs and benches. Schlein starts to read from Thoreau's essay "Walking."…"
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  2008  pbl  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Walden: Introduction « Willowell Foundation
"student…is asked to distill this info & create a cohesive picture of the world. While it is undoubtedly true that many students have achieved success w/ this model, it is also clear that this model does not work for everyone. Creating a sense of one’s place in world, through education, is a highly individualized affair. To that end, it is important that we offer students a variety of ways to wrestle w/ the important questions of learning, where there is a natural thematic connection linking the fields of study. There is a historical precedence for this type of interdisciplinary education.

On the following pages, you will read about TWP…a model based upon this idea…each academic discipline is discussed & its relationship to the VT Framework of Standards is detailed…program itself is designed so these distinctions are blurred. While students will undoubtedly gain the skills in each academic discipline, these skills will be developed as part of a broader mode of inquiry."
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  pbl  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Outside In: The Walden Project Helps Students See the Forest for the Trees | Edutopia
"not school in the traditional sense. It is a community of 19 students & 2 teachers who use this former farmland for what the founder calls a "great, living template for education." They spend three days a week outdoors, through fall, bitter winter, and spring. On Tuesdays, for Field Sociology class and writing, the students visit government offices, nonprofit organizations, & other institutions in Burlington, a college town of 40,000 located 20mi away.

On Fridays, they work at internships in their areas of interest, such as Web design or photography.

Matt Schlein, who had taught English, drama, & psychology at VUHS for 6 years, founded the project in 2000 with a vision of authentic, student-directed learning based in nature. He created a small foundation, Willowell, and collected grants and donations to buy the 230 acres Walden Project participants call simply "the land" -- a swath of sloping fields spotted with woods & ringed by the Green Mountains."
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  funding  pbl  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
The Walden Project
"The Walden Project is an alternative learning program through Vergennes Union High School. It focuses mainly on science and literature while exploring the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. Walden encourages students to take their education into their own hands and make it their own."
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  pbl  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Amazon.com: Wanderlust: A History of Walking (9780140286014): Rebecca Solnit: Books: Reviews, Prices & more
"Walking, as Thoreau said and Solnit elegantly demonstrates, inevitably leads to other subjects. This pleasing and enlightening history of pedestrianism unfolds like a walking conversation with a particularly well-informed companion with wide-ranging interests. Walking, says Solnit, is the state in which the mind, the body and the world are aligned; thus she begins with the long historical association between walking and philosophizing. She briefly looks at the fossil evidence of human evolution, pointing to the ability to move upright on two legs as the very characteristic that separated humans from the other beasts and has allowed us to dominate them. She looks at pilgrims, poets, streetwalkers and demonstrators, and ends up, surprisingly, in Las Vegas--or maybe not so surprisingly in that city of tourists, since "Tourism itself is one of the last major outposts of walking." …"
rebeccasolnit  flaneur  walking  books  toread  history  pedestrians  philosophy  evolution  science  anthropology  culture  thoreau  waltwhitman  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Thinking about social objects – confused of calcutta
"And that’s part of the reason I share some of the things I do via twitter: The music I listen to. The food I’m cooking or eating. The films I’m watching; the books I’m reading; the places I go to. Sometimes what I share is in the immediate past, sometimes it’s in the present, sometimes all I’m doing is declaring my intent. Because, paraphrasing John Lennon, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

When we share our experiences of sights and sounds and smells, we recreate the familiar imaginary places we share with others. We use these digital objects as the seed, as one dimension of the experience to flesh out the rest of that experience. So we take the sound or image or location or even in some cases the smell, and we extrapolate it into a rich memory of that particular experience. Which is often a worthwhile thing to do, for all the people who shared that “imaginary place” with you."
imaginaryplaces  constructedreality  jprangaswami  socialobjects  estherdyson  lifestreams  twitter  facebook  flickr  linkedin  socialnetworking  internet  future  web  search  action  thoreau  nicholasfelton  visualization  communities  interaction  relationships  conversation  sharing  augmentation  folksonomy  hashtags  metadata  place  meaning  experience  context  sharedspace  sharedexperience  music  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Angela Ritchie's Ace Camps - Why We Travel - Pico Iyer
"We travel…to lose ourselves…to find ourselves…to open our hearts & eyes & learn more…to bring what little we can, in our ignorance & knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed…to become young fools again—to slow time down & get taken in, & fall in love once more…

…travel…is just a quick way to keeping our minds mobile & awake. As Santayana…wrote, “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, & it fosters humor.” Romantic poets inaugurated an era of travel because they were the great apostles of open eyes. Buddhist monks are often vagabonds, in part because they believe in wakefulness. And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end."

