Jaron Lanier :”It’s that manipulation engine that’s the problem. It’s not the smartphone”

Q: how much of why we should delete social media is inherent in social media versus how it’s been developed so far? Is there a way to isolate the good parts of social media?” You’ve talked about this.


Jaron Lanier : Yeah, I very strongly feel that we can isolate the good parts of social media which are very real and very true and just cut off and incinerate the bad parts, and the bad parts can be described very clearly as a manipulation engine. It’s the algorithms that are measuring you and then calculating what you should experience in order to change your behavior according to an algorithm. It’s that manipulation engine that’s the problem. It’s not the smartphone. It’s not the general idea of social media. It’s not the general idea of the internet. It’s none of those things. It’s really the manipulation machine. And that’s the thing that needs to be shut down.

Source :  https://www.recode.net/2018/7/27/17618756/jaron-lanier-deleting-social-media-book-kara-swisher-too-embarrassed-podcast


by Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

Nicholas Carr: “True freedom comes from accomplishing hard things, from being busy at some meaningful task in the real world”

Shank: I happened to be reading “Farmer Boy” by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my daughter while I was also reading “The Glass Cage,” and I was struck by a scene in which Almanzo, the farmer boy of the title, asks his dad why they slowly thresh the crops by hand on stormy days in winter, rather than hiring the threshing machine that would finish the job quickly. His dad says, “All it saves is time, son. And what good is time, with nothing to do? You want to sit and twiddle your thumbs, all these stormy winter days?” This book is set in the 1800s, when it was possible for a family farmer to make that kind of quality-of-life-over-efficiency choice. Is it possible to make such a choice in the modern world?


Carr: That’s a lovely passage – I wish I’d been aware of it while writing the book. It would have served well as an epigraph. It gets to the heart of one of my central arguments: that technology in general and automation in particular shape our experience of life and hence our sense of engagement and fulfillment. We’re often too quick to believe that if we’re “freed up” from hard work, we’ll enjoy life more, but the opposite often turns out be true. When things become too easy for us, we become self-absorbed and anxious. True freedom comes from accomplishing hard things, from being busy at some meaningful task in the real world. As I write in the book, “Automation often frees us from that which makes us feel free.” I do think that, for economic and employment reasons, it’s becoming harder for people to resist labor-saving technology. At the same time, though, we’re seeing young people getting involved in small-scale agriculture and various handicrafts, often using more traditional, less automated tools. So all is not lost. Resistance is not futile.

Source :http://mediashift.org/2014/11/nicholas-carr-glass-cage-automation-will-hurt-society-in-long-run/

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Vladimir Nabokov: “Only talent interests me in paintings and books”

Playboy: In terms of modern art, critical opinion is divided about the sincerity or deceitfulness, simplicity or complexity of contemporary abstract painting. What is your own opinion?


Nabokov: I do not see any essential difference between abstract and primitive art. Both are simple and sincere. Naturally, we should not generalize in these matters: It is the individual artist that counts. But if we accept for a moment the general notion of “modern art,” then we must admit that the trouble with it is that it is so commonplace, imitative and academic. Blurs and blotches have merely replaced the mass prettiness of a hundred years ago, pictures of Italian girls, handsome beggars, romantic ruins, and so forth. But just as among those corny oils there might occur the work of a true artist with a richer play of light and shade, with some original streak of violence or tenderness, so among the corn of primitive and abstract art one may come across a flash of great talent. Only talent interests me in paintings and books. Not general ideas, but the individual contribution.

Source :  http://reprints.longform.org/playboy-interview-vladimir-nabokov

Marc Norman: ” I like inventing people and putting them in settings”

Why do you write?


Marc Norman:  As to why I write, I used to say it was because I was incapable of anything else, which of course is a description of a compulsion–something that has power over you, something whose reins you don’t hold. But lately, I explain it more along the lines or the “making” stuff I mentioned earlier.  I think I like to make worlds and populate them.  You’re sort of God, and you’re sort of a miniaturist at the same time.  You can make up a world and you can design the door knobs they use.  I used to make model airplanes–all of us did when we were kids.  Most of my friends threw them together, sloppy, with great globs of glue, and then blew them up with firecrackers.  I worked for hours, painstakingly, on mine, getting books of pictures of the airplane or ship or tank in question from the library and adding details, tiny bits of things, rivet heads, all to the purpose of realism, which is another way of saying, the illusion of reality.  And I suppose I’m still operating along those lines.  I like inventing people and putting them in settings so finely drawn that the viewer, for some short period of time, forgets he or she is yoking at an artifice and thinks it’s real.  That’s my performance.  That’s my, for lack of a better word, magic.

There was a big spike of interest in science-fiction around the turn of this century.  In that incarnation, the themes weren’t galactic battles and aliens–they were ghosts, spiritualism, seances.  Somebody asked Joseph Conrad why he didn’t write a book in that genre, since it was so popular with the public.  He replied, “Because it would imply that the quotidian was not miraculous.”  That’s always rung a bell with me.  I find the lives we lead here, in our flawed world, endlessly fascinating.

