The Movie of My Life

Got out to meet Titus for a ride today. On my way I stopped on the walking bridge across the Nashwaak River to watch for a bit and I was talking to myself as I usually do. I was actually talking out loud, so people – if there were any around – could’ve heard me. Then it occurred to me that I had no idea ‘who’ was talking. I don’t know who was talking really, or whom that person was talking to. Who was even listening? Who is the person hearing it? Sam Harris tells a funny story about this. When we are talking to ourselves – why are we talking to ourselves? We already know what we’re thinking – why do we tell it back to ourselves?

It occurred to me that in a way, my life is like a movie that I am both the only director and only audience of. Sometimes the other actors in my movie don’t follow or respond to direction. This can equate to suffering, if you choose to let it. Or not.

The last four photos of this were a bit of an accident. I got down this hill and expected Titus to come barreling down it, which I thought would make for a great photo. He was taking forever to show up, then he appeared – walking. He’d decided to walk a tricky section.

Damn actors, not following direction. What’s one to do?

Ok. Film is rolling.

Joe Rogan Sells to Spotify

Photo by Jonathan Velasquez on Unsplash

Podcaster Joe Rogan has sold his immensely popular podcast to Spotify:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/may/24/spotify-podcast-deal-the-joe-rogan-experience

From the article:

“By requiring Rogan’s listeners to use the Spotify app to tune in, the company gains far deeper data about who, when and where their audiences are; that, in turn, can be fed through to advertisers, who are more likely to pay higher rates if they can be assured that the target audience is listening. Control of the player also allows Spotify to vary the advertising to the audience, again increasing revenue.”

Alex Hern, The Guardian

This is unfortunate. I understand the need for these podcasters to generate revenue for their shows – they deserve something for their effort and advertising is one way to do that, however I prefer the more direct ‘donation/subscription’ model of someone like Sam Harris – where I feel I’m more directly supporting the person and their work vs. paying a large corporation who’s going to track my actions and advertise back at me. There are several other people on the internet who’s work I feel I directly benefit from and therefore I’m happy to support directlyBrad Warner and Ben Weaver among them. This move by Spotify will effectively position it as the Facebook of Podcasting. 99% of people probably won’t care – and to me that’s part of the problem.

I’d never used Spotify for several reasons, I am happy with Apple Music and I didn’t like their app/interface. This gives me one more reason to opt out. It will be a shame because if/when Rogan’s show goes exclusive on the platform, I’ll miss it.

Meditation in an Emergency

It may seem counter-intuitive to sit down and meditate during an emergency, but we are currently, all of us – globally, experiencing an emergency of a very unique nature. One where many of us will find ourselves with nothing but time to occupy. The default would certainly seem to be to spend that time freaking out. Or you could try something different. Sam Harris lays it out very well in this specifically targeted podcast Meditation in an Emergency. Perhaps, check it out with some of the free-time you now find yourself strangely enough, burdened, with.

The Surly Big Easy

I wouldn’t say I have regrets (Sam Harris would argue I could never have done differently than I have in the past anyway) but with the benefit of hindsight, there are things I would do differently given the choice again.

When we moved to our current house my kids were little and we settled in a rural location because we liked the peace and quiet, the big yard and it was affordable vs. closer to town. In hindsight, I would have liked to live closer to town and tried to adopt – if not a car-free lifestyle – then at least a ‘less-car’ lifestyle.

The fact is that my house is only about .8kms from a multi-use trail that I can use to get into town, but I’m still almost 15kms out – and in the winter, it’s snow covered. I love the ride, but the reality is that I can’t get to work and get everyone where they need to be on a bike, on time, and still get sleep each day. Thus, cars.

Would I be able to do it if I lived closer to town? Still not sure, at some point when the kids were old enough to not be able to be hauled, they might have rebelled at being forced to ride. We’ll never know, but I certainly could have done more errands, groceries and commuting if I was closer to town.

I have been eyeing Surly’s cargo bikes and trailers since their launches, but can’t justify them at the moment as they would more than likely not get ridden enough to justify the expense. Maybe once all or most of the kids are out of the house. I don’t know that I’d go e-version, but it’s tempting. I do like the Big Fat Dummy platform a lot though.

Powering Down

Cal Newport’s latest book, Digital Minimalism, is on my to-read list. I came across this blog post of his recently about a Sam Harris podcast with Stephen Fry.

In response to Sam comparing the practice of meditation to the human development of the skill to read, Cal writes;

“Meditation, by contrast, is more palliative than instrumental, especially in its modern secular applications. It’s meant to soothe mental dis-ease, not to unlock accomplishment previously unobtainable to our species.”

I agree with most his points, though I don’t know that advances couldn’t be made if more people hit the meditation cushion. Probably not in as tangible a way as say, the effects of reading have been felt, but surely in terms of human relations and perspective on our world and existence.

“A big part of waking up, in other words, should probably involve powering down.”

Cal Newport

Definitely on board with that though.