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God is just what happens when humanity is connected.
gliu
Historians are not seers; their analogies may be misplaced and their assessments can be wrong. Yet the idea of history constituting a valuable guide for present and future action was an established part of western culture. This makes sense. After all, the past is our sole repository of information about what works and what does not; we have nothing else to draw upon. In our everyday lives we constantly make decisions based on past experience. While two situations may not be perfectly alike, nevertheless we divine patterns and lessons in the past that can help us to make better choices.
gliu
One of the most exciting things in the world (to me, anyway) is to realize two apparently distinct phenomena are instances of the same thing.
gliu
“When everyone has access to everything, the only way to make yourself valuable is to provide perspective and point of view.” - @jpeskowitz on retail, but it feels widely applicable
gliu
I need less data, not more data. I need to know what is important, and I don’t have time to sift through thousands of Tweets and Friendfeed messages and blog posts and emails and IMs a day to find the five things that I really need to know. People like Mike and Robert can do that, but they are weird, and even they have their limits. So where is the startup that is going to be my information filter? I am aware of a few companies working on this problem, but I have yet to see one that has solved it in a compelling way. Can someone please do this for me? Please? I need help. We all do.
curtis
Human endeavor is caught in an eternal tension between the effectiveness of small groups acting independently and the need to mesh with the wider community. A small group can innovate rapidly and efficiently, but this produces a subculture whose concepts are not understood by others. Coordinating actions across a large group, however, is painfully slow and takes an enormous amount of communication. The world works across the spectrum between these extremes, with a tendency to start small—from the personal idea—and move toward a wider understanding over time. An essential process is the joining together of subcultures when a wider common language is needed. Often two groups independently develop very similar concepts, and describing the relation between them brings great benefits. Like a Finnish-English dictionary, or a weights-and-measures conversion table, the relations allow communication and collaboration even when the commonality of concept has not (yet) led to a commonality of terms.
gliu
Knowledge representation, as this technology is often called, is currently in a state comparable to that of hypertext before the advent of the Web: it is clearly a good idea, and some very nice demonstrations exist, but it has not yet changed the world. It contains the seeds of important applications, but to realize its full potential it must be linked into a single global system.
gliu
We were going for something that was more of a mood. Something purely linear would probably have illuminated the same thing, but I wanted it to be a little more meditative. I wasn’t super interested in an arc — in a linear narrative arc.
gliu
[W]hether at a conscious level or a subliminal, we are performing two higher-level cognitive operations all the time we read. First, we are making a constant series of checks and comparisons between our timelike and our timeless models of the story. And second, we are continuously refining the hologram by extrapolation – inductively and deductively projecting conclusions about the story from the narrative rules supplied.
gliu
Playing with blocks, it turns out, has deep cultural roots in Europe. Colin Fanning, a curatorial fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, points out that European philosophers have long promoted block-­based games as a form of “good” play that cultivates abstract thought. A recent paper Fanning wrote with Rebecca Mir traces the tradition to the English political philosopher John Locke, who was an early advocate of alphabet blocks. A century later, Friedrich Froebel — often called the inventor of kindergarten — developed block-­based toys that he claimed would illustrate the spiritual connectedness of all things. Children would start with simple blocks, build up to more complex patterns, then begin to see these patterns in the world around them. Educators like Maria Montessori picked up on this concept and pioneered the teaching of math through wooden devices.
gliu
The cultural decay curve for content in this age of abundance is accelerating by the day, and there is no equivalent of botox to ward it off.
gliu
The literary critic Michael O’Loughlin reminds us that the search for “lives at ease” was the “central drama” of ancient literature, from Homer through much of the Christian tradition. It was understood that by escaping into the “timeless harbor” of one’s inner self, one could realize the depths of “human possibility.” Such flights of fancy can, in fact, be productive. In the 1570s, when Michel de Montaigne ensconced to his library to let his mind “stay and settle itself” in idleness, he was surprised to find that it did the opposite. His imagination gave “birth to so many chimeras and fantastic monsters” that he had to start writing them down. Thus emerged the personal essay—107 of them, actually—as a distinct literary form.
gliu
She observes that the wisdom-of-crowds phenomenon (where a crowd of people can do a better job of problem-solving than just one individual can) is real. It does not typically emerge, however, in an in-person group meeting. We see it most when individuals can independently offer their insights to a common pool (an approach that is quite common on the Internet).
gliu
Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds.
gliu
One of the best descriptions of mental models I’ve seen is Nobel-prize winning social scientist Herbert Simon’s original framing of the concept, where he states that better decision makers have at their disposal repertoires of possible actions; checklists of things to think about before acting; and “mechanisms in mind to evoke these, and bring these to conscious attention when the situations for decision arise.”
