Douglas Rushkoff Playing for Team Human

I caught Douglas Rushkoff on Sam Harris’ Making Sense podcast the other day and it really resonated with me. I look forward to reading his new book, Team Human.

A few nuggets I gleaned from the podcast:

Rushkoff, speaking about his book Media Virus: Hidden Agendas In Popular Culture, “It was celebrating this new stuff called viral media – which seemed like a good idea at the time…”

“…algorithms are taking all of these painstakingly evolved social mechanisms and using them against us…we are no longer the users of this technology, but the used….”

Team Human is a manifesto—a fiery distillation of preeminent digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together—not as individuals. Yet today society is threatened by a vast antihuman infrastructure that undermines our ability to connect. Money, once a means of exchange, is now a means of exploitation; education, conceived as way to elevate the working class, has become another assembly line; and the internet has only further divided us into increasingly atomized and radicalized groups.” – Norton Publishing

Full info on Douglas’ Team Human project

Fargo Rock City

I recently re-read Chuck Klosterman’s ‘Fargo Rock City’. If you ever owned even one metal record in the 80’s and haven’t read it, it’s a must-read. Period. It’s a bit dated now, but still fantastic. As such, I’m rolling through my old cassette collection from back in the day thanks to the modern magic of Apple Music. A forgotten gem right here – Bulletboys. I didn’t realize these cats were a: still putting records out; b: had such the revolving door of members over the years including the likes of DJ Ashba, Stephen Adler, Keri Kelli and more. These guys were fringe back in the day but their videos for ‘Smooth Up In Ya’ and ‘For the Love of Money’ got heavy rotation on MTV. Listening back now, they had a lot of Van Halen going on in ‘em – in a good way. I was just commenting to @tyler how I preferred my metal vocalists to be more of the ‘gritty’ sound than the more operatic (i.e. Jani Lane) sound. Marq Torien fit that bill, and apparently is currently the only original member of the band. Works for me. Excuse me while I do some scissor kicks. 

Upcoming Reading

I’ve placed an order for a few new books that have been in my ‘to read’ queue for a long time, as well as a new addition. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately via my phone/laptop of ebooks, but I’m missing the physical sensation and satisfaction of a physical book.

I had gone to ebooks as an effort to ‘declutter’ as I didn’t want to keep having books around – I went through a process of purging a bunch some months back, so buying more physical books leaves me sort of conflicted.  We’ll see how it goes. Depending on my attachment to them I think I will either keep them or possibly donate them to the library. For the most part these that I’ve ordered aren’t available in my local library system.

I also need to check out the used bookstore downtown and see what kind of inventory they have cross-referenced with my ‘to-read’ list.

Here’s what I picked up:
Meditations on Self-Discipline and Failure: Stoic Exercise for Mental Fitness
William Ferraiolo

This is interesting because I found it via a blog post I shared on LinkedIn regarding stoic philosophy. The author of this book, a philosophy professor, messaged me and made some solid reading suggestions. Looking forward to digging into this one.

These next two books were recommended via an online pal who reads as much as I aspire to.
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
Kevin Kelly

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari

I actually went looking for this author’s latest book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, but there wasn’t a cheap used copy available so decided to put it off until later and read this one first.

Finally, I read Sand County Almanac last year and it was a game changer for me. I’ve seen a lot of cross-referencing between it’s author, Aldo Leopold and Edward Abbey, so I thought I’d check out some of his work starting with Desert Solitaire.

Dharma Punx by Noah Levine

Recently checked out the audiobook version of Dharma Punx by Noah Levine. I found it to be very inspiring and a fascinating story of one man’s discovery of himself and the larger world. From the book page:

As with many self-destructive kids, Noah Levine’s search for meaning led him first to punk rock, drugs, drinking, and dissatisfaction. But the search didn’t end there. Having clearly seen the uselessness of drugs and violence, Noah looked for positive ways to channel his rebellion against what he saw as the lies of society. Fueled by his anger at so much injustice and suffering, Levine now uses that energy and the practice of Buddhism to awaken his natural wisdom and compassion.