[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20110526050656/http://www.ritchieacecamps.com/why-we-travel-pico-iyer ]
picoiyer  travel  learning  identity  glvo  self  knowledge  tcsnmy  ignorance  slow  time  love  santayana  thoreau  ralphwaldoemerson  wakefulness  awareness  noticing  observation  familiarity  transformationcompassion  empathy  work  life  freedom  proust  language  camus  fear  disruption  odyssey  grahamgreene  dhlawrence  vsnaipaul  brucechatwin  samuelbutler  paultheroux  oliversacks  petermatthiessen  marcelproust  albertcamus  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Atlantic - There’s something surreal about The Atlantic using Tumblr’s “The Atlantic” theme, right?
"You have no idea how meta we can get. This whole Tumblr ecosystem really just exists in the daydream of a distinguished gentlemen musing on machinery in a cabin somewhere."
meta  theatlantic  tumblr  walden  thoreau  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Thoreau's Walden Is 156 Years Old Today, but Relevant as Ever - Science and Tech - The Atlantic
"In a country where so many gamely adopt the latest new gadget, we need our Thoreaus, not to stop the profusion of technology, but simply to remind us to use them well. There are spaces shot through our massively complex society to find "Simplicity! Simplicity! Simplicity!" by simply deciding to look for it.

Take another grave and important personality of the time, Abraham Lincoln. His views on technology, delivered in a series of speeches on "Discoveries and Inventions" in the years directly after Thoreau's Walden, were more positive. For Lincoln, technology did not debase humanity, as Thoreau would have contended, but it also wasn't a magical staircase leading to a better world under the label of Progress."
alexismadrigal  thoreau  technology  progress  simplicity  luddism  abrahamlincoln  walden  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Anarcho-primitivism - Wikipedia
"Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. According to anarcho-primitivism, the shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural subsistence gave rise to social stratification, coercion, and alienation. Anarcho-primitivists advocate a return to non-"civilized" ways of life through deindustrialisation, abolition of the division of labour or specialization, and abandonment of large-scale organization technologies. There are other non-anarchist forms of primitivism, and not all primitivists point to the same phenomenon as the source of modern, civilized problems."
activism  anarchism  anarchy  civilization  philosophy  society  sociology  politics  alternative  primitivism  luddism  deindustrialization  thoreau  derrickjensen  unibomber  theodorekaczynski  environmentalism  violence  technology  green 
may 2010 by robertogreco
The End of Alone - The Boston Globe
"At our desk, on the road, or on a remote beach, the world is a tap away. It's so cool. And yet it's not. What we lose with our constant connectedness." ... "DESCARTES, NEWTON, LOCKE, Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard -- they share the distinction of having been some of the greatest thinkers the world has known. They also share this: None of them ever married or had their own families, and most of them spent the bulk of their lives living alone. In his provocative 1989 book Solitude: A Return to the Self, British writer and psychiatrist Anthony Storr made a persuasive case for the value of deep, uninterrupted alone time. He found it in ample supply in the lives of not just philosophers and physicists, but also some of the greatest poets, novelists, painters, and composers."
technology  solitude  society  facebook  email  gmail  bogs  online  internet  connectivity  mobile  phones  twitter  slow  well-being  idleness  boredom  quiet  etiquette  missedconnections  anxiety  strangers  life  philosophy  thoreau  reflection  via:hrheingold 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects - Projects - Rolling Huts
"Rolling Huts are several steps above camping, while remaining low-tech and low-impact in their design. The huts sit lightly on the site, a flood plain meadow in an alpine river valley...The wheels lift the structures above the meadow, providing an unobstructed view into nature and the prospect of the surrounding mountains...an offset, steel clad box on a steel and wood platform...Living occurs not only in the 200 sq ft inside the box, but on the 240 sq ft of covered deck space...Interior...simple and inexpensive. Exteriors are no-maintenance materials...The raw nature of the materials responds to the natural setting. The huts are grouped as a herd: while each is sited towards a view of the mountains (and away from the other structures), their proximity unites them...The huts evoke Thoreau’s simple cabin in the woods; the structures take second place to nature."
homes  housing  design  sustainability  nomads  neo-nomads  mobility  thoreau  architecture  cabins 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Walden - Wikisource
Walden / Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau in full online
waldin  thoreau  books  simplicity  literature  nature 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Torontoist: Humber; Or, Life in the Woods
"This year, a more cryptic stencil has appeared on the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, boldly proclaiming "ISBN 486-28495-6" for all to see and ponder. This International Standard Book Number turns out to be a paperback edition of Henry David Thoreau's Walden; Or
isbn  books  thoreau  graffiti  streetart 
april 2008 by robertogreco
PULPHOPE: THOREAU
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practive resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdy and Spartan-like as to put a rout to all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."
quotes  thoreau  living  simplicity  philosophy  nature  lifestyle  yearoff  glvo  cv  gamechanging 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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