gliu
Scenius
I was an art student and, like all art students, I was encouraged to believe that there were a few great figures like Picasso and Kandinsky, Rembrandt and Giotto and so on who sort-of appeared out of nowhere and produced artistic revolution. As I looked at art more and more, I discovered that that wasn’t really a true picture. What really happened was that there was sometimes very fertile scenes involving lots and lots of people – some of them artists, some of them collectors, some of them curators, thinkers, theorists, people who were fashionable and knew what the hip things were – all sorts of people who created a kind of ecology of talent. And out of that ecology arose some wonderful work. he period that I was particularly interested in, ’round about the Russian revolution, shows this extremely well. So I thought that originally those few individuals who’d survived in history – in the sort-of “Great Man” theory of history – they were called “geniuses”. But what I thought was interesting was the fact that they all came out of a scene that was very fertile and very intelligent. So I came up with this word “scenius” – and scenius is the intelligence of a whole… operation or group of people. And I think that’s a more useful way to think about culture, actually. I think that – let’s forget the idea of “genius” for a little while, let’s think about the whole ecology of ideas that give rise to good new thoughts and good new work.
gliu
FULLER: I think he’s just discovering himself in his full significance. The child in the womb is completely innocent and completely looked out for. Then he comes out and has to do his own breathing. Then he gets to his feet and has to do a little more. He takes on a little more responsibility and gains in self-discovery. Well, man is just now coming out of the womb of what I call permitted ignorance. The average man is beginning to realize why he is here in universe. That is exactly what young people are continually asking. When I talk to them, being a comprehensivist instead of a specialist, I find that they speculate and discover that they probably do have the function I’m talking about. And suddenly they change completely. I find that we’re in a moment of fantastic self-discovery and are approaching an entirely new relationship with our universe.
gliu
But other than that, I think the idea of — the real frontier, the thing that’s even bigger than AI, which is gonna be really — AI is probably the most powerful force in the next 100 years. But the thing that’s even bigger than that is the fact that we’re making a global superorganism of some sort that will have effects way beyond anything that we can imagine. AI will be part of that, but not the whole thing. It’s just — we have never made a planetary something that works in real time, and we’re gonna be shocked by what will happen when we have a billion people working together on something in real time. And we’ll be shocked even when a million people do it.
gliu
And here is the key insight from evolution. Our brains grew big long, long before we achieved civilisation. We’ve had 1,200cc of intelligence for half a million years: even Neanderthals had huge brains. For 99 per cent of that time we were just another hard-pressed species, as bottle-nosed dolphins are today, and around 75,000 years ago we teeter-ed on the brink of extinction. What changed was not some bright spark of a new gene being turned on, but that we began to exchange and specialise, to create collective intelligence, rather than rely on individual braininess. To put it another way, dozens of stupid people in a room who talk to each other will achieve far more than an equal number of clever people who don’t. The internet only underlines this point. Human intelligence is a distributed, collaborative phenomenon.
gliu
He said: “I firmly believe that - in this era of fast, facile digital nonsense - that there is a growing counter-culture in which people value expertise, care and longer reads. The TLS is proudly part of that counter-culture, and it is nice to be the fastest growing weekly magazine in the UK today.”
gliu
In one of Waitzkin’s most moving passages, he notes that a chess beginner learns piece values in order to calculate the merit of a potential exchange; a chess expert intuitively knows the piece values in any potential exchange, so he can step back and analyze the position on a deeper level. Numbers to leave numbers, Waitzkin calls this; form to leave form.
gliu
The present discordant and distracted twitter… —Virginia Woolf, Reviewing (1939) When the smartphone brings messages, alerts, and notifications that invite instant responses—and induces anxiety if those messages fail to arrive—everyone’s sense of time changes, and attention that used to be focused more or less distantly on, say, tomorrow’s mail is concentrated in the present moment. In Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), an engineer named Kurt Mondaugen enunciates a law of human existence: “Personal density…is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth.”
gliu
Old systems of learning are now decayed. The new universities will be of the world and in each man. The old clubs and condescension no longer operate . It is necessary to extend the frontiers of the minds. To know how to work out a problem for oneself ... The variety of activities cannot be completely forecast; as new techniques and ideas arise they will be tried. The structures themselves will be capable of changes, renewal and destruction. If any activity defeats its purpose it will be changed. The elimination of the word ‘success’ is important. The place is a constantly changing experiment in which the old human categories are forgotten, e.g. brilliant, superior, stupid, dull. Here each person can discover in himself new skills and increase his enjoyment of life. Each man and woman has one life, one mind, one body, unique and 100% unrepeatable. Each is capable of what was once called genius.