While Levine has come to embrace the same spiritual tradition as his father, best-selling author Stephen Levine, he finds his most authentic expression in connecting the seemingly opposed worlds of punk and Buddhism. As Noah Levine delved deeper into Buddhism, he chose not to reject the punk scene, instead integrating the two worlds as a catalyst for transformation. Ultimately this is an inspiring story about maturing and how a hostile and lost generation is finally finding its footing. This provocative report takes us deep inside the punk scene and moves from anger, rebellion, and self-destruction to health, service to others, and genuine spiritual growth.

Equally as satisfying is the fact that the audiobook is read by the author, and at times I found was, itself, meditative to listen to.

Hammer Time With Ryan Correy

Yesterday, quite on a lark, I was able to have a great conversation with adventure cyclist Ryan Correy about bikepacking and the Tour Divide.

My LBS, The Radical Edge, posted on Facebook a couple of days back that they were having a rep from Hammer Nutrition come out to talk about their stuff and I mostly glossed over it as I pretty much chalk that stuff up to the uber tri-geeks and the Hammerheads out there. Yesterday though, they posted again saying that Ryan would be the one coming and would be giving the talk. As fate would have it, I was able to drop Julia off at soccer practice just in time to swing by the shop and check things out.

You can learn more about Ryan’s exploits at his website, but suffice to say dude has ridden some bike. Started at 13 with a cross-Canada tour with his dad and went from there. A tour from Alaska to Argentina. The Race Across America, and two finishes in the Tour Divide, the most recent just wrapping up last week on Canada Day.

He was there to do his ‘day job’ and speak to the tri and endurance racers about Hammer’s products – which I did find interesting and enlightening – but even cooler than that, I was able to talk to him – and his fiancee Sarah – for about a 1/2 hour prior, one-on-one, and barrage him with questions about the Tour Divide.

It was so cool to be able to actually talk to someone that’s done this event vs. read articles and interviews on the internet.

He had his rig there that he’d ridden on the Tour Divide and I snapped a photo of it, but I was so busy fanboy-ing out that it didn’t occur to me to actually move it to a not so cluttered background, so it kinda sucks. I was very much in a 14-year-old oh-my-god-this-bike(and this GUY)-did-the-Divide-TWICE kind of mode.

Ryan has written a book that’s just come out about his adventures on the bike. A Purpose Ridden details not only his 2012 Divide ride, but his other rides and his beginnings with his dad. I picked up a copy and I look forward to checking it out. One of the things I’ve always been curious about with riders who do these events and maintain blogs or write about them afterwards was how they retained the thoughts and details of such a long ride when so much else is going on physically and mentally.

One of the things that really resonated with me was when I asked him if he kept/took a journal with him on the ride to take notes, he replied that no, he didn’t need one. Other than taking lots of pictures – which also helped to revisit afterwords – he explained it by saying that there’s no way he could forget it. He said quite emphatically that he could ride the whole route again – save a few sections – without a map or GPS, pretty much on memory alone.

“Each day on the Divide is a thousand adventures in one. Each day is it’s own amazing adventure, constantly coming on new, breathtaking scenery. So many moments. I remember all the details.”

While riding 4,300km across the continent, unsupported for 19 days, many times alone in the wilderness, he said several times that really, things like whether or not you made the right gear choices were really not the biggest hurdle – that it was mostly a mental battle – were you prepared to endure the sleep deprivation, aches and pain and the subsequent doubts and challenges all those brought on. That was the key. Yet he was still able to – in the simplest terms – stop and smell the evergreens – and be fully present in those moments out on the trail and take those with him past the finish line.

Would that we all could make each of our ‘ordinary’ days ‘it’s own adventure’ and be fully present in them. I’m inspired to try.