Source : http://www.elisbergindustries.com/blog/email-interview2

Stan Lee:”We really are trying to make comics as good as comic can be made”

WHITE: Well, you’re getting more competition all the time, of course. New companies keep coming into the superhero field all the time. There are the Tower people … and Harvey Comics … Those are the most flagrant imitators. How do you feel in general about the imitators?


LEE: I wish they would peddle their papers elsewhere. The flattery kick — we’ve gotten over that years ago. We realize that we are rather popular now. We appreciate it. But the thing that bothers me … corny as it may sound … We really are trying to make comics as good as comic can be made. We’re trying to elevate the medium. We’re trying to make them as respectable as possible. We … our goal is that someday an intelligent adult would not be embarrassed to walk down the street with a comic magazine. I don’t know whether we can ever bring this off, but it’s something to shoot for. At any rate, we try to do this. Now when other companies come out, and they try to make their books seem like our book as if they’re all in the same class, the same milieu … and yet the quality is inferior, the art is inferior, the writing is inferior, the plotting is inferior. I feel this does nothing but hurt us. The adults who don’t read comics, but who … whose youngsters try to convince them that comics are really pretty good. You know, who may read ours and like them, say “Why don’t you read one? They’re really good.” And the people who are uninitiated but who have heard about comic and might want to pick up one of those imitations, look at them and say, “Aw, I knew it That fellow who told me comics are good is really an idiot. They’re as bad as they ever were.” In this way, I think we can be hurt by imitators.

Source : http://www.tcj.com/stan-lee-interviewed-by-ted-white-1968/


Zadie Smith: “I have to avoid all social media”

ELLE: You are a mother of two young children, and with not much help with childcare. Writing is a form of mental gymnastics, isn’t it? How do you do it? What are some of your preoccupations at the moment?


Zadie Smith: Both my husband and I write whatever it is we write between 9am and 3pm, school hours. Sometimes till 5pm, if I can find an ex-student to take those extra two hours. But that kind of help comes and goes—I don’t rely on it, otherwise I’m overcome with frustration. It’s my belief that even the freest, most single and childless writers rarely do more than four hours of intense writing a day. I do the same, but I just have much less spare time to waste. If I lose a day to Googling etc., then it’s really a problem because I have no slack, no extra time. The other essential part of my job, reading, is what really suffers. We try and read the moment the kids go to bed, and resist the pull of Netflix, but it doesn’t always work. In order to write, I cut out a lot of things: reading the newspapers, for example. I listen to the radio, because you can do that while cleaning. And I have to avoid all social media and most daytime emailing. But I have also absolutely given up on the idea of peace and quiet as being necessary to writing. I just don’t allow myself to think about that. I don’t go to writers’ retreats, and I really can’t imagine any more what it would be like to write from 9am to 6pm each day, or on weekends or during the summer. I work in the time I have.

Source : http://elle.in/culture/man-booker-nominee-zadie-smith-elle-interview/

“you’ll have an entire population growing up and going through life and just never really finding joy” -Simon Sinek on Millennials

Instant gratification. You want to go on a date? You don’t even have to learn how to be socially awkward on that first date. You don’t need to learn how to practice that skill. You don’t have to be the uncomfortable person who says yes when you mean no and no when you mean yes. Swipe right – bang – done! You don’t even need to learn the social coping mechanism.


Everything you want you can have instantaneously. Everything you want, instant gratification, except, job satisfaction and strength of relationships – their ain’t no out for that. They are slow, meandering, uncomfortable, messy processes.

And so millennials are wonderful, idealistic, hardworking smart kids who’ve just graduated school and are in their entry-level jobs and when asked “how’s it going?” they say “I think I’m going to quit.” And we’re like “why?” and they say “I’m not making an impact.” To which we say—“you’ve only been there eight months…”

It’s as if their standing at the foot of a mountain and they have this abstract concept called impact that they want to have on the world, which is the summit. What they don’t see is the mountain. I don’t care if you go up the mountain quickly or slowly, but there’s still a mountain. And so what this young generation needs to learn is patience. That some things that really, really matter, like love or job fulfillment, joy, love of life, self confidence, a skillset, any of these things, all of these things take time. Sometimes you can expedite pieces of it, but the overall journey is arduous and long and difficult and if you don’t ask for help and learn that skillset, you will fall off the mountain. Or the worst case scenario, we’re seeing an increase in suicide rates in this generation, we’re seeing an increase in accidental deaths due to drug overdoses, we’re seeing more and more kids drop out of school or take a leave of absence due to depression. Unheard of. This is really bad.

The best case scenario, you’ll have an entire population growing up and going through life and just never really finding joy. They’ll never really find deep, deep fulfillment in work or in life, they’ll just waft through life and it things will only be “just fine.” “How’s your job?” “It’s fine, same as yesterday…” “How’s your relationship?” “It’s fine…” That’s the best case scenario.

Source : https://scrapsfromtheloft.com/2017/01/09/simon-sinek-on-millennials/