gliu
The densest collection of complex information we know of thus far is the human being, and human activity gives rise to even greater complexity. Teilhard states that this reflective consciousness is “the specific effect of organized complexity,” and that it follows that some sort of intensification of human consciousness is the next step of human evolution. In other words, a massive amount of information is building up within the relatively small confines of the planet Earth. This, Teilhard believed, will result in the blossoming of the noosphere into some form of super-consciousness, once the amount of information it contains reaches a critical density.
gliu
I am hugely interested in Maslow and the humanistic psychologists of the 50s and 60s. When they talked about creativity, they viewed it as the height of being. All these ideas are so relevant today, in our age of constant anxiety, with all the pressure to pay attention to other people’s goals.
gliu
People can increase their working memory capacity by grouping together otherwise discrete pieces of items to form a larger unit in memory. In that way, we can encode more information into the same limited number of memory slots.
gliu
Think of your brain as an (almost) endless kitchen. The more ingredients, or knowledge, you can collect, the more food, or ideas, you can create.
gliu
But what I was really searching for when I started out on my ill-conceived attempt at speed-reading, I later realized, was a way to access everything I had already read. I read a lot, and I read pretty quickly. It’s retaining all that information that I find challenging. In the digital age, our options for note-taking feel antiquated and haphazard. I’ve tried so many approaches: taking photos of whole pages of notes or books, taking screenshots of text and posting them to Twitter, forcing myself to write book reports in my Evernote. These were all reactive approaches, though, and unsurprisingly, none have stuck.
gliu
As Oliver Sacks wrote in “Hallucinations,” published in 2012, “To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see overall patterns in our lives.” It is in large part because of their ability to offer such insights that LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, ayahuasca, and other chemicals have retained a significant influence in American culture since their modern introduction, in the nineteen-fifties.
gliu
Sooner or later, it becomes clear that they have not been encouraged in the nurturing of dreams and visions. Or they have closed themselves against the most personal levels of their being. Even more frequently, they have been taught by word and example that they have no role in the dreaming of America, in the work of storming the impossible. Once they feel permission, once the life-giving power of their own imagination is touched at some vital point, it is amazing how quickly and how well they find their voices and their visions.
gliu
God is just what happens when humanity is connected.
gliu
Historians are not seers; their analogies may be misplaced and their assessments can be wrong. Yet the idea of history constituting a valuable guide for present and future action was an established part of western culture. This makes sense. After all, the past is our sole repository of information about what works and what does not; we have nothing else to draw upon. In our everyday lives we constantly make decisions based on past experience. While two situations may not be perfectly alike, nevertheless we divine patterns and lessons in the past that can help us to make better choices.
gliu
One of the most exciting things in the world (to me, anyway) is to realize two apparently distinct phenomena are instances of the same thing.
gliu
“When everyone has access to everything, the only way to make yourself valuable is to provide perspective and point of view.” - @jpeskowitz on retail, but it feels widely applicable
gliu
I need less data, not more data. I need to know what is important, and I don’t have time to sift through thousands of Tweets and Friendfeed messages and blog posts and emails and IMs a day to find the five things that I really need to know. People like Mike and Robert can do that, but they are weird, and even they have their limits. So where is the startup that is going to be my information filter? I am aware of a few companies working on this problem, but I have yet to see one that has solved it in a compelling way. Can someone please do this for me? Please? I need help. We all do.
curtis
Human endeavor is caught in an eternal tension between the effectiveness of small groups acting independently and the need to mesh with the wider community. A small group can innovate rapidly and efficiently, but this produces a subculture whose concepts are not understood by others. Coordinating actions across a large group, however, is painfully slow and takes an enormous amount of communication. The world works across the spectrum between these extremes, with a tendency to start small—from the personal idea—and move toward a wider understanding over time. An essential process is the joining together of subcultures when a wider common language is needed. Often two groups independently develop very similar concepts, and describing the relation between them brings great benefits. Like a Finnish-English dictionary, or a weights-and-measures conversion table, the relations allow communication and collaboration even when the commonality of concept has not (yet) led to a commonality of terms.
gliu
Knowledge representation, as this technology is often called, is currently in a state comparable to that of hypertext before the advent of the Web: it is clearly a good idea, and some very nice demonstrations exist, but it has not yet changed the world. It contains the seeds of important applications, but to realize its full potential it must be linked into a single global system.
gliu
We were going for something that was more of a mood. Something purely linear would probably have illuminated the same thing, but I wanted it to be a little more meditative. I wasn’t super interested in an arc — in a linear narrative arc.
