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You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine. Bennett, The Light in the Heart. You have different talents and abilities. And most important, you should always remind yourself that you don't have to do what everyone else is doing and have a responsibility to develop the talents you have been given.

She told me survival is a talent. That doesn't give you the right to deny any sense they might make. Nor does it give you a right to accuse someone of poorly expressing their beliefs just because you don't like what they are saying. Learn to recognize good writing when you read it, even if it means overcoming your pride and opening your mind beyond what is comfortable.

What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he'll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels.


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A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar. Art consists of the persistence of memory. There is something that you can do better than anyone else in the whole world--and for every unique talent and unique expression of that talent, there are also unique needs. When these needs are matched with the creative expression of your talent, that is the spark that creates affluence. Expressing your talents to fulfill needs creates unlimited wealth and abundance. Unfortunately, extraordinary people rarely fit in.

You can do something extraordinary, and something that a lot of people can't do.

The Atlantic Crossword

No place is any more or less the centre of the world than any other anymore. As people who once sensed that they inhabited the intellectual margins of the contemporary world simply because of the nature of geo-political arrangements, we know that nothing can be quite as debilitating as the constant production of proof of one's significance. The Internet has changed this one fact comprehensively. The significance, worth or import of one's statements is no longer automatically tied to the physical facts of one's location along a still unequal geo-political map.

While this does not mean that as artists, intellectuals or creative practitioners we stop considering or attending to our anchorage in specific co-ordinates of actual physical locations, what it does mean is that we understand that the concrete fact of our physical place in the world is striated by the location's transmitting and receiving capacities, which turns everything we choose to create into either a weak or a strong signal. We are aware that these signals go out, not just to those we know and to those who know us, but to the rest of the world, through possibly endless relays and loops.

This changes our understanding of the public for our work. We cannot view our public any longer as being arrayed along familiar and predictable lines. The public for our work, for any work that positions itself anywhere vis-a-vis the global digital commons is now a set of concentric and overlapping circles, arranged along the ripples produced by pebbles thrown into the fluid mass of the Internet.

Artists have to think differently about their work in the time of the Internet because artistic work resonates differently, and at different amplitudes. More often than not, we are talking to strangers on intimate terms, even when we are not aware of the actual instances of communication. This process also has its mirror. We are also listening to strangers all the time. Nothing that takes place anywhere in the world and is communicated on the Internet is at a remove any longer.

Just as everyone on the Internet is a potential recipient and transmitter of our signals, we too are stations for the reception and relay of other people's messages. This constancy of connection to the nervous systems of billions of others comes with its own consequences. No one can be immune to the storms that shake the world today. What happens down our streets becomes as present in our lives as what happens down our modems. This makes us present in vital and existential ways to what might be happening at great distance, but it also brings with it the possibility of a disconnect with what is happening around us, or near us, if they happen not to be online.

This is especially true of things and people that drop out, or are forced to drop out of the network, or are in any way compelled not to be present online.

Albrecht's Four Types of Stress

This foreshortening and occasionally magnification of distances and compression of time compels us to think in a more nuanced way about attention. Attention is no longer a simple function of things that are available for the regard of our senses. With everything that comes to our attention we have to now ask - 'what obstacles did it have to cross to traverse the threshold of our considerations' - and while asking this we have to understand that obstacles to attention are no longer a function of distance.

The Internet also alters our perception of duration. Sometimes, when working on an obstinately analog process such as the actual fabrication of an object, the internalized shadow of fleeting Internet time in our consciousness makes us perceive how the inevitable delays inherent in the fashioning of things in all their messy 'thingness' ground us into appreciating the rhythms of the real world. In this way, the Internet's pervasive co-presence with real world processes, ends up reminding us of the fact that our experience of duration is now a layered thing.

We now have more than one clock, running in more than one direction, at more than one speeds. The simultaneous availability of different registers of time made manifest by the Internet also creates a continuous archive of our online presences and inscriptions. A message is archived as soon as it is sent. The everyday generation of an internal archive of our work, and the public archive of our utterances on online discussion lists and on facebook mean that nothing not even a throwaway observation is a throwaway observation anymore.

We are all accountable to, and for, the things we have written in emails or posted on online fora.

We are yet to get a full sense of what this actually implies in the longer term. The automatic generation of a chronicle and a history colours the destiny of all statements. Nothing can be consigned to amnesia, even though it may appear to be insignificant. Conversely, no matter how important a statement may have appeared when it was first uttered, its significance is compromised by the fact that it is ultimately filed away as just another datum, a pebble, in a growing mountain range.

Whosoever maintains an archive of their practice online is aware of the fact that they alter the terms of their visibility. Earlier, one assumed invisibility to be the default mode of life and practice. Today, visibility is the default mode, and one has to make a special effort to withhold any aspect of one's practice from visibility. This changes the way we think about the relationship between the private memory and public presence of a practice. It is not a matter of whether this leads to a loss of privacy or an erosion of spaces for intimacy, it is just that issues such as privacy, intimacy, publicity, inclusion and seclusion are now inflected very differently.

Finally, the Internet changes the way we think about information. The fact that we do not know something that exists in the extant expansive commons of human knowledge can no longer intimidate us into reticence. If we do not know something, someone else does, and there are enough ways around the commons of the Internet that enable us to get to sources of the known. The unknown is no longer that which is unavailable, because whatever is present is available on the network and so can be known, at least nominally if not substantively.

104 responses to “The Worst Night of My Life: My Experiences with Ayahuasca”

A bearer of knowledge is no longer armed with secret weapons. We have always been auto-didacts, and knowing that we can touch what we do not yet know and make it our own, makes working with knowledge immensely playful and pleasurable. Sometimes, a surprise is only a click away. How does the Internet change the way I think? It puts me in the present tense.

Ahead of 2020, Beware the Deepfake

It's as if my cognitive resources are shifted from my hard drive to my RAM. That which is happening right now is valued, and everything in the past or future becomes less relevant. The Internet pushes us all toward the immediate.

The now. Every inquiry is to be answered right away, and every fact or idea is only as fresh as the time it takes to refresh a page.

And as a result, speaking for myself, the Internet makes me mean. And it's not a matter of what any of these folks might want me to do, but when. They want it now. This is not a bias of the Internet itself, but of the way it has changed from an opt-in activity to an "always on" condition of my life. The bias of medium was never towards real-time activity, but towards time shifting.

Unix, the operating system of the Net, doesn't work in real time. It sits and waits for human commands. Likewise, early Internet forums and bulletin boards were discussions users returned to at their convenience. I dropped in the conversation, then came back the next evening or next week to see how it had developed. An Internet exchange was only as rich as the amount of time I allowed to pass between posts.

Male Loneliness: The Uncomfortable Truth

Once the Internet changed from a resource at my desk into an appendage chirping from my pocket and vibrating on my thigh, however, the value of depth was replaced by that of immediacy masquerading as relevancy. This is why Google is changing itself from a search engine to a "live" search engine, why email devolved to SMS and blogs devolved to tweets. It's why schoolchildren can no longer engage in linear arguments, why narrative structure collapsed into reality TV, why and why almost no one can engage in meaningful dialogue about long-term global issues.

It creates an environment where a few incriminating emails between scientists generate so more news than our much slower but more significant climate crisis. It's as if the relentless demand of networks for me to be everywhere, all the time, denies me access to the moment in which I am really living. In some senses, this was the goal of those who developed the computers and networks on which we depend today.

Technology visionaries such as Vannevar Bush and James Licklider sought to develop machines that could do our remembering for us. And that may have worked had technological development leaned towards the option of living life disconnected from those machines whenever access to their memory banks was not required.