gliu
[W]hether at a conscious level or a subliminal, we are performing two higher-level cognitive operations all the time we read. First, we are making a constant series of checks and comparisons between our timelike and our timeless models of the story. And second, we are continuously refining the hologram by extrapolation – inductively and deductively projecting conclusions about the story from the narrative rules supplied.
gliu
Playing with blocks, it turns out, has deep cultural roots in Europe. Colin Fanning, a curatorial fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, points out that European philosophers have long promoted block-­based games as a form of “good” play that cultivates abstract thought. A recent paper Fanning wrote with Rebecca Mir traces the tradition to the English political philosopher John Locke, who was an early advocate of alphabet blocks. A century later, Friedrich Froebel — often called the inventor of kindergarten — developed block-­based toys that he claimed would illustrate the spiritual connectedness of all things. Children would start with simple blocks, build up to more complex patterns, then begin to see these patterns in the world around them. Educators like Maria Montessori picked up on this concept and pioneered the teaching of math through wooden devices.
gliu
The cultural decay curve for content in this age of abundance is accelerating by the day, and there is no equivalent of botox to ward it off.
gliu
The literary critic Michael O’Loughlin reminds us that the search for “lives at ease” was the “central drama” of ancient literature, from Homer through much of the Christian tradition. It was understood that by escaping into the “timeless harbor” of one’s inner self, one could realize the depths of “human possibility.” Such flights of fancy can, in fact, be productive. In the 1570s, when Michel de Montaigne ensconced to his library to let his mind “stay and settle itself” in idleness, he was surprised to find that it did the opposite. His imagination gave “birth to so many chimeras and fantastic monsters” that he had to start writing them down. Thus emerged the personal essay—107 of them, actually—as a distinct literary form.
gliu
She observes that the wisdom-of-crowds phenomenon (where a crowd of people can do a better job of problem-solving than just one individual can) is real. It does not typically emerge, however, in an in-person group meeting. We see it most when individuals can independently offer their insights to a common pool (an approach that is quite common on the Internet).
gliu
Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds.
gliu
One of the best descriptions of mental models I’ve seen is Nobel-prize winning social scientist Herbert Simon’s original framing of the concept, where he states that better decision makers have at their disposal repertoires of possible actions; checklists of things to think about before acting; and “mechanisms in mind to evoke these, and bring these to conscious attention when the situations for decision arise.”
gliu
Scenius
I was an art student and, like all art students, I was encouraged to believe that there were a few great figures like Picasso and Kandinsky, Rembrandt and Giotto and so on who sort-of appeared out of nowhere and produced artistic revolution. As I looked at art more and more, I discovered that that wasn’t really a true picture. What really happened was that there was sometimes very fertile scenes involving lots and lots of people – some of them artists, some of them collectors, some of them curators, thinkers, theorists, people who were fashionable and knew what the hip things were – all sorts of people who created a kind of ecology of talent. And out of that ecology arose some wonderful work. he period that I was particularly interested in, ’round about the Russian revolution, shows this extremely well. So I thought that originally those few individuals who’d survived in history – in the sort-of “Great Man” theory of history – they were called “geniuses”. But what I thought was interesting was the fact that they all came out of a scene that was very fertile and very intelligent. So I came up with this word “scenius” – and scenius is the intelligence of a whole… operation or group of people. And I think that’s a more useful way to think about culture, actually. I think that – let’s forget the idea of “genius” for a little while, let’s think about the whole ecology of ideas that give rise to good new thoughts and good new work.
gliu
FULLER: I think he’s just discovering himself in his full significance. The child in the womb is completely innocent and completely looked out for. Then he comes out and has to do his own breathing. Then he gets to his feet and has to do a little more. He takes on a little more responsibility and gains in self-discovery. Well, man is just now coming out of the womb of what I call permitted ignorance. The average man is beginning to realize why he is here in universe. That is exactly what young people are continually asking. When I talk to them, being a comprehensivist instead of a specialist, I find that they speculate and discover that they probably do have the function I’m talking about. And suddenly they change completely. I find that we’re in a moment of fantastic self-discovery and are approaching an entirely new relationship with our universe.
gliu
But other than that, I think the idea of — the real frontier, the thing that’s even bigger than AI, which is gonna be really — AI is probably the most powerful force in the next 100 years. But the thing that’s even bigger than that is the fact that we’re making a global superorganism of some sort that will have effects way beyond anything that we can imagine. AI will be part of that, but not the whole thing. It’s just — we have never made a planetary something that works in real time, and we’re gonna be shocked by what will happen when we have a billion people working together on something in real time. And we’ll be shocked even when a million people do it.
gliu
And here is the key insight from evolution. Our brains grew big long, long before we achieved civilisation. We’ve had 1,200cc of intelligence for half a million years: even Neanderthals had huge brains. For 99 per cent of that time we were just another hard-pressed species, as bottle-nosed dolphins are today, and around 75,000 years ago we teeter-ed on the brink of extinction. What changed was not some bright spark of a new gene being turned on, but that we began to exchange and specialise, to create collective intelligence, rather than rely on individual braininess. To put it another way, dozens of stupid people in a room who talk to each other will achieve far more than an equal number of clever people who don’t. The internet only underlines this point. Human intelligence is a distributed, collaborative phenomenon.
gliu
He said: “I firmly believe that - in this era of fast, facile digital nonsense - that there is a growing counter-culture in which people value expertise, care and longer reads. The TLS is proudly part of that counter-culture, and it is nice to be the fastest growing weekly magazine in the UK today.”
gliu
In one of Waitzkin’s most moving passages, he notes that a chess beginner learns piece values in order to calculate the merit of a potential exchange; a chess expert intuitively knows the piece values in any potential exchange, so he can step back and analyze the position on a deeper level. Numbers to leave numbers, Waitzkin calls this; form to leave form.
gliu
The present discordant and distracted twitter… —Virginia Woolf, Reviewing (1939) When the smartphone brings messages, alerts, and notifications that invite instant responses—and induces anxiety if those messages fail to arrive—everyone’s sense of time changes, and attention that used to be focused more or less distantly on, say, tomorrow’s mail is concentrated in the present moment. In Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), an engineer named Kurt Mondaugen enunciates a law of human existence: “Personal density…is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth.”
gliu
Old systems of learning are now decayed. The new universities will be of the world and in each man. The old clubs and condescension no longer operate . It is necessary to extend the frontiers of the minds. To know how to work out a problem for oneself ... The variety of activities cannot be completely forecast; as new techniques and ideas arise they will be tried. The structures themselves will be capable of changes, renewal and destruction. If any activity defeats its purpose it will be changed. The elimination of the word ‘success’ is important. The place is a constantly changing experiment in which the old human categories are forgotten, e.g. brilliant, superior, stupid, dull. Here each person can discover in himself new skills and increase his enjoyment of life. Each man and woman has one life, one mind, one body, unique and 100% unrepeatable. Each is capable of what was once called genius.
gliu
The densest collection of complex information we know of thus far is the human being, and human activity gives rise to even greater complexity. Teilhard states that this reflective consciousness is “the specific effect of organized complexity,” and that it follows that some sort of intensification of human consciousness is the next step of human evolution. In other words, a massive amount of information is building up within the relatively small confines of the planet Earth. This, Teilhard believed, will result in the blossoming of the noosphere into some form of super-consciousness, once the amount of information it contains reaches a critical density.
gliu
I am hugely interested in Maslow and the humanistic psychologists of the 50s and 60s. When they talked about creativity, they viewed it as the height of being. All these ideas are so relevant today, in our age of constant anxiety, with all the pressure to pay attention to other people’s goals.
gliu
People can increase their working memory capacity by grouping together otherwise discrete pieces of items to form a larger unit in memory. In that way, we can encode more information into the same limited number of memory slots.
gliu
Think of your brain as an (almost) endless kitchen. The more ingredients, or knowledge, you can collect, the more food, or ideas, you can create.
gliu
But what I was really searching for when I started out on my ill-conceived attempt at speed-reading, I later realized, was a way to access everything I had already read. I read a lot, and I read pretty quickly. It’s retaining all that information that I find challenging. In the digital age, our options for note-taking feel antiquated and haphazard. I’ve tried so many approaches: taking photos of whole pages of notes or books, taking screenshots of text and posting them to Twitter, forcing myself to write book reports in my Evernote. These were all reactive approaches, though, and unsurprisingly, none have stuck.
gliu
As Oliver Sacks wrote in “Hallucinations,” published in 2012, “To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see overall patterns in our lives.” It is in large part because of their ability to offer such insights that LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, ayahuasca, and other chemicals have retained a significant influence in American culture since their modern introduction, in the nineteen-fifties.
gliu
Sooner or later, it becomes clear that they have not been encouraged in the nurturing of dreams and visions. Or they have closed themselves against the most personal levels of their being. Even more frequently, they have been taught by word and example that they have no role in the dreaming of America, in the work of storming the impossible. Once they feel permission, once the life-giving power of their own imagination is touched at some vital point, it is amazing how quickly and how well they find their voices and their visions.
gliu